FIFA Soccer


The road to the FIFA World Cup begins with the each country establishing their National Teams ("NT"). The United States National Team is selected and operated by the United States Soccer Federation.

The path to being selected to the USA's WNT (women's) and MNT (men's) team begins in the early years.  Youth players competing in any of the USSF affiliated organizations such as USYSA and US Club, amongst others, tryout for recognition teams such as the Olympic Development Program ("ODP") as early as age 12 or 13.  Once identified in these programs they compete to move up the ranks in their states region; and eventually the finest players are selected to represent their age groups national team, as early as U14.  From there various USSF coaches recommend players for select tryouts.  Players are competing for spots on these teams throughout their youth including high school, college and beyond. 

The NT may consist of players from college, amateur, semi-pro and professional teams.  Professional teams winning their league title have no consideration in NT selections.  Only players may end up being selected by the NT head coach, never a team. 

All NT's play in various international tournaments and games ("friendlies") against other worldwide NT's teams in preparation for the only FIFA World Cup qualifying tournament within their particular region .  For the US NT this region is CONCACAF, The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football.  

Some of the tournaments for women include include the Algarve Cup, Pan American Games, Peace Queen Cup

The CONCACAF is the preeminent competition for national teams in North American and it crowns the Confederation’s champion.  New in 2009 is the CONCACAF Champions League which replaces the Champions Cup.

The CONCACAF winner and runner-up qualify to compete in the FIFA World Cup. The third-place finisher from the CONCACAF faces the winner of the Asian Football Confederation in a home-and-away playoff for the final berth to the FIFA tournament. The host of the FIFA World Cup automatically qualifies for the tournament regardless of how they finish in any conference play.

The FIFA World Cup is recognized as the most important International competition in soccer (football) and is played amongst national football teams of the member states of FIFA, the sport's global governing body.  The current format has sixteen teams competing every four years for the winner's trophy

The participants qualify through the regional football confederations of Oceania (OFC), Europe (UEFA), North America, Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF), South America (CONMEBOL), Asia (AFC) and Africa (CAF).

The competition takes place over the course of three weeks. In the group stage, 16 teams seeded into four groups (A,B,C, and D) compete against each other in a round-robin tournament. In the knockout phase, the top two teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals, a single-elimination tournament in which teams play each other in one-off matches, with extra time and penalty shootouts used to decide the winner if necessary. The winner of Group A plays the runner-up of Group B, The winner of Group B plays the runner-up of Group A, etc. The winners of the four quarterfinal games move on to the semifinal matches, which determine the contestants for the championship game. The losing semifinalists compete to determine third place.


     Asia: AFC – Championship
 Africa: CAF – Championship
 North America: CONCACAF – Championship
 South America: CONMEBOL – Championship
     Oceania: OFC – Championship
 Europe: UEFA – Championship





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