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Leiweke on Arena being Galaxy coach: “He’d be the ideal guy to come in here”


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With the rumors of Bruce Arena joining the Los Angeles Galaxy growing by the day, the sight of Arena in the Galaxy box at Home Depot Center for Thursday night’s match between the Galaxy and Chivas USA gave the talk even more life, but not nearly as much as comments made by AEG president Tim Leiweke about Arena during the ESPN broadcast of the match.

Leiweke met with Arena on Thursday, clarifying that the meeting was not an interview, but a meeting of friends to discuss how to fix the problems LA is dealing with. If Leiweke’s comments about Arena are any indication, it sounds as if the Galaxy coaching job is Arena’s to accept or turn down.

"No bones about it, if I could convince Bruce to join AEG and join the Galaxy, he’d be the ideal guy to come in here," Leiweke said. "There’s not a better candidate. There’s not a better potential coach. He knows more about the game. I have more respect, Mr. Anschutz has great respect for Bruce, so we’d be honored to have him.

"Whether or not that happens, time will tell."

As for whether Arena is a contender to replace Ruud Gullit as head coach:

"You don’t look at a guy like Bruce as a contender," Leiweke said. "We’d be honored and privileged if Bruce was part of the organization, but the conversation tonight was really geared toward his input toward and his feelings towards what we’ve done right and what we’ve done wrong with this franchise."

Based on Leiweke’s remarks, the right thing for the Galaxy to do would be to offer Arena the head coaching job:

"In my opinion, you have to look at Bruce and believe that this is the best coach that this league has ever had," Leiweke said. "I don’t think he’s lost anything so it would be fantastic for this franchise if we could convince Bruce to join us here, but as I said, we have a ways to go before we’re going to know whether or not that’s the direction we or he are going in."

Leiweke stated that the process to hire a coach should be wrapped up soon.

"This won’t take long," Leiweke said of the search for a new Galaxy coach. "We owe the team and the fans a quick conclusion to this process."

What do you think of Leiweke’s comments? Is it fair to say the Galaxy will all but beg Bruce Arena to take the Galaxy head coaching position? Is Arena ready to come back to the MLS coaching ranks? Do you think Arena can lead LA to the playoffs? Would hiring Arena be a mistake?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. You failed to ask one important question. After what Bruce witnessed against Chivas USA does he want to get involved with a team that seems to be ‘taking on water’ as it sinks. As a season ticket holder I’m very frustrated in the complete shambles this club seems to be in. We have lost the GM and coach, yet some players remain that these two individuals brought in, so some of their baggage remains which I have thought to be a large problem from the start. The Galaxy really needs to tidy up the roster a bit, I’m not sure it’s all going to get fixed by naming Bruce or anyone else as coach without these things are done. I would love to see Bruce be given the GM and the coaching job. His understanding of the MLS would be so valuable as a GM…….. We’ll see what happens…….

  2. If I’m Arena, I come nowhere near the Galaxy, no matter how much money AEG is offering, unless they give me total control over the soccer side (hiring a coach and a director of soccer). There’s no way Leiweke is going to relinquish that much control. Hiring Arena as a coach, then hiring a president/GM who might not get along w/him is asking for more of the same.

    You know what? Perhaps Leiweke wants to instill confusion and dissention in the front office. After all, how did he handle the Lalas-Yallop and Lalas-Gullit flareups before Monday? Some people like to play “divide-and-conquer” to enhance their own positions and reputations. Given that he’s a gross incompetent when it comes to team management, Leiweke probably uses that technique to survive.

    Soccer fans, this isn’t about Arena, the fans or even the Galaxy. This is about Leiweke, pure and simple, and his desire for power and survival.

    Besides, why do you think AEG is infatuated w/”star” coaches? Not just because AEG is infatuated w/the Galaxy becoming a “super club” but also because hiring such a coach justifies Leiweke’s presence in team management. If I were Anschutz, I would have fired that sleezebag two centuries ago.

  3. I’m late on the conversation…but can some of you Cobifans tell me why we would let Cobi Jones be head coach? Been a Galaxy fan for a while now, I like him, but I just don’t see him as head coach.

  4. As a friend of mine pointed out, didn’t Leiweke say the same thing about Lalas before hiring him? And didn’t NYRB make the mistake of hiring Arena to replace him (okay, 1 gm off him, but still…)? Dude, as a history major, this one is a textbook example of learning from your mistakes of the past…

  5. Bruce is a bad fit for LA. His early successful stints at VA and DCU, with his promotion to USNMT and seeming success in the 2002 WC all went to his head. He’s been in freefall since then with a disaster of a 06WC, not just in terms of results, but really in terms of losing the team. Instead of learning from the experience, he rebounded too quickly to the NYRBs with a chip on his shoulder against all naysayers. That didn’t work out too well. So, while Harkes was talking about Bruce wanting to redeem himself in LA after those last two stints, I’m not convinced that he has had the kind of introspection to refocus and be a successful coach again. The NYRB players weren’t very sad (like the LAG players with Gullitt) when Bruce left NY. With the mancrush Leiweke pour out last night, I’m not sure the accountability is in place to push Bruce to become the coach he once was. As it is, Leiweke is the architect and the primary person to blame for the state of LAG affairs. Like Tim F notes, what will he say of Bruce when he runs out of patience and fires him. If Bruce takes the job, I predict he will “resign” after the 09/10 season, with the LAG finally making the plays as the 8th or 7th seed and getting knocked out in the first round.

  6. For Bruce’s sake, I hope he doesn’t take it. It seems like being the coach of the Galaxy these days is like being the coach of the England national team. 1) Ridiculously over-the-top, unrealistic expectations. 2) Major excitement over signing a “great new coach” 3) Total vilification of the coach after not meeting the aforementioned expectations. 4) Forever remembered as a disappointing failure.

    I love how all the same people who said Gullit was such a great coach and such a great choice by the Galaxy are now saying the exact opposite and pretending that they thought Gullit was a bad choice all along.

  7. kezbach,

    If you’re going to blast someone for their spelling, you probably shouldn’t leave an apostrophe off the most important word in your sentence.

  8. I think Bruce is a good coach, but this is a terrible, TERRIBLE fit. Here’s what we know about Bruce:

    – He’s got a huge ego. That’s not going to mesh well with Beckham’s huge ego.

    – He doesn’t love the media. LA is the biggest media circus in American soccer.

    – He’s not a huge fan of young players. With a few exceptions, LA has nothing but young players.

    Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad idea.

  9. re: JCO terribly overestimated his ability to recognize talented players, and thought his coaching skills would allow him to put players in positions they were ill-suited for and still win. The result has been largely unwatchable.


    JCO has not had a full season to be evaluated, and he had the patience to wait until worthwhile players became available. His best two strikers: 1)sold 2)injured and just now coming into form. Your judgement is entirely unfair. The goal in MLS, as in most American sports, is to get into the tournament (playoffs) with all the pieces in place. He may yet do that.

  10. The situation in LA is not that bad. This year yes, next year no. Their issue is the burden of those extra DPs (Ruiz and Donovan) that they’re carrying. Other than that they’ve had no trouble attracting players. An added luxury of the Beckham publicity/draw. With both on their way out (Ruiz for certain) they could rapidly reconstruct that team into a contender.

    As for the Bruce he has been successful everywhere but NY. NY has never been successful despite a gazillion coaches including the current National Team coaches of both the US and Portugal. Hmmmmmm….maybe its not Bruce’s fault.

    Arena would be great for them. They should also start rebuilding now if they can get a couple of pieces that would help them BUT the Gibbs / Lewis choice leads me to believe they won’t do that.

  11. I really don’t know what to think about this but I would like to see Bruce take the GM job and help Cobi become a good coach and have Cienfuego become the assistant coach of cobi jones. I think those who are Galaxy Fan would like this cause this two guys are Icons in this Team. Bruce is a good coach I don’t think he is the Best, I really don’t know if he has good eye for newcomers in this league I still remember his choices with the REDBULL ask coach and GM, plus he never used young players in the USNMT. I’m a big fun of Galaxy I hope they do the right thing this time. GIVE COBI AND CIENFUEGO A CHANCES AT UNTIL THE END OF THIS SEASON….

  12. I don’t know if this would be a smart move for Arena. This seems similar to the NYRB situation. He’ll be coaching a team that he can’t possibly do much with in the near term, but will be expected to produce results yesterday.

    He has already been unjustly slammed twice.

    In addition to NYRB he took all the “blame” for the U.S reaching number six ranking in the world, before a “good” coach took them back where they belong. (#31)

  13. Bruce knows the keys to success are a serious front office, with serious focus on training grounds, willingness to spend on resources, etc. I think he thought he had that going in to RBNY, but… At LA he’d have the facilities and support from the start. I bet he comes in as GM. I agree both posts might be too much to do either well.

  14. the question is not if Arena is joining the Galaxy. The question is is he going to be the head coach or is he the team president. I was a fan of Arena but based on what happened last season at RBNY, i think Arena should stick to one post. Probably General Manager. Also, Im thinking LA may need a coach that can motivate and gain the respect of the locker room.

  15. Thanks ESPN for letting us in on Leiweke’s man crush on Bruce Arena. It was great to listen to your repetitive questions for 20 minutes in the broadcast booth while a game was going on. I have an idea, do a half hour MLS show before the game to talk about the MLS. While the game is being played try to pretend like you care.

    I think hiring Bruce Arena is a horrible hire that doesn’t have anything to do with product. It seems to be chasing a name. I hope that MLS doesn’t get into the same pattern the NFL has gotten into by hiring SOWGS (Same Old White Guys). Wow lets hire that guy he was partially successful at his last coaching job, I have heard of him. He is a lot like me a successful white guy that I can chat with.

  16. “For whatever reason, Juan Carlos seems to be (read: perception of) getting more out of New York players and doing more for the club than Bruce did.”

    I think that Arena’s approach in NY left a lot to be desired, and the fact that he stuck us with Reyna in that stupid deal is a permanent black mark on his record, but JCO is NOT getting more out of players than Arena did. Under Bruce, this team was a solid 3rd place finisher, only a few notches behind 2nd place DC, but they are tied (with KC) for last this year.

    JCO terribly overestimated his ability to recognize talented players, and thought his coaching skills would allow him to put players in positions they were ill-suited for and still win. The result has been largely unwatchable.

  17. I don’t know what went wrong between the Red Bulls and Bruce — I actually thought Bruce would get another year to try and make it work but that was cut short. For whatever reason, Juan Carlos seems to be (read: perception of) getting more out of New York players and doing more for the club than Bruce did.

    Is this because Bruce was burnt out and now his batteries are recharged? I’m guessing that is the case; in which case, I think Bruce would be a good coach for most MLS teams seeking a coach. If Bruce is still burnt out then offering the job to Bruce would not be a good idea.

    Is today the transfer window deadline? If so, is it to late for the Red Bulls to get G. Torres?

  18. As a galaxy fan I feel as if we owe it to Cobi to really give him a legit chance to see if he can pull us out of this rutt. I think that all of the coaches would be a wrong move.

  19. i dont have an opinion about bruce going to LA.

    but i do have an opinion about casey keller being signed by the future MLS seattle sounders FC. worst idea ever. what makes them think he is going to do the sounders any good. chris eylander currently is one of the top keepers in the country and i know he would love to play and stay in seattle.

    just like a seattle team to blow it with their signings. very dissapointed seattle fan here.

  20. Why would Bruce subject himself to the circus that is LA? For the sake of the league I hope that if the Galaxy do hire him, he’ll turn the club around and hopefully it won’t two years of Arena sitting on the bench with his arms crossed like WC 2006 and RBNY.


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