Bruce Arena is the first to admit that there’s work to be done in the present as the U.S. Men’s National Team looks to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. However, given all of the recent headlines, the USMNT head coach is looking ahead a bit to what could be a defining moment in U.S. Soccer.
On Monday, the United States, Mexico and Canada announced that the three have submitted a bid to host the 2026 World Cup. In the wake of that announcement, Arena says he believes the U.S. could be a “big player” by that time while stating his belief that the U.S. could be a contender to win the whole thing.
“In 1994 I think the U.S. was looked at as this emerging frontier in the game and FIFA wanted to bring the U.S. into the world’s game,” Arena said on Thursday, according to Goal USA. “I think in 2026 we’re going to be fully emerged in the game and a big player. I think 2026 will be the time where we’re going to start talking about winning a World Cup, to be honest with you.
“It wasn’t going to be in 1994, it wasn’t going to be in 2010, but 2026 could be our time. I think that’s the difference.”
Arena clarified that his comments were in the context of “if the U.S. winds up hosting the 2026 World Cup.” The USA-Mexico-Canada bid still has to be chosen as host for the 2026 World Cup. At present, the joint bid appears to be the frontrunner.