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U.S. Soccer has done a tremendous job with the Fan Tribute Tour, which so far has had the USWNT play three different opponents in five different cities with two more games scheduled against Ireland in late November and early December.
The tour is a terrific public relations move by U.S. Soccer as it allows the fans to see their Olympic gold-medal heroes up close and personal.
And, with the next major competition three years away, who can blame U.S. Soccer and the team for wanting to take a little break to celebrate, right?
However, the one thing that these last few games against Australia and Germany proved definitively is that the rest of the world is steadily working to close the gap on the U.S.
Australia, normally a feisty but outmanned international side, gave the U.S. two surprisingly good games. And the Germans showed the U.S. through long stretches what good one-two touch combination play should look like. Both the Germans and Australians fielded young sides with the Germans rostering five members of their U-20 World Cup team.
The U.S., meanwhile, is in a serious state of transition. They are awaiting the selection of their new coach and word on a possible new professional league here in America.
With an aging U.S. roster—eight of the U.S.’ 18 players are on the wrong side of 30—and nations like France and Germany using their domestic leagues to churn out youth talent like crazy, the U.S. needs to start preparing for the next cycle.
There is a plethora of new American talent that needs to begin being evaluated, from Meghan Klingenberg, Christen Press, Whitney Engen, Kealia Ohai, Crystal Dunn, Julie Johnston, Lindsey Horan and the return of Krieger.
The sooner the U.S. gets started—the better. The rest of the world is not waiting.
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