Following their elimination from the World Cup in the Round of 16 this month, the USMNT moved up three spots in the FIFA rankings and they are now 13th in the world.
The United States men’s national team will be part of the next Copa America to help the team prepare for a deeper run as the hosts of the 2026 World Cup, USMNT captain Tyler Adams said on Wednesday.
“It’s very important that now we use these upcoming tournaments and upcoming games to continue to build this chemistry together,” Adams told NBC Sports ahead of Leeds United’s clash with Manchester City.
The midfielder added that Copa America would be an opportunity for the team to build continuity ahead of the FIFA World Cup in 2026, which will be jointly held by the United States, Canada and Mexico.
“One of the things we’ve lacked going into this first World Cup is it took us a long time to get our best players on the field and in camp together. Some of us were injured, some of us were not healthy, we missed out on the opportunity to maximise our time together.
“If you can have your guys healthy in tournaments like that, you gain experience and hopefully some more young guys are coming through the pipeline right now,” he said.
The USA had the second-youngest squad in Qatar. In the group stages, the team did not allow a goal from open play and outplayed England en route to a hard-fought goalless draw with the Three Lions.
The team was eventually knocked out in the Round of 16 after losing to Holland. Following their elimination, The USMNT moved up three spots in the FIFA rankings and they are now 13th in the world.
“Going into the World Cup, it was our job to try and change the way the world views American soccer,” Adams said. “The standard wasn’t too high but hopefully, after this World Cup and some good performances, people start to change the way they think about us.”
“I think you’ve seen in the past the US has been praised for their mentality, but lacked the final product, or lacked the creativity, or lacked the technical ability. Whereas now, you can see that we’re developing an identity,” he continued.
The United States is not a member of the South American football confederation but guest nations have regularly been invited since 1993.
The USMNT has previously participated in Copa America as a guest in 1993, 1995, and 2007.
Playing in the South American-based Copa America would give the team an opportunity to compete against World Cup winners Argentina, and other South American countries including Brazil, Uruguay, Ecuador.
USMNT is not set to play again until March, as they’ll face Grenada and El Salvador in the Nations League.
The next World Cup, which will be jointly held between the United States, Canada and Mexico, will feature 48 teams, 16 more than the current format.