United States men's national team manager Bruce Arena doesn't believe the United States will be a legitimate World Cup contender until 2026.
"I think 2026 will be the time where we are going to start talking about winning a World Cup, to be honest with you," he told Paul Tenorio of FourFourTwo.
Why 2026? The United States is hoping to be the event's host in a joint bid with Mexico and Canada, which would offer the Americans a potential advantage in front of their home fans.
But it also gives the burgeoning USMNT program more time to grow and develop many of the talented youngsters coming through the system, namely Borussia Dortmund star and 18-year-old Christian Pulisic, who potentially will be in the prime of his career in 2026.
There is also optimism around the program after Arena took over as manager for a second stint last November after the team had grown stale under former manager Jurgen Klinsmann.
Arena, who last managed the USMNT between 1998-2006, has led the team to a win and a draw in their past two World Cup qualifiers.
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