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USMNT coach Bruce Arena calls World Cup qualifying elimination 'a blemish'

13 October 2017

The failure in Trinidad may have unleashed raging anger at U.S. Soccer, but one can not deny that its launch of the Development Academy (DA) 10 years ago is starting to show results. We may just never be good at soccer.

The recent rise of American teens into professional soccer is unprecedented, and although we don't know how many will turn into top level players who prevent another World Cup qualifying debacle, it's an encouraging trend: MLS signing teens and foreign clubs courting American youngsters like never before.

I asked him back then when we would know the United States had arrived. On a broader level, they claim that Gulati hasn't done enough to make the top tiers of youth soccer more affordable, which affects the longstanding development issues.

"It's been interesting watching the reaction since the result [on Tuesday] - it is definitely much more of a country where people don't just accept that the USA qualifying is good, they think they should be qualifying", Eales said. But "pay to play" drives the development of boys in soccer. We have avid soccer fans and Atlanta is an example of that. It's not on Arena, it's not on Klinsmann, it's not on the United States Soccer Federation, it's all on the players.

But on Tuesday night, in the most important World Cup qualifier for the United States in decades, Arena started only three players under the age of 25: Christian Pulisic, Bobby Wood and DeAndre Yedlin.

He noted that in the 1970s, France failed to qualify for the World Cup tournament and that led to major investments by the government in national training academies as well as infrastructure for recreational sports throughout the country. That's from a nation in which soccer is far from the most popular sport. The average MLS attendance is at 21,692, a 40 per cent increase in the past 10 years.

He won two-straight La Liga titles from 2014-2016, three straight Copa del Reys from 2014-2017, the 2014-15 UEFA Champions League, a UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup in 2015, and a Spanish Super Cup in 2016. The veteran boss has managed both the Paraguayan and Argentine national teams during his coaching career, leading the former to the quarterfinals in 2010.

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And U.S. Soccer has continued to advocate numerous methods for which there is wide agreement on being valuable for player development at the early ages.

It's a brutal blow for the sport in America, which will miss the Cup for the first time since 1986.

Fandom is being helped by established MLS teams and new ones have rapidly garnered strong and devoted fans. "But one bad ending doesn't mean there hasn't been any progress".

"I watched the replay because our team had a match (Tuesday)", he said.

"I believe true soccer fans throughout the country understand crushing defeats are part of the game", said Stuart Crystal, president of The Crystal Agency and former VP of marketing and consumer products for Major League Soccer told SGB. All of the above-listed issues are hurdles to building a men's national team that can realistically compete to win a World Cup, but making the World Cup and winning the World Cup are two completely different things.

It may have turned out to be a longer-term project than we had wished, but not all the factors are under U.S. Soccer's control.

USMNT coach Bruce Arena calls World Cup qualifying elimination 'a blemish'