Can The World Cup Coming To North America Help Save College Soccer?

June 13th, 2018 | by CollegeAD
Can The World Cup Coming To North America Help Save College Soccer?
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college soccer

The World Cup is coming to North America in 2026. FIFA made the announcement Wednesday, a day before the 2018 World Cup gets underway in Russia, as Canada and Mexico will join the United States in hosting the world’s biggest soccer event. Could the event also help college soccer?

The USA will miss out on this year’s tournament, a big blow to American soccer, but perhaps a wake call that was needed. As the sobering effect of not making the World Cup began to wear off, US Soccer used the experience as an opportunity to take a step back and look at everything they were doing. Trying to figure what needed to be fixed and how to fix it before the 2022 World Cup.

Could college athletic departments play a role in helping the US not only return to the world stage but be consistently relevant? Or is it the World Cup returning to North America for the first time since 1994 that can save college soccer?

Can college soccer help turn around the American national team?

Well not in its current format according to Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski. “College soccer is the laughingstock of the soccer world now,” Cirovski told ESPN in March of this year.

But why?

Between a combination of a short and compact four-month schedule, a clock that counts up, and the ability to substitute as many players as wanted. Internationally and professionally the clock counts down from 90-minutes, teams have just three subs, and the game is played for most of the year.

Rules governing the college game are forcing many of America’s top talent to forego school and instead play overseas and those that do decide to play collegiately often times struggle when first turning pro.

Cirvoski believes he has a plan to fix college soccer and by doing so helping train and develop talent that could eventually find its way onto the US National Team and possibly the World Cup when it comes to North America in 2026.

His plan, as he told  The Philadelphia Inquirer, would see the current 20-game schedule which happens in the fall cross over into the spring. The Maryland coach, who has won two National Championships in his time leading the Terps, wants to see 13-games played in the fall and nine games in the spring, sprinkling in three exhibition games during the year.

Cirvoski hopes that over the next year he can present the proposed changes to NCAA at the associations yearly convention.

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