Bruce Arena Resigns as U.S. Men's National Team Coach
October 13, 2017
BRUCE ARENA stepped down today as head coach of the national team following a stunning failure to qualify for the World Cup after seven straight appearances at the game’s biggest event.
Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann last November after his predecessor lost the first two games of the Hexagonal. As most American soccer fans know, the former LA Galaxy coach was hired to be a short-term solution and had one goal: get the team to the World Cup. But he failed to achieve that and Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago is one of the most embarrassing and painful losses in program history.
The consequences are profound. Not only will the U.S. team not compete at the World Cup, it will lose out on the exposure and financial opportunity such an even provides. It now will not play in a competitive game for an astonishing 20 months, presumably for the 2019 Gold Cup which would likely start in June/July of that year.
“When I took the job last November, I knew there was a great challenge ahead, probably more than most people could appreciate,” Arena said in a statement. “Everyone involved in the program gave everything they had for the last 11 months and, in the end, we came up short. No excuses. We didn’t get the job done, and I accept responsibility.
“This certainly is a major setback for the senior Men’s National Team program, and questions rightly should be asked about how we can improve. No doubt this process already has started and will continue so that U.S. Soccer can progress. Having said that, it also is important to recognize the tremendous growth and accomplishments we have achieved over the past two decades in all areas, including player development, coaching education and a stable domestic professional league. This work is ongoing and despite the result in Trinidad, the sport is on the right path. By working together, I am confident soccer in this country will continue to grow in the years and decades ahead.”
In a conference call with reporters on Friday, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati addressed a number of topics on the program moving forward. He said that the U.S. national team would play at least one friendly—and maybe two—in Europe in November. He also said there would be a full slate of games in 2018 including playing at every international window and in the lead up to the World Cup.
Gulati also said US Soccer would probably look to external help in terms of creating a new internal structure and ideally he would like to hire a technical director.
There was no timetable to hiring the next U.S. national team head coach but an interim coach for November would most likely be named inside of the next week to 10 days.