November 22, 2016
SOME MORE ARENA FUTBOL
U.S. Soccer names Bruce Arena national coach to succeed Klinsmann
CHICAGO -- Bruce is back.
|Bruce Arena: "Working as a team, I’m confident that we’ll take the right steps forward to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.”
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was named the new head coach of the U.S. national team Tuesday afternoon by U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati.
Arena, the most successful head coach in American soccer history, directed the U.S. to its best finish in the World Cup in more than 80 years with a quarterfinal appearance in 2002 and returns to the job where he amassed the most wins of any coach in U.S. MNT history.
Arena, who will assume the role Dec. 1, will be formally introduced during a teleconference with U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati on Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET.
He succeeds Jurgen Klinsmann, who was fired by Gulati Monday.
“When we considered the possible candidates to take over the Men’s National Team at this time, Bruce was at the top of the list,” Gulati said in a statement. “His experience at the international level, understanding of the requirements needed to lead a team through World Cup qualifying, and proven ability to build a successful team were all aspects we felt were vital for the next coach. We all know Bruce will be fully committed to preparing the players for the next eight qualifying games and earning a berth to an eighth-straight FIFA World Cup in Russia.”
Arena, who stepped down as LA Galaxy head coach, was looking forward to his latest challenge.
“Any time you get the opportunity to coach the national team it’s an honor,” he said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to working with a strong group of players that understand the challenge in front of them after the first two games of the Hex. Working as a team, I’m confident that we’ll take the right steps forward to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.”
The Galaxy now must search for a new head coach and general manager.
“The LA Galaxy had a choice to make and felt that this decision was in the best interest of the club, for Bruce and for the betterment of soccer in the United States,” Galaxy president Chris Klein said in a statement. “We have been incredibly fortunate to have Bruce coach this team over the past eight years and will greatly miss him. Bruce has meant so much to this organization and helped make the LA Galaxy into what it is today. We will support Bruce as he pursues this new opportunity and want to thank him for his many contributions to the Galaxy during his time here. We have an internal timeline in place and will communicate our plans regarding the LA Galaxy head coach and general manager roles within the coming days.”
The Franklin Square, N.Y. native steps back into the job that he held over an eight-year tenure from 1998-2006. With a record of 71-30-29, the Brooklyn-born manager is by far the winningest coach in U.S. MNT history as well as the only head coach to lead the USA at two FIFA World Cups.
His crowning achievement came at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan, where he led the MNT to a 3-2 upset of Portugal in their opening match before advancing out of the group and earning a 2-0 shutout against Mexico in the Round of 16. Benefiting from the experience of his previous World Cup qalifying campaign, the U.S. MNT advanced to the 2006 FIFA World Cup with relative ease, booking a place in Germany with three matches to spare in CONCACAF’s final round. Drawn into the "Group of Death", a nine-man U.S. earned a 1-1 draw against eventual World Cup champions Italy.
Arena also led the U.S. to its second and third regional titles with championships at the 2002 and 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cups, as well as a third-place finish at the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup.
He also has found success along every stop of his 40-plus year coaching career. The former N.Y. Hota/Bavarian goalkeeper won five NCAA Division I national championships with the University of Virginia, including a still-standing record of four consecutive titles from 1991-94.
His collegiate coaching tenure led him to his first international job, taking the reins of the U.S. U-23 team leading up to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta where Arena guided the USA to a respectable 1-1-1 showing. Arena balanced his Under-23 duties with his head coaching role of D.C. United in the inaugural year of Major League Soccer and helped to turn the club into the nascent league’s first true powerhouse. D.C. won four domestic titles on Arena’s watch – the 1996 and 1997 MLS Cups, 1996 U.S. Open Cup and 1997 Supporters Shield – as well as international hardware with the 1998 CONCACAF Champions Cup and 1998 Interamerican Cup.
Following his eight-year tenure with the U.S. Men’s National Team, Arena returned to club coaching for a brief stint with the New York Red Bulls in 2006-07, before joining the LA Galaxy the following year. In LA, Arena worked to make the Galaxy the premier club in MLS, coaching the side to three MLS Cup titles in 2011, 2012 and 2014, as well as two Supporter Shield wins in 2010 and 2011. As the only five-time MLS Cup winning head coach, Arena has worked with numerous coaches throughout his time in Major League Soccer, serving as a mentor to many.
A three-time MLS Coach of the Year winner, Arena was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2010 and five years later was named the recipient of the of the prestigious Werner Fricker Builder Award, the highest honor that an individual can receive from the U.S. Soccer Federation.