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US Soccer Takes 1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back By Hiring Former Coach Bruce Arena

Bruce Arena coach

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With the recent firing of head soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the U.S. Men’s National Team is expected to bring back a familiar face as their next head coach. According to ESPN, Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena is set to return for his second stint as the coach of the U.S. Men’s Soccer team. Although soccer has become more popular in the United States over the past few years, there are probably some newer fans of the sports out there who have never heard of Arena before. Here is all the information you will need to know about our team’s next head coach:

Playing Career

Arena was a two-sport athlete when he was in college, playing both soccer and lacrosse at Nassau Community College. After two years, he transferred to Cornell University in 1972. Arena originally did not want to play soccer at the Ivy League School, but when the team’s starting and backup goalkeepers went down with injuries, Arena filled in and helped lead the team to a Final Four appearance in the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship Tournament, and was named “Most Valuable Defensive Player” of the entire tournament for his play. Arena only played one year of professional soccer for the Tacoma Tides in 1976, and also had a year for the national team under his belt in 1973.

Coaching Career

After his playing career was over, Arena returned to Cornell in 1977 as the assistant lacrosse coach to begin the first of his many coaching stints. A year later, he moved onto the University of Virginia to be the head coach of both the men’s soccer and lacrosse teams, but later became just the soccer coach in 1985. In his time at Virginia, Arena led the team to five national championships, including four straight from 1991-94.

Arena left Virginia in 1996 and became the head coach of D.C. United, a professional team in the new expansion league, Major League Soccer. Arena coached the team from 1996-98 and won the league’s first two championships during this stay in Washington.

In 1998, Arena was named head coach of the US Men’s National team, a position in which he saw success that not many expected him to encounter in international play. In the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Arena and his group of heavy underdogs reached the quarterfinals of the tournament, beating the likes of Portugal and Mexico along the way, where they lost to the eventual runner-up Germany, in a hard fought 1-0 game. 2006 would be Arena’s last year of coaching the national team, as they fell short of expectations in the 2006 World Cup, failing to advance out of the group stage.

After going back to the MLS and coaching the New York Red Bulls for a year, Arena was then hired by the LA Galaxy as both the head coach and general manager, where he has seen great success. Since he has been with the Galaxy, Arena has won three MLS Cups, and two Coach of the Year Awards. His contract is up in 2017.

I think if this is true, Arena is a great hire for the United States National Team because he is a familiar face who has shown that he knows what it takes to win at the national level. I don’t necessarily think it will bring a World Cup title to the United States, but the team was not playing well under Klinsmann in recent months, and I think a fresh start will provide a much-needed boost to the team. I have realistic expectations, but I can’t see why the U.S. can’t advance out of the group stage in the 2018 World Cup (if they qualify for the tournament, that is).

COED Writer
Aspiring trillionaire. Fan of sports, good food, any dog over 30 pounds, and boybands. 2013 Fantasy Basketball Champion and 2016 Dek Hockey Champion. Firm believer that Lions are better than Tigers.