Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
6. COPA AMERICA: The USA's balancing act
February 21st, 2007 9:17PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

By Ridge Mahoney

U.S. Soccer will send a team comprised mostly of MLS players to the Copa America, according to federation president Sunil Gulati, partially because European teams will not be obligated to release their players for that tournament.

For invited teams Mexico and the United States, the Copa America is not a regional championship. Their regional championship is the Gold Cup, and teams must release the players for that competition, which won't be difficult to arrange, since most of the European teams will be on summer break.

"We have the right to call up our players from Europe [for the Copa America]," says Gulati, "but we don't have the right to demand they be released. If we want to call up Tim Howard or Carlos Bocanegra or DaMarcus Beasley or Bobby Convey, their coaches can say no. They can't do that for the Gold Cup.

"It's not a question of us saying, 'Hey, we won't call them for the Gold Cup as long as you release them for Copa America.' That's not the trade-off we can make. And the fact that it's preseason is irrelevant. They can simply say, 'No.'

"Unless a European coach says it's OK, it's not an obligatory call-up. There may be advantages for some players to be playing for European clubs. Their availability for national team call-ups is certainly not one of them."

A contracted player on vacation between seasons is tied to his club, which controls his availability for loans, competitions, trials, etc., just as an MLS player cannot train or go on trial overseas during the league offseason without permission of his team.

The federation could use an MLS team for the Gold Cup and fight a dozen or so battles with individual clubs to get players, many of whom aren't established regulars like Bocanegra or Howard, released for the Copa America.

Oguchi Oneywu started last season in Belgium, was rumored to be on his way to Spain, is on loan in England for the next few months, and come June, who knows? Everton just paid a few mil to break Howard loose from Manchester United. Guess where he thinks he should be in July, or how he'd explain to Manager David Moyes about showing up injured from a clumsy tackle in Maracaibo?

Or the federation can take a path of less resistance and use the South American competition as a proving ground for its up-and-coming players, who would be match fit from playing the first three months of the MLS season. Justin Mapp dancing through Argentina? Marvell Wynne rampaging past Paraguay? Matt Reis stoning Colombia? What's not to like?

Testing as many players as possible in the Copa America, as well as using a strong squad in the Gold Cup, makes sense to him, even if many fans and journalists can't grasp the logic.

"At this point we don't know who will be on our World Cup team in three years and who will be participating right through in qualifying," says Gulati. "Clint Dempsey hadn't played too many games for our national team two years before the World Cup. Getting him games three years out would have been a big plus and we could name other players in that exact same situation. We'll field very good teams for both, the best possible teams we can for both competitions.

"There will be some players who play in both competitions, yes. How many I couldn't tell you yet."


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Jurgen Klinsmann    
"Every day you learn. You learn about every individual, about your group, about the chemistry, about ...
MLS Week 16: Results & standings    
Chad Barrett scored in the 90th minute to give the San Jose Earthquakes a 1-1 tie ...
Euro 2016: Portugal saves it until late    
Portugal, which tied all three games in the group stage, was minutes away from heading to ...
What They're Saying: Sunil Gulati    
"Our base-line [for average attendance] was 30,000; 35,000 would've been great, and 40,000 beyond our wildest ...
What They're Saying: Investment banker Keith Harris    
"It was a shock result. There are four players that we can reflect on and the ...
What They're Saying: Megan Rapinoe    
"Gay bars are so important for me and my community. That could have been me. That ...
What They're Saying: Gudmundur Benediktsson    
"It's been quite strange and actually hectic because the phone hasn't stopped ringing. But I'm really ...
MLS: Top fives in Fan XI voting remain steady    
The MLS All-Star Game will be played July 28 in San Jose and every few days ...
MLS Countdown: Rivals wrap up season series early    
The MLS campaign has yet to reach its midpoint yet already teams are facing each other ...
USA-Colombia: Lots at stake in third-place game    
The USA must quickly get back in the saddle after its disastrous semifinal against Argentina when ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives