U.S. Men’s National Team Assistant Coach Mike Sorber sat down with ussoccer.com to discuss the U.S. Men’s National Team’s upcoming game against Spain, the Gold Cup and how the new U.S. Soccer coaching curriculum will affect the national team in the future.
ussoccer.com: More than 33,000 tickets have already been sold for the U.S. Men’s National Team game against Spain on June 4. What do you think of the positive fan reaction to this game?
Mike Sorber: “It’s super not only due to the fact that were playing Spain and they’re obviously coming off winning the World Cup and we had played them in the Confederations Cup and it was a good game, but also because people in the United States are as excited as we are about the game. I think we’ve had a good following this year with the game in New York against Argentina and the game in Tennessee against Paraguay. I think it’s another good step for us to play Spain and it leads into the Gold Cup which is an important tournament and comes right after that game.”
ussoccer.com: This game is different than the last time the U.S. played Spain, which was in the semifinal of the 2009 Confederations Cup. This time it’s more about preparing for what comes next. What are you looking to get out of the match against Spain?
MS: “Any time you play a top team like Spain everyone is not only excited about it but they want to step on the field and play against the best players. As usual, we want to put a group out there that collectively can challenge themselves and we want to go in and think we have a chance to win the game just like we did in the 2009 Confederations Cup. In the big picture, it’s about the mentality and having the group play together in tough games because when we get into the Gold Cup every team is going to be playing at their best level and their hardest against us and those are games we need to win and be prepared for.”
ussoccer.com: U.S. Soccer Youth Technical Director Claudio Reyna presented the new U.S. Soccer coaching curriculum to more than 150 of the top youth leaders in the U.S. Soccer community this week. How does the new U.S. Soccer coaching curriculum connect to the national team?
MS: “I think, in general, it’s all connected because ultimately we hope that the level of development that starts when the kids are little progresses all the way to the first team level. As a country we can get better and more consistent so that we have better players for Major League Soccer and players that ultimately want to play in Europe. Then finally for players that come into the national team, that we can play in the Gold Cup tournament and have a legitimate chance of winning it every time and then playing in qualifiers so we can qualify for the World Cup so that when we get to the World Cup we can go as far as possible.”
ussoccer.com: What is it like to catch up with coaches from across the United States during the summit?
MS: “It’s exciting to have everybody in one place. There are a lot of ideas and conversations. Ultimately the most important thing is that we can all get on the same page and all work together so that we can make soccer better, make the level better and ultimately make the players better so that we can have players on top teams across the world because that is going to make us better as a national team.”