Bruce Arena replaces Jurgen Klinsmann as USMNT manager
LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena has replaced Jurgen Klinsmann as manager of the U.S. men's national soccer team, returning for a second stint in charge, U.S. Soccer announced on Tuesday.
Arena served as the U.S. head coach from 1998 to 2006. He led the United States to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals–the nation's best finish ever–but he also oversaw the USA's elimination in the group stage of the 2006 tournament. Arena, 65, has been manager of the Galaxy since 2008, winning three MLS Cups with the club (2011, 2012, 2014). He also won the first two MLS Cups as manager of D.C. United in 1996 and 1997.
“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 statement. “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.”
Klinsmann was the U.S. manager since 2011, taking over for the ousted Bob Bradley. The decision to dismiss Klinsmann came less than a week after the U.S. suffered a 4–0 loss to Costa Rica and dropped to 0–2–0 in the final round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The U.S. did win the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup title under Klinsmann and reached the round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, making it out of a difficult group that featured Germany, Portugal and Ghana before falling to extra time against Belgium.
The United States will resume its World Cup qualifying run in March, hosting Honduras on March 24 and then traveling to Panama on March 28.
“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.”
This marks the first time the U.S. has changed coaches in the middle of a qualifying cycle since 1989.
Arena's appointment leaves the Galaxy looking for a new head coach and general manager. The club says it will begin conducting its search immediately.