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Wait, Why Isn't the US Playing in the World Cup?

Wait, Why Isn't the US Playing in the World Cup?

By    |   Friday, 15 June 2018 10:53 AM

Why isn't the U.S. playing in the World Cup?

While the world's best soccer teams have gathered in Russia for the globe's best known single sporting event, the American team is sitting at home simply because they did not qualify for it after reaching the Round of 16 in Brazil in 2014.

Nearly all of the teams participating in the World Cup have to win their way in through regional qualifying tournaments. For the U.S. soccer team, they had to win one of the top three spots in the North America, Central American and Caribbean region, CBS Sports noted.

If a team does not capture one of those spots in the regional tournament, it can still get in during a fourth-place play tourney against other regional fourth-place teams.

Out of those four chances to qualify, the U.S. failed to win any of those spots, finishing fifth in the six-team CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) final round-robin standings with 3 wins, 4 losses and 3 draws.

The qualifying tournament started in 2016, but by last fall the U.S. was hanging on to fourth place in CONCACAF with a 2-3-3 record. The 4-0 win over Panama on Oct. 6, put the Americans in the driver's seat to qualify, only needing a tie against last place Trinidad and Tobago to qualify, CBS Sports said.

But in what has become one of the most embarrassing losses in U.S. soccer history, the Americans lost to Trinidad and Tobago, which had only won one game in CONCACAF up to that point, 2-1 on Oct. 10, dropping the U.S. all the way to fifth place in the qualifying tournament, according to CBS Sports.

Days later, Bruce Arena resigned as the U.S. men's national soccer coach.

"When I took the job last November, I knew there was a great challenge ahead, probably more than most people could appreciate," Arena said in his statement then. "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."

Despite the embarrassment, new U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro is pointing to 2026 – when Canada, Mexico, and the United States will share hosting the World Cup – to turn American soccer fortunes around, National Public Radio noted.

"We believe this event (the 2026 World Cup) will become a lightning rod," Cordeiro said Wednesday, per NPR. "It will become transformational for the sport as kids that're now 8, 10, 12 years old can all dream of potentially playing for a national team."

"I make the argument, that we are a vast, powerful, wealthy nation, but we have haves and have-nots. And our disenfranchised are underserved, and in many ways these are the people with whom the sport resonates most. We don't have enough of them – at 3.5, 4 million registered kids (in U.S. Soccer), we believe there are many, many more who could be playing with us."

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While the world's best soccer teams have gathered in Russia for the 2018 World Cup, the U.S. team did not qualify for the event.
us, world cup, qualify, tournament
Friday, 15 June 2018 10:53 AM
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