New England Soccer Today

Agudelo ‘Numb’ About WCQ Failure

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Juan Agudelo has worn the U.S. shirt more than a few times over the course of his seven-year international career, so the National Team’s failure to secure a World Cup spot last week certainly stings him more than most.

Following New England’s win over New York City FC on Sunday, the 24-year-old Revolution forward, who’s been capped 26 times with the senior team, spoke about his reaction to the stunning reality that the U.S. won’t field a team in Russia next summer.

“I’m still pretty numb about four years getting taken out of our careers,” Agudelo told NESoccerToday. “And there’s a domino effect because everybody’s affected, even the reporters here in the U.S. – it affects you guys, too.”

No doubt the National Team’s failure to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1986 has widespread implications for anyone with a professional stake in the National Team’s success. Indeed, whether its players, coaches, or media, a World Cup without the U.S. in the mix means the same thing: fewer opportunities for all.

Agudelo was called up for the final two qualifying matches against Panama and at Trinidad & Tobago, but did not dress in either. Nevertheless, he witnessed the anguish of his teammates, who could only shake their heads at the sudden and unexpected reality of not being able to go to Russia next summer.

“It has a major effect on all of us,” Agudelo said. “I don’t see how it benefited anybody at all. It hurts all of us. I think it hurt Christian (Pulisic) the most – he could’ve probably played in the World Cup and gotten signed by a huge team, which would’ve also brought more eyes to a bunch more players in the U.S. who strive to be on one of those big teams in Europe. So it’s pretty sad.”

Sad for all parties involved, no doubt. But Agudelo hopes the shock of missing out on the World Cup doesn’t lead to a knee-jerk overhaul of the system.

“I’m seeing a lot of people wanting some types of changes,” Agudelo said. “Hopefully, people don’t get too (carried away) and demand too much (change) because it’s a very delicate situation where the Federation could do something drastic, and it might not benefit the U.S.”

The future for Agudelo and many his U.S. teammates is murky at best as a result of last week’s developments. Bruce Arena resigned as head coach following Tuesday’s elimination and Federation president Sunil Gulati couldn’t promise much in a conference call with the media on Friday.

As for the present, Agudelo’s current focus is on next week’s regular season finale in Montreal. But like so many others with a vested interest in the success of the National Team, he still has a tough time grasping a new and bitter reality.

“It’s a tough pill for everyone to swallow,” Agudelo said.

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