Is the World Cup Version of the NIT Coming in 2018?

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According to sources, U.S. Soccer is looking into the idea.

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Rumors began to swirl on Tuesday as social media began to tease the idea of an ‘NIT-style’ soccer tournament happening in lieu of the World Cup. It’s been well documented that the United States, along with footballing giants Italy, the Netherlands, Chile, and Ghana all fell short of their World Cup dreams as all failed to qualify for 2018 in Russia.

With TV networks looking to cash in on any and every high profile sporting event, a tournament secondary to the World Cup for these giant nations may not be inconceivable. But what value would it bring to the United States? For the USMNT, youth is key to moving forward.

Providing another avenue for the nation’s future stars to compete against the world’s top competition would be a step in the right direction for youth development.

The difficulty with a ‘mini-World Cup’ would lie in trying to maintain the competitive nature of a tournament secondary to the World Cup. All eyes will be on Russia next summer and this tournament would need to maintain competitiveness to make it worth the time and resources of each nation to compete.

According to Steven Goff, a soccer insider for the Washington Post, “U.S. Soccer and Soccer United Marketing are, indeed, looking into ‘possibility’ of bringing non-World Cup sides such as Italy, Netherlands, Ghana, Chile to U.S. next summer for tournament or series of matches.”

As of now, U.S. Soccer has not made any remarks on the situation so the tournament still lies in its rumor infancy. A tournament of that nature would need to begin preparation sooner as opposed to later to ensure its success. In the meantime, stay tuned to the US Soccer presidency election to satisfy all your U.S. Soccer withdrawals.

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