USMNT cancels Qatar camp because of Middle East security concerns

U.S. Soccer has canceled the upcoming USMNT camp in Qatar after tension in the Middle East region increased following the death of Iranian general Qasem Suleimani.

A U.S.-led drone strike killed Suleimani in Iraq on Thursday. There are fears Americans will be targeted in the Middle East region as retaliation.

The U.S. football governing body decided to scrap the camp Friday, releasing a statement through its official media channels.

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“Due to the developing situation in the region, U.S. Soccer has decided to postpone traveling to Qatar for the Men’s National Team’s scheduled January training camp,” the U.S Soccer statement read.

“In the meantime, we are working on alternative arrangements in preparation for the match against Costa Rica on February 1 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif.

“We are working with the Qatar Football Association to find an opportunity in the near future for our team to experience Qatar’s world-class facilities and hospitality.”

There is no official threat to Americans in the Middle East but the situation could change rapidly as the U.S and Iran continue to have conflict.

The USMNT had planned to use the Aspire Academy training facility in Doha from Jan. 5-25 with the 23 U.S.-based footballers and two foreign-located players expected to attend the camp.

The camp will now be held somewhere in the U.S., with the location yet to be determined by the federation.

The camp will likely commence after the planned Jan. 5 start date with some staff and equipment already being sent to Qatar for the initial event. It will serve as preparation for the USMNT’s friendly against Costa Rica in Southern California on Feb. 1.

The USMNT also has an exhibition match scheduled against UEFA Nations League finalist the Netherlands on March 26 in Eindhoven.

Having missed qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the USMNT is looking to build to make sure it is involved in Qatar 2022; however, it was beaten 1-0 by Mexico in the 2019 Gold Cup final and only just squeezed through the CONCACAF Nations League group following a 2-0 defeat to Canada.

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