As expected, Bruce Arena stepped down as U.S. men’s national team on Friday following its failure to qualify for the World Cup in Russia with its 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday
But Sunil Gulati
did not resign as U.S. Soccer president though he said he has made no decision on whether to seek a fourth and last term in 2018.
announcement of Arena's decision came in the form of a press release. Gulati spoke to the media on a conference call for 45 minutes.
“When I took the job, I knew there was a great
challenge ahead, probably more than most people could appreciate,” Arena said in a statement. “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 had a 10-2-6 record in 2017 under Arena. It was unbeaten until September
when it lost to Costa Rica, 2-0. A point in either of the two games it lost would have been enough to send the USA to the World Cup.
Arena, who coached the USA to the 2002 and 2006
World Cups, is the winningest coach in U.S. history with a 81-32-35 record.
Gulati said not qualifying was not acceptable and accepted full responsibility for the elimination but he would
“We’ll look at everything,” he said. “And 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."
Asked why he felt he should remain in charge, Gulati referenced among other things the current bid to host the 2026 World Cup
that will be decided by the FIFA Congress in June 2018. He is the chairman of the bid committee.
More specifically, he said, "Because of where the sport is now, and the role I played in
it. And the role I think I can play going forward. The sport is in a very, very different place than it was 10 years ago or 30 years ago, when I first got involved.”