The U.S. Men’s National Team’s January training camp has become a tradition, having taken place for almost two decades, but the event know by USMNT fans as ‘Camp Cupcake’ appears headed for a new destination.
The 2020 edition of the USMNT January camp is likely to be held in Qatar, according to a report by Yahoo.
According to the reporter, U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter traveled to Qatar after the USMNT’s recent September friendlies against Mexico and Uruguay to
Traditionally held in California, the January USMNT camp would move to Qatar this winter in order to allow the team to become acclimated to the conditions in the country that will host the 2022 World Cup.
Having the training camp in Qatar would also allow the USMNT to play friendlies against other nations training in the Arab nation, as well as top European club teams. Qatar and nearby United Arab Emirates are popular destinations for German club teams to visit during winter break training camps.
It wouldn’t be the first time a USMNT squad has spent part of the winter in a foreign country. The United States spent part of its 2014 camp in Brazil ahead of the 2014 World Cup, and also played a friendly in Chile in 2015.
The January USMNT traditionally consists of MLS-based players due to the fact European-based players and players in Mexico aren’t available because of club commitments. The 2020 camp could also be geared toward a younger group as part of preparation for the Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament in March.
While European-based stars like Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Zack Steffen wouldn’t be available for the January camp (unless their club teams were also training in Qatar in January), Berhalter could use the camp to look at some top young MLS prospects, including Paxton Pomykal, Miles Robinson, Jeremy Ebobisse, Keaton Parks, Mason Toye, Mark McKenzie and Kyle Duncan, to name a few. All of the aforementioned players are age-eligible for the U.S. Olympic qualifying team.
The USMNT returns to action in October when it begins Nations League play with a match against Cuba in Washington D.C. on October 11th, followed by a road game against Canada in Toronto on October 15th.