Bruce Arena has revealed in his new book that he almost took over the United States national team job from Jurgen Klinsmann six months before the German manager was eventually sacked.
Klinsmann was shown the exit door after a poor run of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying results in November 2016 but, according to his successor Arena, plans began to replace him six months earlier.
In his new book, What's Wrong With US? A Coach's Blunt Take on the State of American Soccer After a Lifetime on the Touchline, Arena wrote that he met with U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati and chief executive Dan Flynn in May 2016.
Per the Washington Post's Steven Goff, Arena explained the wheels were in motion for Klinsmann to be sacked, but then Flynn had to undergo a heart transplant:
"They said it was time for a change... [But] just after Sunil and Dan and I had a meeting to decide I'd be taking over the U.S. team, Dan got the call.
"I felt a little bad for Sunil. He wanted to make a change and replace Klinsmann, but he was nervous about pulling the trigger. The timing was already going to be awkward, with Copa America [Centenario] coming up in June. Now Dan was gone for two months. It didn't feel right to move ahead at that time. ... Events had already been set in motion, though."
Klinsmann took over the U.S. men's national team job in 2011 and oversaw an admirable run to the last 16 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
However, results subsequently deteriorated, and his tenure was finally brought to an end after defeats to Mexico and Costa Rica in the opening two matches of CONCACAF's Hexagonal qualifying stage.
Arena took over for his second spell as U.S. manager having enjoyed a successful eight-year tenure with L.A. Galaxy.
He initially oversaw a bump in results as the USMNT earned 12 points from their next seven qualifiers, meaning just a point from their final match against Trinidad and Tobago would be enough to book their spot at Russia 2018.
Arena's side were not up to the task, though, and they were downed 2-1 away in Couva in October, leading the 66-year-old to vacate his post.