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Bruce Arena hired as USMNT head coach

MLS: FC Dallas at Los Angeles Galaxy

Less than 24 hours after Jurgen Klinsmann’s firing, the U.S. Men’s National Team has found his replacement.

Bruce Arena was officially named as head coach of the USMNT on Tuesday and will officially begin on Dec. 1, U.S. Soccer announced on Tuesday.

“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,” said U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati. “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, the winningest coach in USMNT history, previously held the job from 1998 to 2006. Among his accomplishments was guiding the U.S. to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup, the team’s best-ever result in the tournament. He also won two Gold Cups in 2002 and 2005.

“Any time you get the opportunity to coach the National Team it’s an honor,” said Arena. “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.”

The Hall of Famer will take over a USMNT that has zero points through its first two matches in the Hexagonal phase of World Cup qualifying. It’s the team’s worst start in the Hex since it was implemented for 1998 World Cup qualifying.

Arena recorded 12 wins, three draws and five losses in the Hex during the 2002 and 2006 qualifying cycles.


  1. Do think for all the invective we’re going to get a whole lot outta certain players JK developed and recruited.

    Anybody with eyes can tell you Julian Green is breaking through and is WAY MORE talented than anybody we have except maybe Pulisic. I think Bobby Wood’s a real star in the making, and John Brooks is going to be the best CB we’ve ever seen in a USA kit before it’s said and done – and I say that even considering the absolute stinker he put out there in Costa Rica.

    I also think we’ll see more integration of MLS players that maybe were neglected. You’d certainly expect Sebastian Lletget to get a look, maybe Tommy McNamara at NYCFC. Robbie Rogers will probably get a look at left back, as will other MLS guys who actually, you know, play left and right back with regularity.

    Mostly I think you’ll just see a calming no-nonsense, pragmatic approach. I think you’ll see us stick to a 4-4-2 because that’s what we do best right now. And mostly I think you’ll just see Arena stick to formations and lineups and positions that are comfortable. I think you’ll see forwards playing forward, wingers playing wing, 6’s playing the 6, 10’s playing the 10. I think we’ll see our outside back spots being filled by actual outside backs instead of out-of-position centerbacks.

    Progressive? Probably not. But I think tried-and-true, and just plain utilizing the full talent pool we have now will yield some shockingly positive results at the moment, especially if we just get out of this bunch’s way. These guys are collectively FAR more talented and professional a crew than we’ve had before and as long as we don’t complicate things I think they’ll show it.

  2. I love this appointment, Bruce will come in to a much more stacked team than he had in the 2002. He’s a great coach and he has been able to do amazing things by using salvaged players i cant wait to see what he would do with this team. I know a lot of people wanted to see a high caliber or big name coach but that time passed that should have happened last year, with the qualifying being so close its best to bring someone who knows the USA format.

  3. Arena = Epitome of “Old Guard” US Soccer. Spoiled with the LAG where the league literally made up rules to get him the best team. IF we qualify (not convinced Arena will complete this task as so many seem to be assured) I’ve got my fingers crossed that we don’t see a 2006 redux. My gut tells me we will.

    As many have called out on previous threads, Klinsi did a solid job of motivating players up to the 2014 WC. While his tactics & tinkering weren’t liked by all, few “progressive” coaches these days settle on one line-up or formation. Style of play on the other hand is a consistent theme of today’s most progressive coaches however.

    Definitely wish we could have found an Argentinian to coach, Bielsa would have been great. A fresh pair of eyes with top flight experience. Arena is far too ingrained in the way things are with US Soccer to bring our program forward.

    • I see what your point is, but to bring a coach that is not familiar with our players with a new tactical and different international style would have risked the team not making it to the world cup. If to shake things up is the goal we should have left klinsmann there since he shook things more than a japanese earthquake. Maybe after the world cup we can do that because we can take those risk.

  4. It will be interesting to see the contrast. I do think there will be a big one and my opinion is that we will favor Arena.

  5. Our team is a mirror of US Soccer/Gulati…. reactionary… slow of thought-lacking in incisive decision making, initiative or creativity. Watching Sunil make this or any other decision is uncanny in it’s similarity to Beckerman or Bradley at midfield…. receive the ball, pick up head…. look around…. ponder… and then………………… back pass.

  6. I know there will probably be a lot of criticism about this hire, but here is why I think he will do well for us given the circumstances:

    – Familiarity with the player pool.
    – Familiarity with CONCACAF Qualifying.
    – Plays a more structured and disciplined style (at some point we have to admit to ourselves that we still do not have the player pool required to play a more attacking and free flowing style of soccer).
    – Took us further in the WC than we have ever been.
    – Will bring new blood into the team- and hopefully remove Chandler.
    – He has a history of playing youth in big games (LD and Beasley in WC 2002) as well as nurturing youth talent while with Galaxy (Jack McBean, Oscar Sorto, Jose Villarreal, Gyasi Zardes, Raul Mendiola and Bradford Jamieson IV).
    – He is the best coach the US has ever produced (sorry Bob, but it’s true) and his record reflects that.
    – Hopefully he will light a fire under the foreign born players to show some legitimate passion or get out (looking at you FJ and Chandler).

    In the end, the most important thing is to qualify for the WC and perform well while there. I truly believe that each WC inspires a new generation of talent to choose soccer. Just consider that when we went to the WC quarterfinals in 2002 that there was a young and impressionable 5 y/o Pulisic watching. I think Arena can get us to the dance. How we perform there is more of a question mark as he has had mixed results.

    • Hahaha you got jokes man. Bruce has never developed a quality young player, all those names you mentioned cannot even get time on the Galaxy’s first team, and you think he’ll magically help our youth national teams?
      Bring new blood? He literally said he’s not expecting any drastic changes in the current player pool.
      Lack of passion of dual nationals? That just takes the cake, not everyone is demonstrative of how they feel. As long as they give 100% to the team then that’s more than enough, and there’s no evidence that FJ and Chandler don’t do so. You sound like those argentina fans that criticized Messi for not singing the anthem

  7. I don’t think he will dismiss the duel national players. Pretty sure if that was even a remote issue Sunil would have nipped that in the butt before giving him the job.

    Bigger question is what is Sunil’s plan for our future? I think we have been lacking a good technical director for far to long who needs to get heavily involved with the MLS academy systems and push and focus on producing the next generations to come.

    • Bigger question is what is Sunil’s plan for our future? I think we have been lacking a good technical director for far to long who needs to get heavily involved with the MLS academy systems and push and focus on producing the next generations to come.

      Also a great question. Does he actually have a plan? Has anyone asked him to describe, in detail, what that plan looks like?

  8. Would like to know the length of his contract. Is this just to get us qualified, or through the WC, or does he stay on after Russia?

    I’m looking forward to seeing which new players get called in to the team and if/how the playing time of players that Klinsmann was very loyal to is affected. I’m particularly thinking of Jones, Bradley, Chandler, Bedoya and a few others. I’d like to see Kljestan, Williams, Kitchen, Acosta, Nagbe, and Yedlin given more of an opportunity. I think we can assume that once he’s healthy, Zardes will also play a very prominent role on the team.

    • Would like to know the length of his contract. Is this just to get us qualified, or through the WC, or does he stay on after Russia?

      This is a great question. Hopefully a reporter has the capacity to ask or do some investigative journalism to reveal this relevant information.

    • Yeah, the number one fear now has to be, did they sign him up for two cycles causing problems if we don’t want him anymore.

  9. How is this moving the team forward? Arena has been bad for LA thew last 2 seasons and probably overrated before that given his stacked squad. He’s also made xenophobic comments towards dual-national players. But still hoping for the best….

    • LA had a stacked squad? I wouldn’t take this years team in my top 5. I was shocked they made the playoffs in a stacked West. It was Arena playing it smart going for 16 ties and getting in.

  10. Awesome. Now I want to hear the player reaction, as well as the player reaction to the Klinsmann firing. That has been lacking so far. I think we all want to know whether he lost the locker room, and how long the players may have been disillusioned and/or in silent revolt.


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