The United States men’s national team opens 2020 with January camp in Doha, Qatar, followed by its first friendly of the decade Feb. 1 against Costa Rica in Carson, California.
U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter is schedule to announce his roster for the camp and friendly Monday at 2 p.m. ET. It will include some surprising selections, according to a USMNT spokesperson.
The annual camp typically features mainly Major League Soccer players since it falls outside of a FIFA international window and European and Mexican clubs do not often release players midseason.
The United States Soccer Federation has long held its early-year trainings in Southern California. Choosing to change locations this year to Qatar was “with the confidence and anticipation of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” according to a statement released by the federation.
”The USMNT will take a first opportunity to experience the football facilities, customs, weather and other logistical and performance considerations in the host nation,” the statement read.
The USMNT held similar on-location camps in South Africa and Brazil prior to the 2010 and 2014 World Cups respectively.
The team will train at the Aspire Academy in Qatar’s capital city of Doha Jan. 5-25, including closed-door scrimmages, before heading stateside for the friendly against Costa Rica.
“Our priority is to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, so it’s certainly a big benefit to get a head start on experiencing the facilities, environment and culture of the tournament hosts,” Berhalter said.
In preparation for the Concacaf Nations League semifinal in June and the start of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying, which kicks off in September, the U.S. will host Costa Rica at the LA Galaxy’s Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson.
“The chance to play against a likely World Cup qualifying opponent is fantastic,” Berhalter said. “As we continue to develop, it’s important to challenge our group against a variety of different opponents. At the end of a January Camp, we want the players to have a chance to put all the work to the test.”