US soccer to hire caretaker manager in “next 7-10 days” for November games

US Soccer will name a caretaker head coach for the US men’s national team in the “next 7-10 days,” federation president Sunil Gulati told reporters in a conference call on Friday.

Bruce Arena resigned as USMNT head coach on Friday morning after failing to lead the team to the 2018 World Cup earlier this week. It’s the first World Cup the US has missed since 1986.

Gulati said that the USMNT will play at least “one game, likely two” in the November FIFA window. The confirmed friendly will be in Europe, and the potential second match will likely also occur there.

US Soccer will take their time with their search for a full-time replacement for Arena. Gulati wasn’t giving many hints as to what the federation will look for in their new head coach, but did say that they won’t feel any pressure to have anyone in place in the next six months.

“We’ve got two different processes: One is a short-term process about who’s going to take the team in November and then a longer review of the program and decisions about long-term planning for the coach,” he said. “We don’t need a long-term four-year commitment to a coach by February or March. I’m not saying that won’t happen, but it’s not necessary. We need someone to guide the team in November and that’s a much easier, straightforward decision because it’s a short-term situation.”

Gulati was also clear that US Soccer is planning on conducting a full review of the federation’s technical processes. He said they’ll likely bring in a consulting firm to help with their assessment.

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“We’re going to look at everything we do on the technical side” he said. “…This will obviously be a much deeper dive given that we haven’t qualified for the first time in 28 years. But we’ll look at everything from our player development program, to our coaching, to our refereeing, to the pay-to-play model, to the role of education and universities, all of those things.

“And where we need to make major changes we’ll do that, where we need to make incremental changes we’ll do that and we’ll take our time with that. … So, we will take a deep dive into that, probably get some external help so not to be insular in how we look at these things, but everything will be looked at. [Not] qualifying is not acceptable. It’s not acceptable to us, our leadership, our board and certainly to fans, players and everyone else involved in the game.” 

Gulati also said that the USMNT will play a full calendar of games in 2018, and that he anticipates that they’ll have matches during every FIFA window next year. He also indicated that it’s likely that the team will go up against World Cup participants in tune-up friendlies prior to next summer’s tournament. 

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