It's good to be king
mainly concerning conflicts with major tournaments such as the World Cup -- need to be solved. I, too, consider such problems to be detrimental to our ability to compete to our full potential. I, too, agree, that at times it seems that not enough is being done to make Bruce Arena's job easier. And he has a far different situation from what managers of most other countries have to deal with. However, there are only so many weekends in a year. Once the league is playing in its own stadiums, which alleviates cost and conflicts, Arena's job and the league's scheduling would be made easier.
My problem with Arena is not what he said, or the points he made. It was the process. And unfortunately, he has driven another wedge between U.S. Soccer and MLS, which need to be -- now more than ever -- discussing solutions, not problems. And they are, which Bruce knows.
These are also the two entities that are responsible for getting Arena to where he is today. MLS was the platform for Arena to get to the national team, and although he has had success at both levels, at some point, he will no longer be the national team coach, and he will probably need MLS for employment. Perhaps we are to assume that by the time that day comes, they will have forgotten about all of this. But then again, I'm sure if it all falls apart, he can go back to Virginia and assume the head coaching job there ... in lacrosse.
I also hate to be the one to remind everybody in the game who doesn't know the game that this is not Bruce's first blow-up. Coincidentally, three games into qualification last time, he took it upon himself to explode on a referee in Costa Rica. That outburst earned him an immediate two-game suspension. Behavior like this leads me to believe that at some point, somebody needs to put Bruce Arena in check.
Now, I'm not saying these things to stoke the fire. I just think that this soccer idiot needs to remind the king that some of us are not as stupid as he may think, and actually, since we're talking about it, some of us have just as much success in this league, maybe more, than he does.
Since it's an election year, there is a scene from the movie "The American President" when Michael J. Fox's character approaches the president and asks the president to be a better leader. Fox's character says, "People want leadership ... They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand." Michael Douglas' character, the President, responds, "Lewis ... People don't drink the sand because they're thirsty. They drink the sand because they don't know the difference."
So I guess the message to Bruce Arena is some of us -- more of us than he thinks -- know the difference.
Former U.S. international forward Eric Wynalda scored the first goal in MLS history, and is currently the analyst on RadioShack's Soccer Saturday on ESPN2. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will be inducted in the National Soccer Hall of Fame during the Oct. 9-11 weekend. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Major League Soccer or its clubs.