Major League Soccer fans selected former D.C. United and current U.S. men's national team head coach Bruce Arena as the best coach in MLS history in a poll conducted on the league's official web site, MLSnet.com. He earned 49 percent of the total votes in the poll, which is part of a celebration of the league's 10th season.
In three years with the Washington team, Arena won back-to-back MLS Cup titles in 1996 and 1997, a feat that still has not been repeated. His squad made a third consecutive appearance in the championship match in 1998, but the expansion Chicago Fire won that title game. Arena's success wasn't limited to league play though, as the Black-and-Red also captured the 1996 U.S. Open Cup, the 1998 CONCACAF Champions Cup and the 1998 Interamerican Cup, where they defeated storied Brazilian club Vasco de Gama by a 2-1 aggregate score.
After the U.S. national team's disappointing last-place finish at the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France under current Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Steve Sampson, Arena was put in charge of the team. He hasn't relinquished his hold on the job and led the U.S. to their best World Cup performance in 50 years by reaching the quarterfinals at Korea/Japan 2002.
Coming in a distant second place was current MetroStars head coach Bob Bradley. The New Jersey native is the winningest coach in MLS history, becoming the first to eclipse the century mark in 2004. Before joining the MetroStars in time for the 2003 season, Bradley coached the Chicago Fire from 1998-2002. During his time in the Windy City, Bradley won an MLS Cup title (1998) and two U.S. Open Cup titles (1998 and 2000).
In the bronze medal position was former San Jose boss Frank Yallop. The current Canadian national team manager took the Quakes from worst to first in his debut season, as the same side that missed the 2000 MLS Cup Playoffs won the title the following year under his tutelage. They won their a second championship two years later before Yallop took the post in Canada and handed the reins to Dominic Kinnear.
Rounding out the top vote getters is Sigi Schmid, former coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy. He was relieved of his duties in California during 2004 and is now the coach of the U.S. Under-20 national team that recently surprised Argentina in a 1-0 victory and then drew with Germany three days later. Other MLS coaches receiving votes in the poll were Bob Gansler, Peter Nowak, Dave Dir, Octavio Zambrano and Thomas Rongen, though none picked up more than five percent of the total votes cast.
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.