Three for Thursday: Father and son tandems in MLS
It doesn’t matter what league you follow or what country you live in, there is something compelling about fathers and sons involved in the same sport. From hockey’s Hulls to baseball’s Ripkens, a sports family is always an object of intrigue.
MLS is no different and has seen its fair share of paternal pairs play roles on and off the field. In honor of Father’s Day, this week’s Three For Thursday looks at three sets of fathers and sons who have been a part of MLS.
Bruce and Kenny Arena
What else is there to say about Bruce Arena? Perhaps the most accomplished coach in MLS history, Arena’s list of achievements includes a pair each of MLS Cups, Supporters’ Shields and MLS Coach of the Year awards alongside a CONCACAF Champions Cup title and a US Open Cup title.
Almost all of that soccer booty dates back to his three-year stint with D.C. United before leaving MLS to coach the US national team, but he’s certainly been no slouch since taking charge of the LA Galaxy in 2008. The club won the Supporters’ Shield last season and already leads the pack less than three months into the new season.
Kenny Arena, meanwhile, was drafted by the MetroStars in the fourth round of the 2003 MLS SuperDraft and made 20 appearances in the midfield for the club between 2003 to '04, even managing to score a goal along the way.
The younger Arena was traded to his father’s former club, D.C. United, in 2005, but never saw the field in the black and red. Released from the team in December of that same year, Kenny traded in his boots for a clipboard and joined the University of Virginia coaching staff soon after.
Bob and Michael Bradley
Before Bob Bradley took over the reins of the US team from Arena in 2006, he was his assistant at D.C. United. After two seasons in the nation’s capital Bradley became the first head coach of the expansion Chicago Fire, leading the team to MLS Cup in its inaugural season and earning Coach of the Year honors along the way. He also led the club to a US Open Cup title in 2000.
He went on to coach both the MetroStars and with Chivas USA, but his days with Chicago were the most fruitful. He was inducted into the club’s “Ring of Fire” Hall of Fame in 2007.
Like Kenny Arena, Michael Bradley’s MLS playing career lasted just two seasons, with all of his appearances coming in 2005 for the MetroStars. He appeared in 30 games and notched four assists with his dad managing from the bench, and scored the one goal of his MLS career in the regular season finale to help propel the team into the postseason.
He was transferred to Dutch side Heerenveen in 2006 and has plied his trade in Europe ever since, last suiting up for EPL side Aston Villa while on loan from his German club Borussia Mönchegladbach.
Robert and Konrad Warzycha
Well before ascending to his current role as head coach of the Columbus Crew, Robert Warzycha was a regular in the club’s midfield from 1996 to 2002. Known in his playing days as "The Polish Rifle,” Warzycha notched 19 goals and 61 assists in 160 regular-season games for Columbus, and appeared in another 17 matches in the playoffs.
He took an assistant coaching job with the club in 2003 and won a Supporters’ Shield and an MLS Cup with the club in 2008 before taking over for Sigi Schmid in 2009. Success followed then, too, as Warzycha piloted the team to a second consecutive Supporters’ Shield.
Konrad was a prep star in Ohio and a vital cog in the central midfield for Ohio State from 2007-10 before he was drafted in the third round of this year’s MLS SuperDraft by Sporting Kansas City. He underwent knee surgery prior to the draft and has not played yet this season, and was expected to miss six to eight months of action for the recovery.