Arena: 'We didn't get the job done, and I accept responsibility'

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 responsibility.”

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.”
6 comments about "Arena: 'We didn't get the job done, and I accept responsibility'".
  1. Lonaka K, October 14, 2017 at 8:58 a.m.

    Bruce, Thank you and congratulations on all of your achievements.  I think if you had gotten the job before the start of qualification I truely believe the end result would have been different.  Go into retirement and enjoy your family and be a consultant to the next President of US Soccer.

  2. M S replied, October 14, 2017 at 11:04 a.m.

    Yes they might have gotten in world cup and then what? Another 4 years of patting ourselves for mediocrity? This needed to happen and couldnt have happened at a better time. I say botcott Mls games until they do whats right for development in Usa and not just whats good for their pockets. Pro/rel and pay Training Compensation. 
    If they dont then fully support the Nasl and the other leagues that have been vocal about instituting pro/rel. 
    Show your power with your dollar.

  3. Nalin Carney, October 14, 2017 at 10:08 a.m.

    Thank You Lona K,  I could not have said it better myself.

  4. Goal Goal, October 14, 2017 at 12:10 p.m.

    The responsibility for this debacle falls in the hands of US SOCCER. Period!  Arena took the job as a challenge and couldn't make it happen because of poor handling by US SOCCER via JK.  Poor coaching from both coaches but the players are an embarrassment particularly in the last game.  They can play better but why didn't they?  Look at other World Cup teams and the age of the players.  We continued to play with the same players we played with last time except for a few injections of new talent.  Go figure.  A comfort zone i guess. Bradley,Altidore, Howard should have cut a long time ago.  Dempsey too.  

  5. I.b Inyang, October 14, 2017 at 2:23 p.m.

    U. S Men's Soccer Team are experiencing normal process of becoming a Matured and Seasoned Team. Coach Bruce Arena has been a very Passionate Coach, Leader with a Fatherly presence and a Mentor to both Men and Boys in Team U. S. A Squad; for over some decades in my record...haha! 

    Lacing up for Russia Worldcup 2017 wasn't meant to be for Team USA; considering the, persisting, uncomfortable body gestures between the Host Country and Our Country, I personally feel like there is Devine Intervention at play, so let's make Peace With It!

    The U. S Soccer Admeinstration officials did execute on their mandate but the infield dynamics does have tendencies beyond any human control to put damaging Monkey Wrench, thereby messing stuff up!!

    Big Kudos to The President and All The Staff Members.

    Don't Quit but Regroup, Rebuild and Keep On Kicking...

  6. John Soares, October 14, 2017 at 8:38 p.m.

    JK was a desaster for USA soccer.... Bruce could not fix it in such a short period.
    Sometimes from big let downs comes "a better way" maybe this IS a new beggining.
    Still it will be tuff watching the WC without the USA.

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