After their training camp was moved from Qatar to Bradenton, Florida at short notice, the USMNT are getting focused on a huge 2020 as they aim to rebuild the reputation of the program.
USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter has already discussed their hope of setting up a training camp in Qatar before the 2022 World Cup, while the U.S. are heading to the Netherlands and reportedly Wales in March as they continue to prepare for a crucial period in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying as the majority of their qualifiers are in the fall of 2020.
LAFC defender Walker Zimmerman has become a reliable presence at the heart of the USMNT defense and he knows the hard work starts now as this young U.S. group focus on 2022 World Cup qualification.
“We talked about it and we have six qualifiers at the end of this year, which is 60 percent of our qualifying process,” Zimmerman said. “It is huge. Everything is in front of us. We have all of our goals in front of us for this year and we have the Nations League in June, which is another chance for us to play in a competitive environment and try to win our first trophy as a group. Then it is all about looking ahead to qualifying. ‘How can we prepare ourselves for these first seven or eight months to head into September ready to go.'”
With a few weeks training followed by a friendly against familiar foe Costa Rica, Berhalter will be hoping to get his message across loud and clear with the MLS portion of his squad.
That’s something he struggled with last season as the USMNT failed to impress with disjointed displays and Berhalter’s philosophy of possession-based, fluid, attacking soccer only appeared in fits and starts.
The USMNT need to start 2020 well and this camp in January and their friendlies in March, with the European contingent involved for the first time, will set the tone for a massive 12 months in deciding whether or not they make a huge leap forwards as they hope to return to the World Cup.
With Christian Pulisic, Sergino Dest, Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams all going through battles with injury and form so far this season, Berhalter knows this young USMNT squad needs its leaders to be fit and raring to go when September rolls around.
His time in charge will be judged on how the U.S. fare in World Cup qualifying. That’s it. That’s the job.