After possibly the most humiliating day in American soccer history, it seemed like only a matter of time before the housecleaning at U.S. Soccer began. Well, the day has come. Bruce Arena is officially out as Head Coach of the United States men’s national team after the 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago ensured the program would miss a senior men’s World Cup for the first time since 1986.
This ends the second stint for Arena as coach of the U.S. men’s team. His first one saw possibly the greatest moment in the program’s history, a quarterfinal run in the 2002 World Cup. He also was in charge of the less-than-stellar showing at the 2006 tournament in Germany where the U.S. bowed out, winless in the group stage.
“When I took the job last November, 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.” — Bruce Arena; via ussoccer.com
The 66-year-old Arena took over the job again at the beginning of 2017 after Jurgen Klinsmann was fired after beginning the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying with successive defeats to Mexico and Costa Rica. The U.S. lost just twice in 18 matches once Arena took the reins, but those two losses (Costa Rica, T&T) would cost them their World Cup lives.
Now the search for a new coach begins. Who will lead this program into the next cycle? Who will be tasked with getting the program back on track? Will it be a familiar face to U.S. Soccer? Will they go with someone from Europe or South America? They have nearly two years until their next competitive match takes place, so we may not know those answers right away.