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2. WORLD CUP: Bruce's Post-Mortem
June 23rd, 2006 4:40PM
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A day the U.S. was eliminated from the World Cup, U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena reflected on the USA's first-round exit.
"Despite all calls, all the circumstances over all three games and what have you," Arena said in Hamburg, "we weren't good enough."
Arena said the USA must develop more quality players if it is to compete on the world stage -- and his answer to narowing the talent gap did not involve MLS.
"The way for us to get our players to get better, we do need to get more of our younger talented players in Europe," he said. "We need them in a year-round soccer environment, we need them playing in more intense games to help develop them, mentally as well as soccer-wise."
He said the game must be developed from the bottom up, not the top down, and MLS must take an important role in developing players and not wait for them to arrive from college.
He said the USA wouldn't narrow the gap in only four years.
"We have a uniqueness about our our country that's differnt from the rest of the world: our size, our culture, oru time zones, out climates," he said. "We have a lot of barriers."
Without saying the USA would have done any better in another group, Arena said FIFA should rethink how it conducts a draw, suggesting that teams be seeded 1-32.
"They can make a trip from FIFA to Indianapolis, Ind.," he suggested," and talk to the NCAA on how have a tournament with brackets and a seeding."
Arena didn't comment on his future plans, but he said he 's enjoyed his eight-year run as U.S. national team coach.
"It's all been good to me," he said.
He said he'd return home to Virginia from Germany to watch the rest of the World Cup on television and to "lose a bunch of golf balls and have a good old time."

To hear U.S. Soccer's podcast of Burce Arena's post-mortem:
http://podcast.ussoccer.com/June23_Press_Conference.mp3



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