An NIT for the World Cup? U.S. Soccer is evidently looking into it.

By Avi Creditor
November 14, 2017

When the USA joined the likes of Ghana and Chile on the outside looking in of the World Cup, plenty joked that a non-World Cup tournament for big-name nations be organized. Well, it might not be a joke after all.

U.S. Soccer and Soccer United Marketing are looking into the potential of hosting the likes of Italy, Netherlands and the aforementioned duo in a series of matches for nations who won't be participating in the summer showcase in Russia. It's very preliminary in the process, and there is no agreement with any of the other nations whose 2018 summer unexpectedly opened up.

That list is more extreme than usual, with the reigning regional champions in Africa (Cameroon), CONCACAF (USA) and South America (Chile) missing out; Italy failing to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958 and the Netherlands missing out after finishing second in 2010 and third in 2014. Ghana, a past World Cup nemesis for the USA, hadn't failed to qualify since 2002.

Plenty would have to fall into place for the "joke" envisioned to become a true reality and for any iteration of this proposed competition to carry any clout. For starters, not every nation would necessarily send a top lineup to a largely meaningless forum, while those nations would also have to want to play the USA instead of opting for other World Cup warm-up matches against competition headed to Russia.

It's in the ideation phase, at the very least, and the USA will have to play someone during the international dates next summer. Might as well be someone with common ground.

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