US coach Arena calls Trump travel restrictions ‘sad’

Washington (AFP) – US football national team manager Bruce Arena is the latest high-profile coach to criticize President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on refugees and those seeking to enter America from seven majority-Muslim countries.

“I think it’s sad because one thing we do in our sport is that we are a global sport,” Arena said in an interview with The Washington Post on Thursday from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“We travel the world. We meet all kinds of people. And we conclude at the end that they are all beautiful people.

“We have bad people in the world, we have bad people in our country, but clearly a large majority of people are good. It’s fabulous when we can give them an opportunity to be part of our country.”

Arena’s comments come after NBA coaches Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors and Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs, criticized Trump’s executive order on immigration.

Arena is in the early stages of his second stint at the helm of the US men’s team. He was hired to replace Germany’s Jurgen Klinsmann after the Americans dropped two World Cup qualifying matches, to Mexico and Costa Rica, in November.

He said Trump’s moves on immigration have been a topic of conversation among American players who have been gathered together for three weeks. They close their training camp with a friendly against Jamaica in Chattanooga on Friday.

“Our guys are not immune from the news,” Arena said. “They know what’s going on. I don’t think it’s the first thing they talk about, but it’s certainly an issue. I don’t think there’s one person on our team that thinks a ban on Muslims or any other group is right.”

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