Arena resigns as manager of US men's team

Oct 13, 2017 - 4:32 PM Bruce Arena has resigned as manager of the US men's national team after failing to qualify the squad for the World Cup finals in Russia next year.

The football world was left stunned on Tuesday when the United States, needing an away win or draw at bottom of the group Trinidad and Tobago to clinch one of the CONCACAF region's three automatic berths, suffered a humiliating 2-1 defeat.

The loss, coupled by wins from Panama and Honduras, meant that the United States have failed to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

"It is the greatest privilege for any coach to manage their country's national team, and as I leave that role today, I am honoured and grateful to have had that opportunity twice in my career," Arena said in a statement released by the US Soccer Federation.

"This certainly is a major setback for the senior men's national team program and questions rightly should be asked about how we can improve."

While Arena's announcement was sudden it was not unexpected, coming on the heels of what is being viewed as the worst calamity in US soccer history.

It marked an inglorious end to Arena's second stint as manager of the national team.

Considered by many to be American soccer's greatest coach of all time, Arena's previous tenure with the US team included a run to the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup, the country's best result in the tournament.

Under his stewardship, the team shot to fourth from 19th in the FIFA world rankings but Arena's contract was not renewed after a first-round exit from the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

After the United States got the final round of qualifying in the North American and Caribbean region off to a horrific start under Jurgen Klinsmann losing the first two matches, the German was sacked and Arena brought in to rescue the Russia bid.

The 66-year-old seemed poised to accomplish that goal, needing only a draw against winless Trinidad and Tobago. However, two first half goals for the hosts sank Arena's men.

Defeat meant the US also missed out on a play-off place, which would have pitted them against Australia next month for a spot in the finals.

"Obviously the biggest disappointment is for our fans," added Arena. "While this is a difficult time, I maintain a fierce belief that we are heading in the right direction."

Source: AAP

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