Arena quits; Gulati does not

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 night.

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.

The 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 not resign.

“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.”
6 comments about "Arena quits; Gulati does not".
  1. R2 Dad, October 13, 2017 at 2:18 p.m.

    "The sport is in a very, very different place than it was 10 years ago or 30 years ago, when I first got involved.” Sunil just explained why he is no longer the guy to lead us forward--the game has passed him by. Seems the US prefers stability to progress. I'm forecasting torches and pitchforks whereever Sunil shows his face. This will not end well for senor Gulati.

  2. Julio Moreira, October 13, 2017 at 6:05 p.m.

    Now is time for Sunil to go back to his profession, and someone please remind him that the soccer ball is round and that is eleven players with a uniform agains other eleven in a different color uniform, perhaps he’ll finish his chaotic presidency knowing the basics of the game. Keep in mind that he was appointed not elected by his boss, former USSF Head, Rosenberg (10 million dollar man)

  3. cisco martinez, October 13, 2017 at 6:36 p.m.

    Sunil gulati is a disgrace to US Soccer. He fired Bradley whom for better or for worst was a decent coach, he brought in Klinsmann whom ruined US Soccer by not qualifying for the Olympics and not developing our players, and brought in Arena to fix all of the mess that he made and was unfrtunately unable to get us to the World Cup. anybody with that on there resume should be on the corner of a street selling hot dogs.

  4. Carolyn Haack, October 13, 2017 at 10:08 p.m.

    How in the heck do you accept full responsibility but not resign? Does he even understand what that means? 

  5. Tom G, October 14, 2017 at 8:55 a.m.

    Thank u for your contribution. Now goodbye . Time for new leadership . 

  6. Aldo Baietti, October 14, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

    Arena's position is admirable, and while coaches are taught to accept full responsibility, I do sympathize with the situation he found himself. Gulati, on the other hand has to go and bring up in someone who knows soccer, meaning having gone through it as player and managed teams in the the US system.  Unless you have this insight, you cannot lead the sport for the US over the next decade. We have tons of talent at the youth level in this country and we burn them out before they even reach college. This country is so large that you almost have to divide it into 10 to 15 autonomous regions to ensure the talent is identified and nurtured early on. And there must be a much better collaborative arrangement with the college programs. Great players that are recruited but get lost because the teams or coaches suck. I never realized how bad college soccer was until my son went through the system.  Same for the level of the coaching talent. This is not the best way do develop our home grown talent.  

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