US coach resigns after failed World Cup qualification race
Bruce Arena, called upon last November to replace Jurgen Klinsmann as coach of the United States, resigned yesterday, three days after the Americans failed to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia.
The 66-year-old Arena, who guided the US team into the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals and also coached the squad into the 2006 World Cup, said failing to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1986 was a “major setback.”
“Questions rightly should be asked about how we can improve,” Arena said in a statement. “No doubt this process already has started and will continue so that US Soccer can progress.”
The Americans lost 2-1 Tuesday at Trinidad and Tobago in the final match of North American (CONCACAF) regional qualifying. Combined with victories by Honduras and Panama, it was enough to leave the US team fifth in the table and out of Russia.
Arena, 66, replaced German legend Klinsmann after the Americans opened with losses to Mexico and Costa Rica. The US team was third in the table entering the final match but struggled against an already-eliminated Caribbean side.
“It is the greatest privilege for any coach to manage their country’s national team and as I leave that role today, I am honoured and grateful to have had that opportunity twice in my career,” Arena said.
“When I took the job last November, I knew there was a great challenge ahead, probably more than most people could appreciate. 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.”
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