The theory that placing more USMNT players in Europe’s top leagues would elevate the team’s performance has been a central strategy for years. The recent friendly against Colombia, however, highlighted a stark reality.

Despite having a starting XI composed entirely of players from Europe’s Big Five leagues, the US suffered a humiliating 5-1 defeat. This result underscores a persistent issue—the disconnect between individual talent and collective team performance under coach Gregg Berhalter.

Persistent challenges under Berhalter

In his seven years across two stints as head coach, Gregg Berhalter has struggled to translate his players’ individual success into cohesive team performance. The Stars and Stripes have yet to secure a win over a top 25 FIFA-ranked team outside of CONCACAF under his leadership. The recent loss to Colombia exposed significant flaws in the USMNT’s defense and coordination; particularly against seasoned players like James Rodriguez and Juan Quintero.

As the US prepares for the Copa America 2024, the stakes are high. The tournament presents a critical opportunity for the team to face elite competition; especially ahead of the 2026 World Cup, which the US is co-hosting. The structure of this year’s Copa America, featuring 16 teams from both CONMEBOL and CONCACAF, offers a unique chance for the USMNT to test their mettle against stronger opponents.

The tournament draw has been relatively favorable for the USMNT, with matches against Panama, Bolivia, and Uruguay. However, Uruguay, under Marcelo Bielsa, represents a formidable challenge. Bielsa’s impact is evident in Uruguay’s World Cup qualifying campaign, where they have already beaten Brazil and Argentina.

What are the financial aspects of hosting Copa America?

Hosting Copa America 2024 is not just a sporting endeavor but also a financial one. While the 2016 Copa America Centenario brought a significant financial windfall to U.S. Soccer, the 2024 edition is expected to be less lucrative.

In 2016, US Soccer cleared around $75 million; largely due to favorable contract terms and the assumption of financial risk amid the FIFA corruption scandals. This time, US Soccer will receive approximately $20-25 million from hosting the tournament, as per ESPN. It’s a substantial decrease from the 2016 earnings.

“We’re incredibly excited about participating in the Copa, and we think it’s going to be great for our team and it’s gonna be great for the country in the lead up to 2026”, said J.T. Batson, CEO of US Soccer, said when questioned about the possibility of the federation collecting additional funds from the event.

US Soccer will get $10 million plus five percent of ticket sales as part of the 2024 Copa, which is a joint venture between CONMEBOL and Concacaf. The two confederations will divide the majority of the revenues. As far as the tournament’s actual administration is concerned, the American soccer federation will play no part.

Despite the smaller financial gain, hosting Copa America 2024 offers strategic benefits. It primes the market for the 2026 World Cup and provides the USMNT with valuable competitive matches. US Soccer will receive $2 million for the USMNT’s participation, plus additional prize money based on tournament progression. While most prize money will go to the players per the collective bargaining agreement, the exposure and experience gained are invaluable.


Copa América 2024

Here are some resources to get you ready for Copa!
Copa América Schedule: Full schedule of all games for the 2024 tournament
How to watch: Information on where to find the games on TV and streaming
How to Stream Learn how you can stream Copa games live in 2024
Key Dates: Learn All the important dates to mark on your calendar
Copa (United States of) América: South America's biggest tournament comes back to the USA
2024 Soccer Calendar: Get the lowdown on what will be a busy year in soccer