It’s official: Bruce Arena will return as head coach of the US men’s national team.
US Soccer and the LA Galaxy announced on Tuesday that Arena will leave his post as LA head coach to take the reins of the USMNT, which he managed from 1998-2006. The news was first reported by The Washington Post’s Steve Goff.
Arena, who will be formally introduced on a conference call with US Soccer president Sunil Gulati on Tuesday afternoon, will officially assume the USMNT role next Thursday, Dec. 1. He takes over from Jurgen Klinsmann, who was fired by US Soccer on Monday after a rocky five-year tenure ended with a home loss to Mexico and a 4-0 drubbing at Costa Rica in the opening two games of the Hexagonal round of World Cup qualifying.
“When we considered the possible candidates to take over the men’s national team at this time, Bruce was at the top of the list,” Gulati said in a statement released by USSF. “His experience at the international level, understanding of the requirements needed to lead a team through World Cup qualifying, and proven ability to build a successful team were all aspects we felt were vital for the next coach. We all know Bruce will be fully committed to preparing the players for the next eight qualifying games and earning a berth to an eighth-straight FIFA World Cup in Russia.”
The winningest coach in USMNT history, Arena took over the program following the 1998 World Cup. He famously served as a coach for the US’s remarkable run to the quarterfinals of the 2002 tournament, the country’s best finish in a World Cup in more than 80 years. The only coach to lead the US at two World Cups, he was also in charge of the USMNT when they disappointingly failed to advance out of the group stage in Germany in 2006. Arena led the US to championships at the 2002 and 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cups, as well as a third-place finish at the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup.
One of only two coaches in MLS history with more than 200 career wins, Arena leaves LA after joining the club in 2008 and winning three MLS Cups, two Supporters’ Shields and compiling a league-best 125-70-79 record. In addition to his coaching duties, Arena, who has won a record five MLS Cup titles, served as the Galaxy’s general manager. LA announced that they’ll begin the search for the club’s next head coach and GM immediately.
“My time with the LA Galaxy has been among the most memorable and meaningful years in my entire career,” Arena said in a statement released by LA. “I have been fortunate to work alongside an incredible staff and coach teams and players that have made me extremely proud. Together, we brought championships to the LA Galaxy and the City of Los Angeles. It is difficult to leave this great club, but I am excited for the opportunity to return as coach of the United States men’s national team. I want to thank Mr. Anschutz, Dan Beckerman, Chris Klein and the entire LA Galaxy organization for my time here.”