Jan 4 (Reuters) – The men’s US national team has called off plans to go to Qatar for a winter training camp following unrest in the Middle East, U.S. Soccer said on Friday.
“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,” U.S. Soccer said in a short statement.
Iran‘s clerical and military rulers have threatened revenge for an American air strike at Baghdad airport on Friday that killed Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran‘s elite Revolutionary Guards Quds Force and architect of its growing military influence in the Middle East.
US coach Gregg Berhalter had called up 25 players for the 20-day sojourn scheduled to begin on Jan. 5.
His side were to play closed door games at Doha’s Aspire Academy before heading home to face Costa Rica in Carson, Calif. on Feb. 1.
That game will go ahead as planned, U.S. Soccer said, and they are now working on an alternative schedule to prepare for that fixture.
“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,” U.S. Soccer added.
Qatar will host the World Cup in 2022 and the US kicks off its qualifying campaign in September. The US is desperate to qualify for the Qatar tournament after surprisingly missing out last time in Russia.
(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Himani Sarkar)