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FIFA cancels men’s U-17, U-20 World Cups

Another casualty to the pandemic.

Stadium for the U-20 World Cup in Indonesia. Photo by: Asep Solihin / INA Photo Agency/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The calendar for 2021 is easing up a bit, but for the wrong reasons. According to Associated Press Global Sports Correspondent Rob Harris, FIFA has decided to cancel the 2021 men’s U-17 World Cup, scheduled to take place in Peru, and the 2021 men’s U-20 World Cup, set to be contested in Indonesia, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Those nations will host the respective tournaments in 2023.

While this lightens up the load for the United States U-17 and U-20 national team player pools, it’s surely a disappointment for both teams as they looked to possess teams that could be prime contenders. The U-20s have reached the quarterfinals in the previous 3 U-20 World Cups and, with a much improved group of players, had dreams of pushing to compete for the title.

The U-17 national team had competed in the last 3 U-17 World Cups, reaching the quarterfinals in 2017. Next year, with the number of young players coming up through the ranks in Major League Soccer and in Europe, a promising crop would have had an opportunity to improve on the team’s previous performances. That will be put on hold for 2 years.

The men’s U-17s and U-20s join the women’s youth teams in being sidelined once again in 2021. The women’s editions of the U-17 and U-20 World Cups were postponed last month. It will set up 2023 to be a very important year for the youth national teams.