At this point in time, with no World Cup to look forward to this summer, it’s an opportunity that US Soccer cannot afford to miss.
Several questions and issues
Apparently, there is a provision requiring clubs to release their players to the ten CONMEBOL teams and not to the six invited teams. That brings up an interesting dilemma: would the US send an “A” team or a “B” team?
In their two recent forays into Copa America, the US has had mixed results. Jurgen Klinsmann took a full squad and finished fourth in 2016. Bob Bradley prioritized the Gold Cup in 2007 (which the US won) and took a “B” team to Venezuela. They lost all three group stage games by a combined 8-2. Without a doubt, the poor performances in future tournaments have to be remedied.
The decision about playing at Copa America 2019 is compounded by the fact that the Men’s National Team does not have a full-time manager. The new coach will have a better idea of whether or not to play in both competitions. Many suspect US Soccer is waiting for the conclusion of the World Cup this summer to name the full-time manager. The recent extension of interim manager Dave Sarachan’s contract would seem to back that up.
However, this creates a potential issue. How long is CONMEBOL going to wait for US Soccer to make up its mind?
In conclusion, US Soccer desperately needs to send the MNT to the 2019 Copa America. The players need more games against high quality opposition and the federation needs to give fans something to get on board with after missing the World Cup. And a summer consisting of the US playing in the Copa America, the Gold Cup and the Women’s World Cup would go a long way towards bringing the fans back.