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.
The announcement of Arena's decision
came in the form of a press release. Later in the morning, Sunil Gulati
held a media conference at which he said he would 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.
“When I took the job last November," he said, "I knew there was a great challenge ahead, 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
The USA had a 10-2-6 record in 2017 under Arena. It was unbeaten until September. A point in either of the two games it lost -- 2-0 at home to Costa Rica in
September and 2-1 to Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday -- 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. men's history with a 81-32-35 record. He also led the University of Virginia to five national championships and D.C. United and the LA Galaxy to a combined five MLS Cups.
His highs with the USA were beating Mexico, 2-0, to reach the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup and three Gold Cup titles (2002, 2005 and 2017). Until Tuesday night, the low was exiting
the 2006 World Cup -- the first modern World Cup with extensive U.S. media coverage and fan interest -- with one point in three games.
“I don't know what the future holds for me,"
he said, "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.”