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Gold Cup offers shot at World Cup spots

(AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The 23 players on the U.S. roster for next month's CONCACAF Gold Cup are mostly young and lack international experience. They need little reminding of what's at stake.

Past regional championships gave then-fringe players like Clint Dempsey, DaMarcus Beasley and Stuart Holden the chance to showcase their skills. With many of the national team mainstays given a break for this tournament, this is the time to impress.

"I don't think I have to make that point to them, I think they're well aware of that," coach Bruce Arena said Monday after the team's first practice at Lipscomb University. "A lot of things can happen coming out of the Gold Cup, especially when the World Cup is a year away. So this is an important tournament for the players."

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