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Bruce Arena resigns after World Cup failure

Bruce Arena steps down as manager of United States men’s team after failure to qualify for World Cup

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United States manager Bruce Arena on Friday stepped down from his position as United States manager following the team’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Arena, who took over the reins of the national team for the second time in his career from Jurgen Klinsmann in November 2016, had the best win rate of any US manager with 71 victories from his 130 games between 1998 and 2006.

The Americans will not be participating in the World Cup for the first time since 1986 after finishing fifth in CONCACAF’s Hexagonal table losing 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago on the region’s final matchday as both Honduras and Panama moved ahead of them in the standings.

“It is the greatest privilege for any coach to manage their country’s National Team, and as I leave that role today I am honored and grateful to have had that opportunity twice in my career,” Arena, 66, said in a statement.

“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. 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. That 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. Obviously the biggest disappointment is for our fans.

“As a person involved in the sport for more than 40 years, to see how the level of support for soccer in the United States has grown is incredibly gratifying. I believe I speak for everyone involved in the game in thanking all of you for your passion and commitment, and I hope you maintain your steadfast support of U.S. Soccer.

“While this is a difficult moment, I maintain a fierce belief that we are heading in the right direction. I believe in the American player and the American coach, and with our combined efforts the future remains bright.

“I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I can say this from the bottom of my heart: from the high of reaching the Quarterfinal of the 2002 World Cup to the low of a few days ago, I have appreciated every minute of being a part of this program.”

 

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