By Carlos Hernandez, Sports Writer
2016 has a lot to offer for U.S Soccer fans within both the U.S Women’s and Men’s National soccer teams. Both teams are in the process of their annual January training camp which will serve as preparations for upcoming friendly games and competitions. For the U.S Women’s soccer team camp began for them on the 5th of January and will last until the 21st of January where they will then travel down south to San Diego, specifically to Qualcomm Stadium where they will face off against the Republic of Ireland. There is a huge importance of both the training camp and the exhibition match for head coach and the World Women’s Coach of the year award winner Jill Ellis, since she has to put together an 18 player roster for the soon to follow Concacaf Olympic Qualifiers, set to take place in Dallas, and Houston, Texas where two teams qualify for the summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro. In past tournaments the U.S.A have qualified for every edition of the Olympic Games and have won the tournament as well. As for the U.S Men’s soccer team, head coach Jurgen Klinsman has summoned a group of players who play in Major League Soccer, players such as Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore from Toronto FC, Mix Diskerud and Khiry Shelton from New York City FC, and Gyasi Zardes from the LA Galaxy and many more.
A huge importance for Jurgen Klinsman when selecting the players for the January camp was to bring in players who can qualify to participate in the all-important playoff match series between the U.S Olympic Team and Colombia for the last ticket to qualify to the summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Players like Jordon Morris, Matt Polster, and Jerome Kiesewetter were called in to the January camp and participated in the Concacaf Olympic Men’s Qualifying tournament where the U.S.A lost against Honduras in the semifinal with the winner not only advancing to the final but to the Olympics Games. As if that were not enough the U.S Men’s Soccer Team will first have two exhibition games against Iceland on January 31st and against Canada on the 5th of February both taking place at StubHub Center.
A month later they will resume back into the quest of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, as they travel to face Guatemala on the 25th of March and then on the 29th of March they will receive Guatemala in the famous Crew Stadium now known as MAPFRE Stadium. Should they win one or both rounds the U.S.A would position themselves to qualify for the third and last round of World Cup Qualifying where three teams would qualify directly to the World Cup and the 4th place finisher of 6 going to a playoff match against a team from the Asian Football Confederation. It is only a matter of time for the pressure to kick in for the players towards competing in these competitions, and excitement to build up from the fans who will look forward into cheering on their U.S Soccer teams in a year where there will be lots of games and competitions at stake making it a soccer year too good to be true.