Former U.S. men’s national team boss and current New England Revolution manager Bruce Arena says that the idea of the U.S. winning a World Cup any time soon is “stupid talk” in the wake of the team’s 2018 World Cup faillings.
After taking over from Jurgen Klinsmann after a disastrous start to World Cup qualifiers, Arena was unable to guide the U.S. to the World Cup in 2018 after a now-infamous collapse against Trinidad & Tobago.
With players like Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Sergino Dest featuring for massive European clubs, there is optimism that the USMNT could be a contender in 2022 and 2026, but Arena believes that optimism is a bit premature.
What did Arena have to say?
“That’s stupid talk. You’re talking about winning a World Cup now?” Arena told Extratime. “We didn’t qualify [in 2018] and now we’re going to win the World Cup?
“I do think the way the sport has grown in our country, the young players we have that when we play at home in 2026 — and hopefully we have a good draw and all that — that the U.S. will have a very competitive team in 2026.
“The goal in the short term should be to qualify for the next World Cup.”
Cause for optimism
While the famously-direct Arena isn’t jumping the gun with the current group of players, there is reason for optimism with the USMNT.
Pulisic, McKennie and Dest are playing at some of the world’s biggest clubs, and they’re not alone at that level.
Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna, RB Leipzig’s Tyler Adams and Lille’s Timothy Weah are competing at the highest level while Bryan Reynolds and Konrad de la Fuente are on the verge of the first-team at Roma and Barcelona, respectively.
Chris Richard, on the books at Bayern but on loan at Hoffenheim currently, was the latest young USMNT star to state his hopes for the future as he recently said he and his teammates want to be the first Americans to claim a men’s World Cup.
He’s been joined by fullback Reggie Cannon, who backed the U.S. to lift international trophies in the coming years, and Pulisic, who said there is “no ceiling” for this current group.
However, the USMNT’s players aren’t the only ones bullish on the team’s future, as former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has also noticed a change in American soccer.