NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Bruce Arena is returning to coach the U.S. men’s national soccer team, a decade after he was fired.
The winningest coach in American national team history, Arena took over Tuesday, one day after Jurgen Klinsmann was fired. His hiring officially takes effect Dec. 1.
With the U.S. 0-2 in the final round of World Cup qualifying, the U.S. Soccer Federation wants to spark a turnaround when the playoffs resume March 24 with a home game against Honduras.
“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,” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a news release. “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.”
Arena coached the national team to a 71-30-29 record from 1998 to 2006. A 65-year-old wisecracking Brooklynite known for blunt talk and sarcasm, he coached the University of Virginia from 1978-95, then led D.C. United to titles in Major League Soccer’s first two seasons before losing in the 1998 final. He guided the Americans to the team’s best World Cup finish since 1930, a 1-0 loss to Germany in the 2002 quarterfinals.
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He was let go after the team’s first-round elimination by Ghana in 2006. Arena has coached MLS’ Los Angeles Galaxy since 2008, winning back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012.
“Any time you get the opportunity to coach the National Team it’s an honor,” Arena said. “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.”
Arena was born in Brooklyn and raised in Franklin Square, Long Island. He played at H. Frank Carey High School, Nassau Community College and Cornell.
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