Following the elimination of the U.S. Men’s National Team in World Cup Qualifying, the New York Red Bulls players and staff sounded off on Tuesday’s result.
“It’s very humbling and I think that we all have to do a lot of deep reflection on where we are in this country with our sport,” head coach Jesse Marsch said. “It hurts and thinking about watching the World Cup next year not being in it, it’s an incredible thought because we’ve all just thought of it as a foregone conclusion, but I do think we need to humble ourselves to the fact that we’ve got work to do.”
For U.S. international Luis Robles, who played for the national team in January, the USMNT’s exclusion from the World Cup comes as a surprise.
“I was shocked…I woke up this morning and told my wife it felt like a bad dream, but the fact is we’re not going to the World Cup,” Robles said. “It’s hard to fully grasp the meaning of missing a World Cup right now, but when summer comes and teams are preparing and you see all the excitement that comes with it, it’s going to be tough to swallow the fact that we’re not there.”
Sean Davis, a former U.S. youth international as a member of the U.S. residency program at multiple age levels, said he felt for the players in a “difficult moment,” but called for this to become a time of reflection.
“It’s a time to reflect and really take a hard look in the mirror, and that’s for everyone involved,” Davis said. “It’s not just the players out there, it’s not just the coaching staff out there, but soccer as a whole in this country and it’s a time for us to really reflect and look within ourselves to find ways to improve our situation and our standing within the world of soccer.
“I know we can do it and I think that we’re going to look back at this moment as a crucial moment in the development of soccer in this country.”
Marsch, who served as an assistant coach for the USMNT under Bob Bradley from 2010-11, said if he could change one thing, it would be to make sure, “we’re all working together and supporting each other to be successful.”
“I think we need to get as many people that are involved who are uniters, not dividers,” Marsch said. “When you’re there, you understand the responsibility of what it means to the sport, what that team means to the sport and somehow now we’ve got to get to a point as a country that we’re all fully behind the national team and behind the leaders in the sport.”