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Despite drama, there are reasons for USMNT optimism as a new World Cup cycle begins

Problems remain for the United States, but there are real reasons to be excited as a new World Cup cycle gets underway.

5 min read

This piece has been updated with the news that sporting director Earnie Stewart is leaving U.S. Soccer.

It’s Tuesday, one day before the U.S. men’s national team takes on Serbia to kick off a new World Cup cycle. A group of us are standing outside of Dignity Health Sports Park, the Los Angeles Galaxy’s stadium.

We’re waiting to head downstairs for the USMNT’s press conference, where we’ll speak with interim manager Anthony Hudson and a pair of players. Before we have a chance to walk downstairs, Jurgen Klinsmann comes around the corner. Yes, that Jurgen Klinsmann. The one who coached the United States at the 2014 World Cup and was fired midway through the next cycle. He quickly opens the door, walks through it, and disappears inside.

Welcome to the weird world of the USMNT’s January camp.

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