The United States are aiming for widespread improvements before their home Los Angeles 2028 Olympics ©Getty Images

USA Taekwondo has announced plans to launch regional and state teams in 2020.

The governing body hope to increase opportunities for athletes and coaches and provide a clearer pathway through to international level.

Eight regions have been created in the United States - each with their own head coach who will be tasked with running programmes and services such as athlete development and talent ID camps.

New inter-regional and inter-state competitions will also be held.

"The days of 'national team or bust' are over," said USA Taekwondo executive director Steve McNally.

"The new structure provides multiple levels of representative opportunities, for both athletes and coaches, and will provide a clear path for improvement and progression for those who fall a little short of making Team USA in any given year. 

"Rather than abandoning them, as perhaps happened in the past, USA Taekwondo will now provide more opportunities to train at a world class level and compete in high quality competition against some of the best athletes from around the US, all with the aim of being ready next time."

Selection for the regional and state teams will mirror the process for the national team, and be based on the country's rankings.

An athlete may only be on one of the national, regional or state teams.

"Along the way the achievement of becoming a state or even national champion has become devalued in taekwondo, and that should never have happened," McNally added.

The United States has been divided into eight different regions ©USA Taekwondo
The United States has been divided into eight different regions ©USA Taekwondo

"Being the best in your area, or representing your region or state in your sport should be a source of great pride, as it is in many other sports. 

"These programmes are designed to rebuild that as much and as quickly as possible.

"With state, regional and national teams being underpinned by the Athlete Academy we will be able to help develop and celebrate many more amazing athletes, and build the depth that we need to make continual performance gains and, ultimately, truly dominate in '28 at the LA Olympic Games."

High performance director May Spence added: "We are really excited about this programme, as we need to put just as much focus on the coaches as the athletes if we are to be successful. 

"A divided country is much more likely to fail, and we will be tasking these coaches with the job of helping us to unify the factions, representing and inspiring the other coaches in their regions, presenting innovative thinking to the National Office and, most importantly, playing a major role in putting the US back on the right path to success in 2020 and beyond. 

"If we all work together we can quickly become an unstoppable force."