Arena tabbed as new U.S. coach

Re­turns to take over for Klins­mann

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - 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 was hired Tues­day, a day af­ter Jurgen Klins­mann’s dis­missal for two losses to be­gin the fi­nal round of World Cup qual­i­fy­ing.

With the Amer­i­cans 0-2 at this stage 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. The 65-year-old Arena starts work Dec. 1.

“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,” USSF Pres­i­dent Su­nil Gu­lati said. “I think he’s got far more ex­pe­ri­ence than he did when he had the national team the first gor­ound. 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.”

Hired by Gu­lati in 2011, Klins­mann coached the U.S. to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup ti­tle and the sec­ond round of the 2014 World Cup, where the Amer­i­cans lost to Bel­gium 2-1 in ex­tra time.

Gu­lati cited three dis­ap­point­ments that led to Klins­mann’s fir­ing: fail­ing to qual­ify for the 2017 Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup, the un­der-23 team’s fail­ure to reach this year’s Olympics and the poor start to the fi­nal round of qual­i­fy­ing in the North and Cen­tral Amer­i­can and Caribbean re­gion.

The U.S. would have reached the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup by win­ning last year’s Gold Cup, but Ja­maica up­set the Amer­i­cans in the semi­fi­nals, and the U.S. lost a play­off to Mex­ico.

“Re­ally start­ing at the Gold Cup, we’ve had some very up-and-down re­sults,” Gu­lati said. “The Gold Cup was a big dis­ap­point­ment for ev­ery­one: for Jurgen, for the play­ers, for our fans.”

Two weeks ago, Gu­lati said he ex­pected Klins­mann to keep his job through the 2018 World Cup. But Mex­ico won 2-1 in Colum­bus, Ohio, the first U.S. home loss in qual­i­fy­ing since 2001. That was fol­lowed by a 4-0 de­feat last week in Costa Rica, the Amer­i­cans’ four-goal loss in qual­i­fy­ing since 1980.

“None of us ex­pected the two re­sults we got,” Gu­lati said.

ALEX GAL­LARDO — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

For­mer U.S. coach Bruce 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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