The US missed out on qualification for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 when they lost to Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday night, and Arena said he is unlikely to lead the team in their attempt to reach the 2022 tournament.
“Obviously, I have no interest in going on a four-year cycle right now,” Arena told the Post. “I’ll do whatever is right. That is the approach I am going to take.”
Arena took over the team last year after Jürgen Klinsmann was fired following a run of poor results. But Arena failed to improve US fortunes and they suffered dismal losses to Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago as they missed out on qualification.
Arena said his team had been unlucky against Trinidad & Tobago but conceded the fault ultimately lay with the team he leads. “Look at the two goals we conceded: how bizarre,” he said. “Does it get any more bizarre than that? So you are down two goals, you get a goal early in the second half and there’s plenty of time to get a second goal. We had our chances. But what can you say? Even despite conceding those two bizarre goals, we still positioned ourselves to get out of there with a point. I can’t look anywhere else except inside our team.”
US Soccer have called a press conference for Friday morning, leading to speculation that Arena or the organization’s president, Sunil Gulati, may stand down. There have also been calls for the federation to address the way it develops young players after the national team were outclassed by teams with inferior resources and revenue.
But Arena, who had a long and distinguished career as a domestic coach in the US, said clubs need to do a better job of nurturing players. “Why do people think US Soccer is in charge of player development? Players play in clubs,” said Arena, who won five MLS Cups during spells in charge of DC United and LA Galaxy. “Why is that US Soccer’s responsibility? They support the clubs in this country, they support player development, but that’s not their responsibility.
“They are a governing body that runs our national team programs. They have coaching education. All of that has to get better, but the infrastructure now for player development in the United States is set. There will be more players developed over the years. Every MLS club has an academy program. Everyone has done a lot of leg work and invested a lot of money to get it going.”
This article was written by Guardian sport, for theguardian.com on Thursday 12th October 2017 23.18 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010