October 22, 2017

Bruce Arena Has No Interest in Overseeing Another World Cup Cycle

13 October 2017, 09:36 | Henrietta Morgan

Getty Images

Getty Images

Let that sink in for a moment. Arena, however, does not think the U.S. Soccer Federation should be held accountable for player development, but that the responsibility falls on domestic clubs.

When soccer holds its world's fair in Russian Federation next June, the American pavilion will be glaringly absent.

The federation has scheduled a conference call with media for Friday morning in which U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati will discuss the failure to qualify for Russia 2018, with Arena's future an inevitable topic. Just ask Chile or the Netherlands. As will both Iran and South Korea, assuming they still exist next year. He was wrong, and both needed to go. The discussion after Brazil 2014 was, 'Can we beat the Colombias and the Belgiums and the Argentinas of the world?' In the unlikely event the usa might suffer what raters deemed would constitute the "worst loss in USMNT history", they'd still advance as long as both Panama and Honduras didn't beat the top two teams already qualified - Costa Rica and Mexico. All three outcomes were considered highly unlikely ahead of time.

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"The US (men's team) has never come close to achieving global prominence as it should, given our country's size, resources and huge pool of athletic talent". As Klinsmann pointed out often, MLS talent can not carry the national team. Unlike the US Women's National Team, which seems to produce new, young stars on a regular basis, the US men have had to rely on aging veterans for too long to get the job done. But they are 34 and 38, respectively, old for soccer players, and as they've aged, they've lost a step. The current US team has many players of immigrant backgrounds, including the star Haitian-American forward Jozy Altidore. That's not enough. CONCACAF has gotten stronger, partly because some of its best players now sharpen their skills in Major League Soccer. The U.S. men have been inconsistent for quite some time. "But we've got a lot of pieces in place that we think are very good and have been coming along". Torches are routinely passed from generation to generation in soccer, and sometimes the process is painful. Sunil Gulati, head of the USSF since 2006, thought the man who led the Americans to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals could lead them back this year.

"Obviously, I have no interest in going on a four-year cycle right now", Arena told the Post. His latest teams looked mostly flat and lacking in a sense of urgency on the field. Football | The Guardian Amazing how one of the two best players on the planet can singlehandedly haul his country to the World Cup. We'll look at everything, "Gulati said".

Part of the reason for that is good news, actually. The television audiences for professional games in the English Premier League, the Spanish leagues and the Mexican league are all on the rise. U.S. Soccer claims to be all grown up now, brags about its league and its development academies, so it deserves the same skewering the world's other teams would get if they got tossed from World Cup contention by a 99th-ranked team that was 0-1-8 going into the do-or-die match. In fact, Atlanta United is probably the best example of all given the systematic way in which they've been built and how quickly they've been able to see success. Román Torres, a defender for the Seattle Sounders in MLS.

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As my Herald colleague David Neal said, "The World Cup without the like going to the prom by yourself".

That has nothing to do with bad luck. It takes skill and creativity, and that is more likely to be developed early in pickup games than in the hyper-organized, result-crazed world of youth soccer.

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