As reported at FIFA.com, the USA men's soccer team is scheduled for a friendly against Scotland, which will be held on 26 May in Jacksonville, Fla. After playing Scotland, USA will face Brazil four days later in the Washington, DC, area and then Canada in Toronto four days after that.
These friendlies are meant as warmups prior to the start of the 2014 World Cup qualifying season.
The May 26 friendly should be interesting to watch, as USA and Scotland hold a rivalry that dates back to 1949. The two teams have not faced each other since their match in 1998, a game that ended in a draw, so this friendly should offer a fair amount of intensity.
Following the friendlies against Scotland, Brazil, and Canada, USA will go on to hold its first qualifying match against Antigua and Barbuda. This game will be played on June 8 in Tampa, Fla., and will be the first time the teams have ever faced one another. USA is currently ranked 31st internationally and Antigua and Barbuda is ranked 90th, so the odds are in USA's favor.
Although USA does not have a World Cup title under its belt, the team's new head coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, is taking that goal very seriously as he readies his men for the upcoming qualifying season.
"Our focus since last summer has been to prepare this team for World Cup qualifying," Klinsmann stated during a recent interview for FIFA.com. During that interview, he also admitted that he would face a new challenge as the USA coach despite his many years of experience in international soccer. Specifically, competing within CONCACAF will entail playing matches on less-than-ideal pitches in locations throughout Central America.
As a USA fan, and someone relatively new to the world of "real football," I could not be more excited about the upcoming season. With Jurgen Klinsmann at the helm, I feel the American team has a chance at becoming more competitive. Klinsmann's methods were proven during his tenure in Germany and so far he seems to be off on the right foot as USA's head coach. Furthermore, certain statements he made during his interview with FIFA.com indicate that he understands the disadvantages inherent in the American sports mindset when it comes to soccer.
Klinsmann responded to a question about the American mindset by saying, "Soccer is driven from the inside. It's a player's game no matter what the level. This is something that is hard for Americans to understand. Baseball, American football and basketball, to a lesser degree, are driven from the outside, by coaches and managers. You have playbooks and timeouts and all manner of things."
I look forward to watching USA improve under Jurgen Klinsmann's leadership.Christopher Brown is a new fan of International Soccer who has loosely followed FIFA over the years but just recently developed a strong attraction to the sport. He is now "fully invested" as a soccer fan and hopes to watch the U.S. become a more dominant challenger in the world of soccer.