Bruce Arena (pictured) was named as the USA head coach on November 22, 2016. (Photo: Enrique Montoya/Straffon Images)
CHICAGO – Bruce Arena was named Tuesday as the new head coach of the United States, replacing Jurgen Klinsmann, who was relieved of his duties a day earlier.
It will be Arena’s second spell at the U.S. helm, after a successful stretch from 1998-2006, when he compiled a record of 71W-29D-30L record. A two-time winner of the CONCACAF Gold Cup (2002, 2005), he guided the Americans to an historic quarterfinal finish in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, beating Portugal in their opening match before advancing out of the group and earning a 2-0 shutout against Mexico in the Round of 16.
"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," said Gulati about the 65-year-old, who also led the U.S. to the 2006 World Cup. "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."
Most recently, Arena served as general manager and head coach of the LA Galaxy for eight years (2008-16), where he won three titles (2011, 2012, 2014). As the first coach in D.C. United history, he reached the MLS Cup three times, winning it twice (1996, 1997) and capturing the U.S. Open Cup in 1996. He also helped United become the first-ever team from MLS to win the CONCACAF Champions Cup and the Interamerican Cup, winning each in 1998.
"Any time you get the opportunity to coach the National Team it's an honor," said Arena. "I'm looking forward to working with a strong group of players that understand the challenge in front of them after the first two games of the Hex. Working as a team, I'm confident that we'll take the right steps forward to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia."
The U.S. opened the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup with losses against Mexico (1-2, home) and Costa Rica (0-4, away) on November 11 and November 15, respectively. Those results left it in last place, four points off the pace for the last direct qualifying berth with eight games remaining on the schedule.