The United States has begun the process of moving on after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia as head coach Bruce Arena announced his resignation on Friday.
“While this is a difficult time, 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 quarterfinals 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,” Arena said in a statement posted on the US Soccer website.
Arena took over in the middle of the USA’s attempt to make it’s 8th straight World Cup after the federation fired Jurgen Klinsmann early in the final round of qualifying.
“When I took the job last November, I knew there was a great challenge ahead,” Arena said. “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.”
The USA hasn’t missed a World Cup since 1986 and had it’s best finish in the world tournament under Arena with a quarterfinal appearance in 2002 before failing to get from the group stage in 2006 which ended Arena’s first tenure with the team.
The U.S. Soccer Federation has not announced where they will go from here finding a new coach to start preparing this team for future tournaments and qualifying for the 2022 World Cup which begins in November of 2019.
Sunil Gulati, the president of the US Soccer Federation, said shortly after Arena’s resignation that he does not plan to resign and would not rule out running for president again.