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Obama calls Arena to offer congratulations on MLS Cup

Bruce Arena speaks to President Obama.

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of LA Galaxy

Courtesy of LA Galaxy

This was one phone call Bruce Arena didn’t mind getting out of bed for.

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, halfway across the world in Indonesia, the LA Galaxy head coach took a congratulatory call from Washington, with President Barack Obama offering his congratulations for the Galaxy’s recent MLS Cup triumph.

“The President said, as a soccer fan, he wanted to let coach Arena know that the team inspired a lot of young soccer players, including his kids,” according to a statement released by the White House on Tuesday evening. “The President congratulated coach Arena on all that the team has done for the game of soccer and asked him to pass along his congratulations to Landon Donovan, David Beckham and the rest of the team.”

President Obama also invited the Galaxy to the White House to celebrate their championship. Although the MLS Cup-winning team traditionally makes an annual visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in the spring or summer following the final, this is the first time a sitting US President has called to congratulate the Cup-winning coach.

Arena and the Galaxy are currently in Jakarta in the opening leg of their Asia Pacific postseason tour. Coincidentally, Obama spent several years living in the Indonesian capital while growing up and has often cited that time of his life as giving him an appreciation of the beautiful game.

The Galaxy face an Indonesia Select team on Wednesday (7 am ET, Fox Soccer) before taking on the Philippine national team in Manila on Saturday and the A-League’s Melbourne Victory in Australia on Monday, Dec. 6.