The U.S. was considered a lock to make it past this round as they only had to win one game.
After the loss, U.S. coach Bruce Arena, who took the job last November, resigned. This was Arena’s second time coaching the team after he was replaced in 2006. Arena returned earlier this season in attempt to right the ship after multiple ugly losses to open the Hex Qualifying Round of this year’s World Cup. Arena was not seen as long term solution to fix the problems that the team has.
Arena seemed to agree that he was not the solution to the team’s problems. “Everyone involved in the program gave everything they had for the last 11 months,” Arena says in regards to his resignation. “In the end, we came up short. No excuses. We didn’t get the job done, and I accept responsibility”
As the U.S. begins to look for a new coach, they may attempt to get someone with a European background to match the playing styles of the other countries around the world.
The U.S. roster has an aging core but with 19-year-old star Christian Pulisic, they have something to build around and a bright future ahead.
One of the reasons that the U.S. has a bright future in soccer is because soccer’s popularity in the United States has grown over the past decade as younger kids move away from sports like football and baseball.
According to the Huffington Post, among 12-to-17-year-olds, Major League Soccer (MLS) is now more popular than Major League Baseball (MLB). In fact, among that age group only basketball is more popular.
The U.S. is now able to develop great athletes into soccer players as more highly skilled athletes go to soccer at a younger ages. Kids that once would choose other sports over soccer are now choosing and playing soccer and are developing into future stars. We can see this shift in sports culture here at UHS where soccer is arguably the most successful sport and is gaining popularity with the student body.
UHS senior Magnus Parente believes younger kids are starting to move towards soccer because “Soccer is a really fun game and the new generation is discovering that soccer is a beautiful game and a lot of fun.”
As kids keep discovering the game of soccer in the U.S., the Men’s National Team should be set up long term for the future despite their current struggles now.