U.S. under-20s coach Tab Ramos interested in succeeding Bruce Arena

United States under-20 coach Tab Ramos would be interested in replacing Bruce Arena with the senior national team, he confirmed to Metro.

Arena stepped down on Friday after the U.S. failed to qualify for the World Cup, and Ramos is among the leading candidates to take his place, at least on an interim basis for a friendly next month against Portugal.

And Ramos said at the New York Red Bulls game on Sunday that he would be willing to take on the challenge during U.S. Soccer's darkest moment in decades.

"If you'd ask everyone here at the Red Bulls game if they'd be interested in the national team job they would say yes," Ramos said. "And I'm just another fan so I'd say yes as well."

Metro previously reported that Ramos was in line to be named interim coach, but the 51-year-old said he "can't discuss at this point" whether he is a candidate to take over immediately.

Ramos, who also serves as U.S. Soccer's youth technical director, led the U20s to their first title at the CONCACAF Championship earlier this year, and they advanced to the quarterfinals at the World Cup in South Korea this summer. He agreed to a contract extension last month.

Ramos played as a midfielder for the U.S., and though he said it was "sickening" to see the team drop back into irrelevance over the next years, he remained confident that the program would bounce back.

"It was very hard back in the '80s to get people to recognize that we play soccer. Sometimes it feels like a slap in the face that we have to go dig ourselves out," he said.

"One thing I know about us is that we picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves us back in 1989. We'll do it again."