Copa America U.S. Soccer takeoverGetty/GOAL

A New Era: Copa America kick-starts a revolution for U.S. soccer, a seismic shift that will change the game forever

This summer is the start of something transformational. A tidal wave is coming, and not just one. For years, fans of American soccer have been waiting for the sport to truly arrive. Over the next few years, we'll all find out whether it ever truly can, and will.

With the start of Copa America, U.S. soccer enters a New Era, and it's the most significant one yet. This dramatic multi-year stretch centers around the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which represents a seismic turning point. For a sport that is fighting to turn the "Big Four" in the American sporting landscape into the "Big Five," World Cups can manifest the memorable moments that energize a generation.

"A World Cup on home soil is the biggest thing that we'll probably do in our career," U.S. men's national team star Christian Pulisic said. "It's a special time for this sport in America."

But, while the 2026 World Cup may be the pinnacle, it's not the only high-point. Starting this summer, there are multiple global events coming stateside, each building momentum that should propel the game forward for American audiences and the broader U.S. soccer culture.

At the forefront of that growth? The U.S. men's and women's national teams, and starting this week on home soil, the USMNT specifically. Copa America and the World Cup will get fans in the door and get eyes on the product, but those eyes will need to be impressed by what they see. Beyond those two events, the US will also host major global tournaments such as the FIFA Club World Cup in 2025, and the Los Angeles Summer Olympics in 2028.

Over the next few years, the U.S. isn't just under pressure to perform, but to lead -- certainly in a hosting capacity, but especially on the field. And if it's going to happen for the USMNT, it has to come from this generation of American stars.

“It is a bigger role for all of us,” USMNT boss Gregg Berhalter told reporters. “We all share that responsibility. First off, representing the United States to the best of our ability, but then also letting people see who we are and letting people see who the players are, giving people access and really giving them something they can be proud of.”

Ahead of the Copa America, GOAL breaks down the upcoming challenge for the USMNT and what it all means for American soccer.

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