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USA prepares for Copa America invite, to name coach

LOS ANGELES -- The United States will receive a formal invitation to Copa America within 24 hours and will decide by the end of the month whether to play in South America's nations championship, U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said Monday.

Gulati, speaking at the ninth annual Honda Symposium, also said he has four to five serious candidates for the U.S. national team coaching job, and that announcement should be made within 30-to-60 days.

"We were looking to name a coach in the fall, and I think that is still on target," Gulati said. "Sometime in the November period we expect to name a coach."

Gulati decided not to renew manager Bruce Arena's contract, which expires at the end of the year, after the United States was eliminated in the first round of the World Cup in June. Arena has since taken over the New York Red Bulls.

The candidates for the job are based both in the United States and overseas, Gulati said. Published reports have mentioned that among the candidates are former German national team manager Juergen Klinsmann, former Argentine national coach Jose Pekerman, former English national team manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, D.C. United coach Peter Nowak and Los Angeles Galaxy coach Frank Yallop.

Gulati said he has discussed playing in the Copa America with each of the candidates.

The United States twice before played in the Copa America, in 1993 and 1995. It has avoided the tournament since the 1996 start of Major League Soccer, which has a season that runs from April to November.

The CONCACAF Gold Cup is set for June 6-24, with the Copa America scheduled for June 26-July 15 in Venezuela.