First time since 1986, the United States won’t participate in the World Cup. Although the USMNT needed just one point entering the last game of CONCACAF qualifiers versus already eliminated Trinidad and Tobago, they suffered a 2-1 defeat. According to former USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann failure, to qualify for World Cup has set back the soccer in the U.S. for “several years.”
“It’s been set back by several years,” – said Klinsmann to German’s Kicker. “That was a huge disappointment. The qualification really was never in doubt, but then the lads had a blackout versus Trinidad and Tobago. They only needed a point, were too sure of that and underestimated that final match.“
Still, Klinsmann said that soccer in the United States is still in good shape despite the need to “catch up on” lots of things.
“Sure, there are a lot of things to catch up on: in the youth academies, in the universities, in cross-linking the pieces,” – he said. “But MLS is stable after 20 years. It has role-model character. It has a backbone, mostly thanks to [league co-founder] Phil Anschutz. He kept things together when they could have fallen apart.By now, MLS has caught up in the infrastructure. What happened in U.S. soccer in the past 20 years, that is a bit like a fairy tale. It still needs patience, but the league’s getting stronger with every year.“
After stints with Germany and Bayern Munich, Jurgen Klinsmann was appointed USMNT’s head coach in 2011. He successfully led the team to 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where they were eliminated in the round of 16 in a close match versus Belgium. Klinsmann was fired in 2016 after USMNT opened the final round of CONCACAF qualifiers for 2018 World Cup in Russia with two defeats. LA Galaxy’s Bruce Arena stepped in as his replacement.