FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – When New England Revolution forward Juan Agudelo was asked about the team hiring five-time MLS Cup winner Bruce Arena as their head coach and sporting director on Tuesday, two words immediately popped out of his mouth.
“Extremely excited,” he said.
Agudelo knows exactly what Arena brings to the table. He made six appearances for the US men’s national team in 2017 when Arena was coach, including during the group stage of a winning Concacaf Gold Cup effort. Agudelo said Arena brings a championship mindset to the Revolution.
“I know his mentality, he’s a winner,” Agudelo said. “I’m looking to become a champion, which he has done a lot of times.”
Agudelo added that Arena’s extensive experience in MLS with D.C. United, New York Red Bulls and the LA Galaxy, plus two USMNT stints, is a boon to New England. The side, which last week parted ways with second-year manager Brad Friedel and then dismissed longtime general manager Michael Burns on Monday, currently sits bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with 11 points through 13 matches.
Arena, in his dual role, is expected to be given the keys to the car.
“I think he’s very smart with his decision-making and I think he’s a really experienced coach,” Agudelo said. “His resume says it all, and with that experience he knows how to deal with a lot of situations.”
Interim coach Mike Lapper said that Arena is a “top-class hire” and that he could not think of anyone better, outside of his former coach and mentor, the late Sigi Schmid.
“I’m sure he’ll bring his professionalism and hopefully championships, which he’s proven to do in the past,” Lapper said of Arena. “Words cannot express what he’s done. It’s mind boggling.”
Lapper said he has not yet talked to Arena about his status, though that conversation was going to happen at some point on Tuesday.
Agudelo said it has been a “rollercoaster” for the players the last two weeks between two five-goal losses and all the organizational reshuffling. Agudelo added that Arena’s hiring settles things down for the Revolution.
“I think now something is cemented and that now there is a path that we’re all going to be willing to take,” Agudelo said. "I hope to have ticket on that train, and have it take us to a trophy."