Former U.S. men's national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann says he has "no doubt" the team would have qualified for the World Cup had he not been fired.
After five years in charge, Klinsmann was let go in November 2016 following a rough start to the USA's final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
The U.S. fell 2-1 at home to Mexico and then lost 4-0 away to Costa Rica four days later, leading U.S. Soccer to make a change.
However, new boss Bruce Arena was unable to guide the U.S. to Russia, as the team fell to a shocking 2-1 defeat at Trinidad & Tobago in the final match of qualifying in October 2017 to seal their fate.
Klinsmann feels the United States would currently be preparing for Russia 2018 had he not been let go.
"I had no doubt that we would have qualified for the World Cup in Russia but the federation made their own decision in November 2016," Klinsmann told Goal.
"Everyone couldn’t believe it that the team lost in Trinidad & Tobago. It was a huge disappointment for everyone involved in soccer in the United States, including myself."
Despite the sour end, the former Germany national team player and manager also has fond memories from his time in charge, including a 2014 World Cup that saw the U.S. advance from a difficult group.
"I had a great time with U.S. Soccer over five and a half years," the 53-year-old said.
"Getting out of the group of death in Brazil in 2014, competing against Portugal, Ghana, and Germany, then getting into the semi-finals in 2016 at the Copa America was very exciting."
Klinsmann has now been out of the coaching ranks for a year and a half, but has been keeping busy.
"Since leaving U.S. Soccer I had the opportunity to watch my son Jonathan perform in the U-20 World Cup last year in South Korea and now I’m following his path at Hertha Berlin.
"Personally, I stay busy with several projects here in the U.S. and I have time for my favorite hobby, flying helicopters."
As for a return to coaching? Klinsmann says don't rule it out, especially if he gets another chance at the international level.
"Anything is possible in football, but it is more likely that I coach a national team again instead of a club in Europe."