Thursday, December 30, 2010

Looking ahead to 2011 for U.S. soccer

It's not for nothing that the word "hangover" is often associated with the year that follows a World Cup. The emotional letdown that occurs for the players and coaches seems inevitable. But time, not to mention the next World Cup cycle, waits for no one, and 2011 is shaping up to be an important year for soccer in the U.S.

In 2007, the U.S. men's national team created some priceless momentum by winning the Gold Cup. U.S. manager Bob Bradley will try to duplicate that feat next summer while reshaping a squad that has some considerable holes to fill in its lineup.

The coming year is vital in other ways as well. Both the men's U-20 team and the women's national team will be vying for world titles. And MLS faces some developments and decisions that will be critical to its future.

With that in mind, here are the key storylines to follow in the U.S. as 2011 unfolds.

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