The U.S. can’t afford to fall behind.
Canada’s head coach John Herdman has his eye on the 2026 World Cup and wants his team ready to challenge bigger teams.
“We have to play big nations – big games and feel what it's like to be under the pressure of these quality players,” Herdman said in an interview with CBC.
This is the clearest sign to date that Canada is looking to take over, or at the very least match the U.S. as a soccer powerhouse in North America.
U.S. Soccer has been in talks with CONEMBOL over taking part in the 2024 Copa America. Many American fans have clamored for the USMNT to try and enter the tournament as a way to get competitive matches against some of the best teams in the world, as they look forward to the 2026 World Cup.
There’s even been talks to have USA, Canada and Mexico co-host the 2024 Copa America as a dry-run for the host cities of the 2026 World Cup.
CONCACAF president and Canada native Victor Montagliani left open that possibility, saying, “We are always discussing these matters with all the confederations.”
Both sides clearly want better competition than CONCACAF is offering them. The USMNT and Canada will likely not have to qualify for the World Cup – leaving them dependent on CONCACAF Nations League, the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and friendlies for the most part to get their players prepared for 2026.
If one nation doesn’t get into tournaments with tougher competition, it could prove detrimental to their chances on home soil.
Be sure to catch the latest Swift Kicks Podcast episode, Tuesday (12/13) at 7:50pm ET.