USA to open World Cup qualifying in Tampa; Scotland friendly official

USA to open World Cup qualifying in Tampa; Scotland friendly official

U.S. Men's National Team

USA to open World Cup qualifying in Tampa; Scotland friendly official

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Photo by John Dorton/ISIphotos.com

The U.S. men's national team's quest for the 2014 FIFA World Cup will begin in Tampa, Fla., as it hosts Antigua & Barbuda on June 8 in the opening game of its World Cup qualifying run at Raymond James Stadium.

U.S. Soccer also confirmed that the May 26 friendly against Scotland will be played at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, something that was reported by a Jacksonville radio station earlier on Wednesday. The match, which has an 8 p.m. first kick, will be the first national team game televised by the NBC Sports Network under its new rights deal, and it will also be broadcast by Univision.

The matchup against Antigua & Barbuda will be the first one ever for the U.S. men, and it will be televised on ESPN, ESPN3.com and Univision. First kick is slated for 7 p.m. The United States last played in Tampa this past June in the Gold Cup when it suffered a shock 2-1 loss to Panama.

"Our focus since last summer has been to prepare this team for World Cup qualifying, and we are thrilled that we can start the process in Tampa," U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann said in a federation-issued release. "It’s critical that we start qualifying off on the right foot, so to be in a place where the team has had such great support is a huge positive for us. The players always talk about how great the surface is at Raymond James Stadium, so overall we think it is the ideal venue.”

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