The USMNT's January training camp that was supposed to be held in Qatar has been relocated two days before it was set to begin "due to the developing situation in the region," U.S. Soccer announced Friday night. The camp will now be held in Bradenton, Fl., per the USMNT.
The news appears to stem from safety concerns related to the death of Iranian Major General Qassim Suleimani, who was killed early Friday by an American drone strike near the Baghdad airport. Suleimani's death has sparked fear of possible retaliations and is viewed by some as a possible step in destabilizing the region further.
Iran’s United Nations ambassador, Majid Takht Ravanchi, called the killing “an act of war,” and vowed that it would be met with “revenge, a harsh revenge.”
There have been no reports suggesting the team specifically was in any danger. Doha, the site of the originally scheduled camp, is located around 700 miles from Baghdad.
The USMNT's was set to train at Doha's Aspire Academy between Jan. 5–25. The team planned to train at the camp before returning to the United States for a Feb. 1 friendly against Costa Rica.
Instead, the USMNT will now open its annual January camp on Jan. 6 at IMG Academy in Florida.
According to Yahoo Sports Henry Bushnell and Doug McIntyre, several team staffers had already traveled to Qatar, and are now scheduled to fly home. A large assortment of gear had also already been shipped and will need to be returned to America.
The USSF said it hoped to "find an opportunity in the near future" to use Qatar's facilities. U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart had previously expressed his desire to train at the site, as the country is hosting the upcoming 2022 World Cup.