Arena quits as US men's coach after missing World Cup

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October 14, 2017
United States coach Bruce Arena.

NEW YORK, United States (AP):

Bruce Arena resigned as US men's national team coach yesterday, three days after the Americans failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

The US Soccer Federation (USSF) said that it would announce within 10 days, an interim coach for planned exhibition games next month.

"There's no point in me being around," Arena said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press. "I'm not going to be around for the next cycle. The only thing I regret, obviously, is not having a cycle with the team, because you need more time than 10 months with a team. But I knew that in advance of it, so I'm responsible for it."

USSF President Sunil Gulati, speaking during a telephone news conference, said he did not plan to resign. He said it was not the right time to talk about whether he will seek a fourth four-year term during the federation's annual meeting from February 8-11, but did say in recent weeks that he had sent letters to people seeking to be nominated.

"This is a big shock to the system. We understand that. We understand how much frustration, anger, disappointment, hurt there is," he said.

Gulati said the federation held a board meeting on Thursday night and will seek "outside expertise" as it evaluates what went wrong.

"We'll look at everything, from our player development programmes, to our coaching, to our refereeing to our facilities, to the pay-to-play model, to the role of education and universities," he said. "Where we need to make major changes, we'll do that. Where we need to make incremental changes, we'll do that. We'll take our time with that, and unfortunately, we have the luxury of time before we have competitive games again with the senior team."

Arena, 66, coached the US from 1998-2006, including a trip to the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals in 2002, the best American finish since the first tournament in 1930.

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