CHICAGO – Due to the unique challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, U.S. Soccer has decided to forgo playing matches for the U.S. men’s national team during the FIFA window in October, the federation announced Tuesday morning.
The announcement did not come as a surprise.
“After extensive conversations about holding a men’s national team camp in October, we ultimately determined the unique challenges created by COVID-19 as it relates to hosting international opponents and getting our players together wouldn’t allow us to move forward,” USMNT general manager Brian McBride said in a statement. “We appreciate the incredible amount of work our staff did and the discussions we had with Major League Soccer to try and address concerns and find solutions. While we won’t have the team together in this upcoming window, we are making considerable progress for November.”
The USMNT has not seen action since a 1-0 shutout win against Costa Rica in Carson, Calif. Feb. 1. International friendlies against Netherlands and Wales were postponed in March, along with the Concacaf Nations League Final Four in June and the start of 2022 World Cup qualifying in September.
“Both players and staff are disappointed not to be able to get back on the field for the national team and continue the progress we have made as a group,” head coach Gregg Berhalter said in a statement. “While COVID-19 continues to create challenges for us, we are confident we can find a way forward in the near future that will provide an opportunity to play matches in preparation for the important competitions next year.”
The U.S. will be participating in several competitions in 2021. That starts with the Nations League Final Four in March. The Concacaf Gold Cup will be held from July 10-Aug. 1, with the start of the U.S.’s participation in the final round of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup expected to begin in September.