Arena takes over U.S. men’s na­tional squad

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Ron­ald Blum

Bruce Arena is re­turn­ing to coach the U.S. na­tional soccer team, a decade af­ter he was fired. The win­ningest coach in American na­tional team his­tory, Arena took over one day af­ter Jur­gen Klins­mann was fired.

Bruce Arena is re­turn­ing to coach the U.S. na­tional soccer team, a decade af­ter he was fired.

The win­ningest coach in American na­tional team his­tory, Arena took over Tues­day, one day af­ter Jur­gen Klins­mann was fired. The 65-year-old Arena starts work Dec. 1.

With the U.S. 0-2 in the fi­nal round of World Cup qual­i­fy­ing for the first time, the U.S. Soccer Fed­er­a­tion wants to spark a turn­around when com­pe­ti­tion re­sumes March 24 with a home game against Hon­duras fol­lowed four days later with a match at Panama.

“We need to build the chem­istry of this team and have a com­mon goal and re­ally work on a team con­cept,” Arena said dur­ing a tele­phone news con­fer­ence. “I re­ally be­lieve in­di­vid­u­ally and po­si­tion­ally we have good play­ers and we’ve just got to get them work­ing to­gether as a team.

“There are no real se­crets on how you build good teams: It takes a lot of hard work, it takes com­mu­ni­ca­tion, it takes dis­ci­pline and it takes some tal­ent, and I think we have enough tal­ent to build a good team and end up in Rus­sia 2018. It’s go­ing to take a lit­tle time, a lit­tle bit pa­tience and a lot of hard work.”

Arena first took over as na­tional team coach af­ter the 1998 World Cup and led the U.S. to a 71-30-29 record. His con­tract runs through the 2018 World Cup.

“I don’t view it as Bruce 2, but sort of Bruce 2.0,” U.S. Soccer Fed­er­a­tion Pres­i­dent Su­nil Gu­lati said. “I think he’s got far more ex­pe­ri­ence than he did when he had the na­tional team the first go-round. He’s proven and re­proven many times at all lev­els of the game in the United States that he’s an ex­traor­di­nar­ily ca­pa­ble and suc­cess­ful coach.”

A wise­crack­ing Brook­lynite known for blunt talk and sar­casm, Arena coached the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia to five NCAA ti­tles from 1978-95, then led D.C. United to ti­tles in Ma­jor League Soccer’s first two sea­sons be­fore los­ing in the 1998 fi­nal.

He guided the Amer­i­cans to the team’s best World Cup fin­ish since 1930, a 1-0 loss to Ger­many in the 2002 quar­ter­fi­nals.

Arena was let go af­ter the team’s first-round elim­i­na­tion by Ghana in 2006. He coached the New York Red Bulls of MLS from July 2006 to Novem­ber 2007, then was hired the fol­low­ing Au­gust by the Galaxy. He led the team to MLS ti­tles in 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Arena was in­ducted into the U.S. Na­tional Soccer Hall of Fame in 2010.

“I think 10 years later I’m bet­ter pre­pared for this job than I was in 1998 and 2002 and ul­ti­mately 2006, so I’m hope­ful the ex­pe­ri­ences I had are go­ing to ben­e­fit the pro­gram,” he said. “One of the things you learn from ex­pe­ri­ence is you see things a lot clearer and a lot quicker than you did pre­vi­ously, and the game has slowed down a bit, where I can see as a coach in my po­si­tion how things are hap­pen­ing on the field.

ALEX GAL­LARDO — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

In this Oct. 26 photo, Los An­ge­les Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena yells at the side judge dur­ing the first half of a knock­out round MLS play­off soccer match against Real Salt Lake in Car­son Arena is re­turn­ing to coach the U.S. na­tional team, a decade af­ter he was fired. The win­ningest coach in American na­tional team his­tory, Arena took over Tues­day one day af­ter Jur­gen Klins­mann was fired.

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