Ex-Everton star Donovan provides message to USMNT following failure

US Men's Soccer Is Destined To Be Great

This is not to dismiss any of American soccer's very real problems.

"It's a dark day", Donovan, who recently retired from the sport, said in a phone interview.

When the United States lost 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago in a World Cup soccer qualifying match Tuesday, it sent shockwaves through the soccer community in America.

Donovan, who last played for the national team in 2014, amassed 57 goals and 58 assists (both team records) in an worldwide career that spanned 157 appearances and included three World Cups before his surprising omission from the 2014 tournament by Jurgen Klinsmann, then the team's coach. Their options have been limited by the national program's struggles to develop anything resembling a next generation to supplant mainstays such as Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Tim Howard. It had been 40 years since the United States had qualified. An increasingly sturdy domestic league, M.L.S., now in its 23rd season, was expected to gradually fortify the United States men's player pool.

He won two-straight La Liga titles from 2014-2016, three straight Copa del Reys from 2014-2017, the 2014-15 UEFA Champions League, a UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup in 2015, and a Spanish Super Cup in 2016. Wood and Yedlin are both 24; Pulisic, of course, is the 19-year-old wunderkind who moved to Germany as a 16-year-old to join perennial Bundesliga power Borussia Dortmund and ensure that his development would take place in a soccer incubator of unquestioned and elevated reliability.

"Look at the two goals we conceded", Arena said. But it's something that needs to be fixed. All of that has to get better, but the infrastructure now for player development in the United States is set. "So, yes, it's absolutely surprising things seemed to have regressed at the highest end of the game".

The former player knows the inner-workings of the US system and has played an important role in developing some of the country's top players in the past between the national team academy and even building his own academy based out of New Jersey (NJSA 04).

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It's the first time since 1986 that the team did not qualify for the largest tournament in all of sports and is about to bring sweeping changes to the program. Recently, overall youth participation levels in soccer slid below those marked in 1994 when the country was captivated by the usa women's World Cup that turned Mia Hamm into a celebrity.

Dismay with Gulati has been mounting for years, despite his organization's various financial flourishes and its strong position to host the 2026 World Cup in tandem with Mexico and Canada.

Arena took over the team a year ago after Jürgen Klinsmann was sacked following a run of poor results.

"The most disturbing part for me was the lack of urgency displayed", Donovan said on The Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday. That's from a nation in which soccer is far from the most popular sport. But for me sitting on the bench, watching the guys not really getting stuck in and that I didn't feel that proper energy out on the field - we were kind of complacent. Despite almost 12 million kids playing soccer in this country every year, we still haven't come close to competing with the Brazils, Argentinas, Germanys, Spains and Italys of the world. If the US misses out at that point, it might as well give up. "It's not about that".

Supposedly U.S. Soccer's launch of the academy league in which top young players got together and trained under top coaches was going to change things. Ramos is widely-considered one of the top midfielders in the USMNT's history, while playing a role in two World Cups (the first of which came with Vermes in 1990). Such a turnaround is unimaginable for most American fans.

US men's national soccer team coach Bruce Arena, center, gestures during a practice session Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, in Carson, Calif.

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