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Bruce Arena resigns as US soccer coach

Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Soccer

Moments after his U.S. national team was knocked out of the World Cup earlier this week, coach Bruce Arena was asked about his future.

"I think I have a good future," he said. "I don't know what I'm going to be doing, but whatever I'm doing, I think it's going to be good."

On Friday, Arena eliminated coaching the national team from the list of possibilities, becoming the first casualty of the failed U.S. bid to qualify for next summer's World Cup when he resigned.

"When I took the job, I knew there was a great challenge ahead, probably more than most people could appreciate," Arena, the first U.S. coach to miss the World Cup in a generation, said in a statement. "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."

Arena steps down as the winningest coach in U.S. history at 81-32-35. He is also the only man to coach the U.S. in two World Cups, reaching the quarterfinals in 2002.

In a contentious 40-minute conference call that began an hour after Arena's anticipated departure, Sunil Gulati, president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, said he shared responsibility for the World Cup campaign. Missing the tournament for the first time since 1986 was a wake-up call for the entire program, and Gulati promised additional changes, though he was woefully short on specifics.

"We'll look at everything," he said. "And where we need to make major changes, we'll do that. Where we need to make incremental changes, we'll do that. We'll take our time with that.

"Not qualifying is not acceptable. "

However, Gulati said those changes would not include his resignation and said he remains undecided over whether he will stand for reelection to a fourth four-year term as USSF president in February, although he admitted he has reached out to people about nominating him.

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