Arena out as US Coach

Bruce Arena will not have his contract renewed as Head Coach of the US Men’s National team USSF President Sunil Gulati announced today.

Thus ends an 8 year era of ups and downs for US Soccer. When Bruce Arena took over the job following the disastrous World Cup in 1998 he brought with him an unrivaled knowledge of American Soccer, the MLS and the NCAA. However as time passed Arena’s caustic attitude towards the media and critics became more tiresome than ever. We have beat the issue of Bruce Arena’s decision making leading up and during the 2006 World Cup to death on this website. We can continue to argue, should we have scheduled differently, and should players like Jay DeMerit have been given a look by the national team. But now that Arena’s fate is sealed it’s important to look at the future of US Soccer, not just for 2010 but beyond.

How do we improve MLS and the USL as well as youth development system? Do we need more Americans playing in Europe? How are the Americans who have left MLS and headed across the pond faring against tougher opposition? Those issues and much much more will be discussed on this new website.

For now, post your thoughts about Arena and the future US coach here.

39 thoughts on “Arena out as US Coach”

  1. Man U bench coach Carlos Queiroz used to be an employee of the US Soccer Association and also coached in the MLS. He had a disasterous tenure at Real Madrid after leaving US Soccer, but he may be in the running.

  2. I am very unhappy with Sunil Gulati as he has bucked to the pressure from those who know zilch about US Soccer. Bruce Arena was eight years ago and remains today the best soccer coach in North America, end of story, no debate allowed. His record speaks for itself. Quarterfinals at the World Cup in 2002, two Gold Cup titles, a semifinal at the Confederations Cup and two bullshit games this world cup, which if we had rightfully won we’d have won our group, the first time a US teram has ever accomplished that.

    Arena has cast a wide net with the player pool which is now deeper than ever. He has developed our first ever international superstar in Landon Donovan and has brought the respect level of US Soccer to an all time high. We were ranked #5 in the FIFA rankings before they decided to play with the formula to appease the media and the UEFA bosses. The current rankings are manipulated and thus should not be considered.

    Gulati whom I previously liked has made a potential fatal mistake today. Let us hope it doesn’t turn out to be fatal. We’ve let the best coach we could possibly have walk.

  3. As I have mentioned in a post on another topic, this is all prearranged. That Gulati claims he has not spoken to Klinsmann in 6 months is total hogwash. Arena serves out his term and Jurgen refreshed from his “holiday” since he quit Germany due to “burnout” says he’s like to coach again and is handed the job without a real interview process.

    The job is wired for him. All this talk about a worldwide search is just a cover on an arrangement that has already been made.

  4. Here is my post from a few days back on the situation. Note it is already happening. Rather than fire Arena outright they allowing him to stay for 6 months per exactly what I had thought a few days back:

    Keep in mind Arena, Klinsmann and Gulati are all buddies and perhaps they have already spoken of the situation and thus Klinsmann is allowing Arena to serve out his contract, which also gets Gulati off the hot seat and Klinsmann can spend time and money on a vacation in the South Pacific. Then come December, Arena says thank you but I’m moving on and want to pursue other options, Klinsmann is refreshed from his vacation and Gulati is a genius for hiring the coach who took Germany to the semifinals.

    This whole thing smells like a rat to me. Heck, Klinsmann may even become the “manager” of the team while Arena continues as coach. Something is up for sure, otherwise Klinsmann wouldn’t have said bye bye to Germany so quickly without something already on the table.

    Wait till Arena is asked to stay on as an “advisor” by the new coach, Klinsmann. This whole thing is a total setup. If it smells like a rat, and is afat as a rat and runs like a rat……well you know!

  5. For the record I believe that the USA should hire a more accomplished coach than Klinsmann. Scolari, Erickson, Hidnikk, Advocat, maybe even a top european club coach like Gerard Houllier or Arsene Wenger. Klinsmann may have a had a lucky run with Germany but he isn’t ready to be a coach through qualifying just yet. Germany did not have to qualify for 2006.

  6. Houllier?????

    Are you joking?

    That man is the biggest pile of rubbish around.

    When Rafa Benetiz came into control we needed a major overhaul because Gerard was a fool.

  7. Bob Bradley is too much an Arena guy to be taken seriously as a replacement. How about Peter Nowak or Colin Clarke?

  8. Some interesting excerpts from the article Rafael posted:

    “It is also hard to believe that American sports fans care about the two Gold Cup titles the men won under Arena (in 2002 and 2005) — it’s quite clear that for most, these games simply don’t exist. They weren’t available on English language television unless you were willing to pay for them, and neither Cup win got much in the way of attention outside the soccer community.

    In 2002, on the final day of group play, the USA gained their berth in the second round thanks to the South Korean striker’s 70th minute goal against a then 9-man Portugal. At the same time, the USA was busy throwing away their game, 3-1 to Poland, one of the worst sides in the tournament after having opened with a terrific win over Portugal, then escaped with a somewhat fortunate 1-1 draw against the hosts. Don’t believe it: Watch that tape again see the South Koreans miss a sitter in the final minutes that would have changed recent American soccer history.

    That was, in fact, a very typical American performance under Arena, who produced a squad that was capable of playing mesmerizing soccer one day, then confounding even the most die-hard fans with execrable performances the next. Arena’s admittedly impressive 71-30-29 lifetime record is somewhat illusory; it obscures the fact that under Arena, the men were unable to shed their inability to win big matches in Europe or in Mexico City — arguably the places where U.S. soccer still has the most to prove.

    While Arena clearly could make players believe they could perform, it was also clear that his bag of tricks was limited, and that he is not any more the psychological master of the game than the oft-derided Bora Milutinovic. Arena believed stridently that he could out-coach any team; Milutinovic was smart enough to realize that the American players were too incompletely developed to grasp tactical play and instead concentrated on putting them in roles where they could shine.
    To be fair to Arena, the coach walked into a chaotic situation in 1998 and worked hard to give the national team a different feel. His teams played hard the full 90 minutes and completely dominated weak regional opposition when they had poor teams on the run. He produced a team that could travel into Central America (with Mexico the notable exception) and the Caribbean and play its own game.”

  9. I am offended a gun for hire like Guus Hidnnick would even be considered for our job. The USA job is special. It is not Australia or South Korea, nations who are in the infancy of soccer development and whose players are not unique like american players. The mindset of an american pro athlete is unlike that of any other athlete in the world. We need an american coach. We need Bruce Arena.

  10. Sams Army:

    Let me ask it to you staright. Do you think Arena is one of the top coaches in the world? Is he better than Hidnikk?

  11. it would be good for usa if they bring in a multilingual coach who can speak in spanish to the fubol loving community in this nation as well as speaking either german or italian to improve us soccer image in the continent. we are laughing stocks right now because of the inability to beat european teams.

  12. Sources indicate Arena is a sure thing to take the NY Red Bulls job if the ownership can secure him some special players. Does that mean Zidane?

  13. Kartik, I hope this discussion which has been lively and spirited continues inspite of your unwise decision to change the url in the middle of a topic. You should have changed it the day after the world cup instead of waiting a week! Thank god you emailed me the change.

  14. DING DONG the Witch is dead, the witch is dead!

    I have 3 seasons of little league experience, I am sure I could do the job!

    Hire “The Coach” if you want to win and dominate those European cheaters (really just the Italians).

  15. The US’s new coach needs to speak one language and one language only….The language of WINNING.

    The non-English speaking-soccer (futbol) lovers can learn to speak the national language themselves.

    Our next coach doesnt need to have numerous languages spoken on his resume. He needs a primal desire to beat down Europe, develop talent, and play the best player not just the favorite. This team, along with a coach, needs a vocal leader. A person that wears the yellow arm badge and commands respect, organizes the team from the field and actually has some media savvy.

    Dark horse coaching selections:
    Dennis Wise
    Bill Parcells (come on now, ‘Big Tuna’ can coach just about anything!)

  16. I really like the idea of going after a coach like Hiddink or Advocaat that have accomplished results on the international level playing in different situations. Klinsmann seems to convenient a choice the more I think about it. The USSF will be off the hook to make the real changes needed if Klinsmann is hired because they will get such love from the soccer insiders here in america.

  17. Arena needs to leave right now rather than lingering around and retarding our further development for months. We need more hands on involvement from the USSF and need a blueprint for the future laid out with a new coach as soon as possible.

  18. The Red Bulls got their first win under Richie Williams last night.

    If Arena takes over he will have to make peace with Guevara and Djorkaeff.

  19. Guevara is doing well under Williams. It is Djorkaeff that he needs to convince. Considering Yourri is a world champion he will be tough sell but he did like Bob Bradley which was a big reason he came over here to the states to begin with!

  20. The US Soccer Federation would have to buy out the contract that Guus Hiddink recently signed with Russia. That would be a huge waste.

    Scolari just signed an extension with Portugal through Euro 2008.

    Sunil Gulati needs to be careful – this is his first big decision. Like Arena, the next coach is going to want assurances that he will be the coach THROUGH the next World Cup.

    Gulati doesn’t want his second big move to be looking for a new coach in 2 years…………

  21. Xavier, you make some interesting points about Klinsmann.

    As a soccer starved fan from Northern California, I think it would be a huge mistake if Lew Wolff did not sign Bruce Arena to be GM/Coach of Oakland AC.

  22. Rafael:

    That Trcker article makes a number of points I have made previously about Arena. I feel a national team coach should NEVER coach more than one four year cycle in a row with the same nation. Arena’s inability to achieve results from 2003-2006 that were even comprable with Steve Sampson’s results from 1995 thru early 1998 speak volumes about the slate nature of the US program in Arena’s second term, using a presidential view of things.

    Another political thought. Just like voters get a six year itch, so do the players in the player pool. Old methods that worked previously become stale and Arena himself did little homework on emerging American talent outside of MLS during the 2003 to 2006 time period.

  23. You pulled a website switcheroo on us!

    We need a Hiddink or Sven. Somebody who has gone deep in the World Cup and knows the international game. Someone who can bring either a European or Latin mentality to the team. This bullshit from Sunil Gulati that we need a coach who understands the American mindset is just flat out stupid. It’s an excuse to just promote an crony of the ussf to the top spot.

  24. Hiddink will not come cheap and our federation would have to buy out his contract with Russia first. He’d be a great choice but it is not happening.

  25. Klinsmann seems like the obvious choice but it is possible with 5 months to find a replacement new candidates will emerge.

  26. You guys are so desperate that you are banking your hopes on a man in Klinsmann that has repeatedly stated that he wants no part of your program. Desperate Yanks!

  27. Your stinking national side will not even qualify for south african 2010 if you hire Sven.

    You would be wise to look elsewhere.

  28. Boy you Brits must be really desperate to pick on us rather than your euro counterparts that always seem to beat you when it counts.

    I loved the graphic they would flash during every World Cup match that England has not been to the final of a major tournament since 1966. That says it all.

  29. Harvey,

    Thanks for your interest. As I underdstand it, Lew Wolff (the owner of the Oakland A’s) is interested in a site in Fremont (which is on the Oaktown side of the bay) for a new intimate baseball stadium for the Athletics. The property is large enough (100 acres?) to accomodate a nice soccer specific stadium as well as plenty of parking. The issues are highway and public transportation access and, of course, cost.

    I think Oakland Athletic’s is perfect for soccer.

    Oakland AC

    Athletico Oakland

    Fremont FC?????

  30. Freemont or Oakland would both work better than San Jose did. I hope the MLS is thinking big ala Northern California, not just “san jose” or “Silicon Valley”

  31. We need to take our time and do this search correctly. Gulati cfannot afford to make a mistake now when Soccer is finally becoming mainstream here in America.

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