04 October 2006

U.S. Nats Next Steps?

Three months have elapsed since this summer's World Cup and it's time for the U.S. Men's National Team to pick itself up from the disappoinment of Germany '06 and start the rebuilding process for South Africa '10. The MLS season is drawing to a close and the Nats need to start the gradual build-up to the summer competitions. The first step on that road is to name a successor to Bruce Arena.

A number of candidates have been tipped for the post, none more intriguing and better suited than Jurgen Klinsmann. Bruce Arena did a tremendous job of developing players and establishing the U.S. as a dominant regional team, but now it's time to take the next step. Klinsmann could build on the solid foundation that Arena has laid and bring some much needed style and saavy to the national team's play. Rumor has it, Klinsmann has already been offered the job.

Whoever is named coach will need to temper his rebuilt team through stiff competition. In order to become a true World Cup contender, the U.S. must gain valuable experience playing top teams in hostile environments. That means a return to the Copa America. Sunil Gulati, president of the USSF has some big decisions to make in the coming weeks. The choice of a new coach will be difficult, the choice of whether or not to participate in Copa America shouldn't be. If you want to beat the best, you need to play the best, and our boys desperately need more experience playing in top competitions. As this summer proved, being the best in Concacaf doesn't amount to much on the world stage.

There is a petition afoot to encourage the USSF to participate in Copa America. I urge you to sign it.

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