By Michael Lewis
During the U.S. Soccer board meeting Saturday, there was some encouraging news for the U.S. women’s national team, and some alarming news for the men.
First, the bad news.
Former U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro feared the USMNT might not start its qualifying run for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar until next September. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Concacaf and FIFA to delay the start of qualifying for the other teams in the confederation from this fall to March. The U.S. was supposed to begin in March 2021.
“We proabbly won’t start qualifying now until next September, a whole year behind to where we should have been,” Cordeiro said on the ZOOM meeting Saturday afternoon. “This will now require probably a negotiation between FIFA and Concacaf on additional FIFA weekends.”
At the present time, there aren’t enough play dates to complete the Octogonal.
“If we don’t get those weekends, additional weekends, then it means stretching some existing windows,” Cordeiro said. “All of that is to come.”
If other words, instead of playing two matches during a week, a third could be scheduled within a 10-day period.
“The bottom line is that nothing is going to happen until much later next year,” Cordeiro said.
On a more positive note, the USWNT has plans of holding its first training camp in January and the SheBelieves Cup in February.
If all goes right, the camp would be held Jan. 9-28 and the tournament from Feb. 8-25.
“We hope and we plan to be playing in the fall of 2020,” USWNT general manager Kate Markgraf said. “From there, the 2021 schedule.”
Other key dates for the women include:
* April camp – April 5-13
* June camp – June 6-16
* Olympic preparation camp – June 30-July 4
* Tokyo Olympics – July 21-Aug. 6