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US Soccer Brings Back Arena to Coach Men

  • VOA News

Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena yells at the side judge during the first half of a knockout round MLS playoff match against Real Salt Lake in Carson, Calif., Oct. 26, 2016. Arena has been brought back to coach the U.S. men's national squad.

Bruce Arena is back as head coach of the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team. The current head coach of Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy, Arena was named to return to the post one day after U.S. Soccer fired Jurgen Klinsmann as coach and technical director.

Klinsmann fell out of favor after the U.S. men lost their first two matches in the final round of regional qualifying for the 2018 World Cup this month — 2-1, to visiting Mexico on November 11, followed by an embarrassing 4-0 defeat at Costa Rica.

Arena, 65, takes over the head coaching duties on December 1. He is arguably the most successful coach in U.S. Soccer history. He led the program from 1998-2006, compiling a record of 71 wins, 30 losses and 29 draws.

Arena coached the team to an unexpected quarterfinal berth at the 2002 World Cup co-hosted by South Korea and Japan, and he guided the U.S. to CONCACAF Gold Cup titles in 2002 and 2005.

"I view it as Bruce 2.0," U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati told reporters on a conference call after Tuesday's announcement of Arena's hiring. "He has far more experience than the first time around. He has proven himself at all levels of the game in America. His record as a coach is unparalleled."

On the same conference call, Arena expressed confidence that he would be able to get the U.S. team back in contention for a berth at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

"We have good players and we just need to get them together as a team. It takes a lot of hard work, communication, discipline and some talent," he said.

"I like to believe I am a player's coach," Arena added. "I understand the qualities and circumstances that go into building a team. It is highly unlikely we will bring many new players into the program. We are at a time in the program when we need to get results and we need players who are ready to go."

The Americans are currently in last place in the six-team regional World Cup qualifying group, known as CONCACAF, which also includes Honduras, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Arena has some time before he faces matches that count. The U.S. team's next qualifier is at home against Honduras on March 24, and then the team travels to play Panama four days later.