- Title: Bruce Arena looking forward to taking the helm of U.S. squad
- Date: 23rd November 2016
- Summary: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (FILE-JANUARY 23, 2012) (REUTERS) ARENA WATCHING LA GALAXY TRAINING
- Embargoed: 8th December 2016 00:46
- Keywords: MLS Juergen Klinsmann CONCACAF
- Location: VARIOUS UNITED STATES
- City: VARIOUS UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Soccer,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA00359J3INZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Bruce Arena has been handed the tall order of getting the United States' qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup back on track after being named head coach of the national team, U.S. Soccer said on Tuesday (November 11).
Arena, a five-times Major League Soccer champion coach who is taking over for the recently fired Juergen Klinsmann, is no stranger to the U.S. national team having been at the helm from 1998-2006.
Considered by many to be American soccer's greatest coach of all time, Arena's previous stint with the U.S. team included a run to the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup, the country's best result in the tournament since the inaugural event in 1930.
"It's never the right opportunity to have to replace someone and obviously I applaud all the hard work that Juergen put in over a number of years. The federation made a decision to make a change and I was honored to have an offer but I think the time is right for me because I have the experience in qualifying. I understand the pool of players. I understand the obstacles ahead and I'm much more prepared than I was between 1998 and 2006 so hopefully I can be a good leader. Get the team ready to play and get our team qualified for Russia."
Arena, who will be in charge of the U.S. team through the 2018 World Cup, will assume his new role on Dec. 1.
He takes over a U.S. squad sitting dead last in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, also known as "The Hexagonal," after last week's stunning loss to Costa Rica, which came on the heels of a home loss to Mexico.
Arena has a long history of success and was at the reigns for the two best dynasties MLS has seen.
Prior to his first stint with the U.S. national team, Arena coached D.C. United to consecutive MLS Cup victories during the league's formative years.
He then captured three MLS titles during a remarkable four-season stretch with the Los Angeles Galaxy that came during one of the league's most competitive eras.
When Arena joined Los Angeles late in the 2008 season he inherited a team that had not made the playoffs since 2005, were sitting at the bottom of the league, had David Beckham and Landon Donovan but little else.
A year later Arena led the Galaxy to a runner-up finish in the MLS Cup, the start of an impressive run that included championships in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
That success, says Arena, has left him better prepared for the challenge of coaching the national team than he was the first time around.
"I hope the experiences I have had are going to benefit the program," said Arena. "I've had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented players in the world, understanding how they work.
"What I really know is how to build a team."
During his first stint with the national squad the United States shot to fourth from 19th in the FIFA world rankings and his 71 wins are easily the most in U.S. history.
But Arena's contract was not renewed after a first-round exit from the 2006 World Cup in Germany where his U.S. team scored twice in three games and finished last in their group.
U.S. Soccer are now hoping that Arena can help steady the ship after a rough start to World Cup qualifying.
"Next step is to be in contact with the players in the pool and obviously some of the key players domestically and abroad and get a good understanding and have players ready when they come in to camp in January and March and appreciate what our goal is and how important it is to play for the U.S."
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