There's plenty going on in different areas of U.S. Soccer, while a Liverpool star appears destined to join Italy's powerhouse this summer for free.
The 2019 men’s Copa América will take place in Brazil with an expanded field of 16 teams–the 10 South American nations, plus six guest participants. A U.S. Soccer source confirmed that the U.S. has been invited to take part in the tournament as one of those six, but the federation has yet to make a decision on whether to accept.
The last time the U.S., which hosted the special, combined Copa America Centenario in 2016, competed in a traditional Copa América was in 2007. When I asked the U.S. Soccer source if the U.S. might host another special Copa América in 2020 like the 2016 event, the response was that it is all up for discussion.
Relations between Concacaf and Conmebol are intriguing these days. There’s a lot of money to be made in big events together, but there’s lingering tension over the U.S.’s South American arrests in the FIFA scandal and questions over whether the South American countries will vote for the North American World Cup ’26 bid in June.
Elsewhere in the soccer world:
Sources confirm Arena's account of Klinsmann firing timeline
On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that in his upcoming book, Bruce Arena reveals that he had talks in Chicago with U.S. Soccer’s Sunil Gulati and Dan Flynn and was set to replace Jurgen Klinsmann as U.S. men’s national team coach in April 2016, just before the Copa América Centenario and six months before it ended up happening. But the April 2016 move didn’t end up taking place because federation CEO Flynn had a heart transplant.
Sources I spoke to verified Arena’s account, and a U.S. Soccer board member said these types of closed-door sessions were why the board has pushed in recent months to create a general manager position that puts the hiring and firing of national team coaches in the hands of people who are soccer experts.
Liverpool's Can bound for Juventus
Liverpool's Emre Can is in a rare position: He's a 24-year-old German national team player who has elected to let his contract run out at the end of the season despite continuing to be a regular starter for the club. A source with knowledge of the situation tells me all signs are pointing to Can signing with Juventus despite interest from other top clubs.
My source recently spoke to Juve's Sami Khedira, Can's Germany teammate, and Khedira said yes, it's going to happen.
U.S. Soccer refutes report of billion-dollar deal with Irish tech company
Eyebrows were raised last week when a story in the respected Irish Times reported that an Irish sports tech company named StatSports had signed a 5-year, $1 billion contract with U.S. Soccer to provide monitoring equipment for soccer players in the United States. That billion-dollar figure raised plenty of questions about what on earth U.S. Soccer was doing with that kind of money. But I spoke to U.S. Soccer, and it turns out that not only is it not a billion-dollar deal, it’s not even a million-dollar deal.
The Irish company derived the billion-dollar figure by multiplying the cost of their equipment times all of the more than 4 million registered players in the United States. But U.S. Soccer says the federation will be using the equipment with just 6,500 players under federation auspices from the Development Academy to senior levels.
USWNT's Tournament of Nations to feature repeat field
U.S. Soccer is set to announce on Thursday that the opponents for the U.S. women’s national team in this year’s Tournament of Nations will be Australia, Brazil and Japan—as was the case last year.
The tournament will take place from July 26 to August 2, with all of the games being televised by Fox Sports.