The U.S. men’s soccer team announced Friday that it had canceled plans to train in Qatar later this month following the death of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in an American drone strike.
“Due to the developing situation in the region, U.S. Soccer has decided to postpone traveling to Qatar for the Men’s National Team scheduled January training camp,” the U.S. Soccer Federation said in a statement. “In the meantime, we are working on alternative arraignments in preparation for the match against Costa Rica on February 1 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif.”
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“We are working with the Qatar Football Association to find an opportunity in the near future for our team to experience Qatar’s world-class facilities and hospitality,” the statement concluded. Qatar is hosting the 2022 World Cup, and the U.S. will begin playing qualifying matches for that tournament later this year.
Tensions remain high at home and abroad after President Trump ordered a drone strike on Soleimani, who was the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force. Trump defended his actions Friday and claimed America is a safer place following Soleimani’s demise.
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“Qassem Soleimani masterminded Iran’s reign of terror for decades, including the deaths of hundreds of Americans,” he said.
“Tonight, he got what he richly deserved, and all those American soldiers who died by his hand also got what they deserved: justice. America is safer now after Soleimani’s demise.”