The Copa America Centenario semifinals didn’t go the way he wanted, but Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to Argentina hasn’t soured US manager Jurgen Klinsmann on the competition.
Speaking to reporters in Arizona ahead of Saturday’s third-place match against Colombia at University of Phoenix Stadium, Klinsmann said that he’d like for the US to play in every Copa America – even if it involves an occasional humbling from a team like Argentina.
This summer's Copa America Centenario is a special one-off edition of the tournament commemorating its 100th anniversary. The competition is usually held every four years and contested by the 10 South American nations in CONMEBOL and two guest nations. The US has participated in the traditional Copa twice in the last two decades, finishing fourth in the 1995 tournament in Uruguay and going 0-3-0 with a young team at the 2007 tournament in Venezuela.
The next Copa America is scheduled to be held in Brazil in 2019.
“I say it all the time, if you can have the Copa Americas and the World Cups to compete in it will make your program grow faster,” Klinsmann said on Thursday. “It will help you to always kind of be on the edge with those teams in South America or obviously in a World Cup with all the teams in the world. That’s why I’m really grateful that we can participate in this competition and hopefully in the future we can do that every time, to play in the Copa America because that’s the only way for us to improve our game, to go eye-to-eye with the best in the world.”
Klinsmann, who hasn’t been shy about scheduling big-name opponents in friendly matches, spoke about the need for the US and other CONCACAF teams to measure themselves against traditional powers like Argentina and Brazil and Colombia in order to improve.
“I think every CONCACAF team will share this idea, will share this wish to play the top teams from South America as often as you can,” he said. “If you play them every year possibly, the Brazil’s, Argentina’s, Colombia’s of the world, you know you can measure yourself and you know exactly where you are. On that road you will get some defeats, you will get some lessons like we did with Argentina like Mexico received from Chile but that’s part of the growth. This is what you need to do, so anytime they invite us for the Copa America we’ll be right there.”