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Arena: I don’t think there is much I would do differently with USMNT


Bruce Arena’s autobiography is coming out soon and, like any publication from a big controversial name, it reveals some interesting secrets, including what Arena would do differently if given the chance to do it all over again.

“I knew when I took the job that we had a steep road ahead of us,” he wrote in an advance copy of the book provided to the Washington Post. “If I had it all to do over again, I’d take the job again in a second, and even though people don’t want to hear it, I don’t think that, given the limited time I had, there is much I would do differently, either.”

Arena also talks about the firing of Jurgen Klinsmann in the upcoming book titled “What’s Wrong With US? A Coach’s Blunt Take on the State of American Soccer After a Lifetime on the Touchline.”

He tells how the federation began preparing to cixmixx Klinsmann six months before it actually happened, and it almost went down shortly before the Copa America Centenario. He also writes that he was lined up as the replacement that far ahead. “They said it was time for a change,” Arena wrote of a meeting between himself, then U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati, and chief executive Dan Flynn.

However, the change couldn’t come until after the team’s loss to Costa Rica due to a heart surgery and subsequent recovery period for Flynn.

“I had trouble watching the Costa Rica game,” Arena wrote. “Seriously. It was uncomfortable for me to see the U.S. team playing that way, out of sync and at odds with one another, looking as though they didn’t really care all that much. … Those back-to-back losses were a fiasco for U.S. soccer, and no matter how much blame lay at Klinsmann’s feet, it was clear he’d coached his last game for the U.S.”

Arena’s book comes out on June 12.


  1. At least he is honest. He believes he made the right decisions then and so of course he would not change that. What do people expect him to say something like “I knew I should have started Cameron and pushed Bradley further upfield, left Jozy on the bench and started a couple new players for a crucial match against T&T”?

    It did not work out and it may or may not be Arena’s fault, we will really never know that; do you really expect him to say he clearly should have done something else?

    • Yes, a true leader takes responsibility for the results of their group. He doesn’t need to go into specifics or name names, but if he could say something like “we should have adjusted to TnTs tactics” or “we didn’t prepare the team well enough after the Panama match”

  2. “Bruce Arena’s autobiography” = clunker.

    “given the limited time I had, there is much I would do differently” Yeah, of course not, since admitting he’d do things differently, means he made mistakes. Bruce should go into politics where you never have to admit ever being wrong.

  3. This total BS statement that “Given the limited time” just goes to show how much self awareness this bloated cranium assclown lacks…
    It’s not like he inherited a bunch of 18-21 year old amateurs who never played together..
    It’s not like he had no idea who he had to pick from…
    It’s not like he didn’t have plenty of time & games with them..
    Halfway through qualifying we were in 3rd? Tied for 2nd?
    11 points in 8 games Bruceee….
    And if you thought losing to Mexico and CR was the low point of US Soccer- that wasn’t a mandate for you to exceed that level of ineptitude, BUT YUP! YOU DID IT BIG GUY…
    Freakin Clownface

  4. At this point nothing that comes out of Bruce’s mouth surprises me any more. However, the fact that in hindsight Bruce still holds to the belief that he didn’t do anything wrong, nor would he do anything differently highlights why USSF is so screwed up.
    Have to hope that once the GM is finally hired that there will finally be a comprehensive approach to moving forward.

  5. You can add sheer ineptitude to the list of “qualities” Bruce exhibits, in addition to xenophobia, arrogance and a total lack of self-awareness.

  6. Another thing. Conspiracy Alert so this is all conjecture whats coming next.

    Michael’s dad Bob worked for Bruce for years and pretty are much buds within USSoccer and MLS coaching circles. What if Bruce and Bob spoke about this job offer by USSoccer to Bruce back in 2016 when it first was being put out there by Gulati and Flynn. Something like, “Hey, man. Sunil approached me about possibly coming back as US Manager what do you think.”

    Given what Bruce has written in the book about being approached to manage the USMNT again six months before JK was let go do you really think he told absolutely no one? Based on what he says to the media his ego appears to be very large, I could more than imagine that personality type speaking to others he knows within his peer circle about what’s he’s being offered and seeking their council and possible gloating a little about whats coming.

    So next step. Assuming he did speak to others about it including his old collegeuge and long time assitant Bob Bradley. Do you think Bob told no one, including his son who at the time was captain of the USMNT? Oh boy, you see where this going.

    So the question is, what did Michael Bradley know about JK possibly being replaced and when? If he knew did he tell other players in the locker room? Is that part of how JK lost the locker room and their confidence in JK thereby destroying his authority as manager? And, subsequently playing like shit against MX and CR.

    Many reports back in November 2017 were about JK losing the locker room and player buy in and part of the reasoning to replace him was that he couldn’t effectively reach his players anymore. Losing the locker room is something that happens to a lot of coaches at some point. Could rumors and insider knowledge of JK being replaced by BA be one of the reasons why he lost the locker room?” We did even hear rumors on blogs that this was in the works and certainly many poster here where calling for this change long before it happened.

    Of course there were other valid reasons to remove JK not taking that away just pointing out that people do talk and since Bruce has admitted that he was approached about returning as manager surely other knew this was afoot too and did any of that information and insider info filter down the players themselves thereby undermining JK’s coaching authority.

    Possilbe or far-fetched, what do you think?

    • While that is only speculation on your part, the team that made it to the semi-finals of the Centenario sure didn’t look like the same team in the WC qualifiers that followed.

  7. Book’s Title:

    “What’s Wrong With US? A Coach’s Blunt Take on the State of American Soccer After a Lifetime on the Touchline.”

    Answer according to BA:

    “,…I don’t think that, given the limited time I had, there is much I would do differently, either.”

    Waste of paper or Kindle memory IMO.

  8. Why did I click on this?

    We all need to just move on. It was a failure. Finding someone/something to blame only helps if you can change it. The coach has already been changed. In 3 months the WCup will be over for the final closure. If development needs improvement, quite whining and go improve it.

    If Costa Rica or Mexico win it all. Ok, I can whine again. ( Maybe for life there )
    otherwise I just have to move on…and I am doing it now rather than in July.

    The positives, MLS looks VERY good, and the leaps and bound gains, year over year, haven’t even come close to slowing down yet. Guys like Corona are playing at Club America. Many young Americans everywhere look quite a bit better than ever before.

  9. What I’m taking away from this is what an absolute sh**show the USSF executives ran with our soccer. It all seems so primitive and unprofessional. We are not (and maybe never will be) Brazil or Germany, but after the success of the 2002 World Cup team, we graduated into the “2nd tier” of international sides, which is pretty bigtime. And yet here we are 16 years later and still being run like an amateur program, despite millions in revenue! And the worst part is, despite what Flynn, Cordierro, and co. say, nothing seems to be changing! It’s just so disheartening, especially after the fanbase has expanded so much and come so far. A couple years ago, I was witness to an overwhelming USA crowd for a WCQ against Mexico, something I wasn’t sure I would ever see. And now all that momentum feels like it is draining down the toilet. Thanks USSF.

  10. Really? You, with hindsight, wouldn’t have played a 4-2-3-1 knowing you only need a point? You wouldn’t have played Cameron? Or Johnson? You wouldn’t have capped Gonzalez at some point?

    It’s shameful that they were looking to get rid of Klinsmann that early too and then didn’t. Leads me to believe it was known he wasn’t supported and that filtered down to the team.

    • When JK kept up about NT players must move to Europe and play in top leagues instead of MLS that was it, he had to go and they would have done it earlier but dude managed us to the semifinal at the CopaAmerica.

      First JK left MLS/SUM’s biggest marketing job (Landon Donovan) off the WC squad then he starts telling NT players to move to Europe first chance they get. MLS/SUM couldn’t deal with it. Had Flynn not had heart surgery it sounds like he’d have been out before the Copa too.

  11. Not thinking you’d do much different when we missed out is bordering on the definition of insane. Comes across as legacy protection when someone vexed by how it turned out could give you a list.

  12. This is what is and was wrong with Us soccer and hopefully change is coming. If he can honestly believe some of the stuff that comes out of his mouth he needs help. All I hear is “we were put in a tough spot” but win at TnT and your in. I would rather lose at home to Mexico and away at CR everytime then to be embarrassed at T&T. Sounds to me he keeps telling himself it wasn’t his fault and if he keeps saying it somebody else might eventually believe it too. What egotistical ball sac.

  13. One of the most shocking and inexcusable decisions he made was when the team needed a goal to get to the world cup with at least 3 minutes left in Trinidad- and elected NOT to tell the players on the field that we needed a goal. We could have been throwing everyone forward , goalie included, in those moments but instead they had no idea of the situation and played like a team with no urgency. You can watch it in the video and Arena admits as much after the game. The players only realized we were out after they exited the field. WOW Absolutely inexcusable and a great example of the limitations of this 1.0 coach and the failure of the US Soccer Federation to realize that.

    • Yup, I remember that. I would get flamed on here for pointing out his strange call ups(Zusi over Chandler, etc.) and starting xi’s and tactics (rigid 442 diamond). Even said we were in real trouble after that dreadful draw we barely got in Honduras. I would hear rebuttals of he’s undefeated in 10 matches, won the GC, we’re right where we should be due to the hole JK put us in, blah, blah, blah. How quickly we forget the past.

  14. holy sh.. this guy is an absolute dumpster fire and is just shedding more light on how much of mess the federation has been.

  15. At this point, if I see the words “Bruce Arena” in the headline, I can pretty much guess what’s coming in the comments section.

      • I am used to it. Hence the comment.
        I don’t like what happened any more than anyone else. I just think these periodic tantrum sessions are pointless, unproductive, and sad. The milk was spilt in November. I’d rather talk about solutions.

    • And Arena’s self serving comments are pretty easy to predict. It wasn’t his fault and he didn’t do anything wrong. Right!!(sarcasm) The issue is why anyone cares what he has to say at this point.

  16. This is no way to run a railroad. One big concern I have is a seeming repeated pattern of the timeline for US Soccer decisions being driven by the lives, elections, and timing of federation executives. The current coaching search is being held up by bureaucratic BS of presidential elections and creating and hiring for the new GM post. So we get Sarachan til June. And then the suggestion here is that they wanted to go to Arena prior to 2016 Copa America, which would have been during the semifinal round of qualifying, not even to the Hex yet. But some executive needed heart surgery so we let JK dig the hole he did at the start of the Hex. The needs of the team should be going ahead of empowering the federation bigwigs.

    • If it’s true that USSF delayed firing Klinsmann for 6 months due to an exec’s heart surgery that is …. the piece de resistance of USSF’s ineptitude.

  17. Be more self aware Bruce… He was never a better option than JK and never could be. US soccer made a terrible decision in bringing him back and that is all there is to it. I’m tired of him being given a platform. Like he and what he says matters? Especially now? Tuck your tail and fade into obscurity.

    • I voiced a complaint about how US Soccer is being run (below), but I agree that given several games to turn the ship around, and having it in his hands if he can just get a TnT result, I want to discount what Arena says. If he had some specific suggestions I think anyone at this point is all ears — and he likely can and does call up his buddy Sarachan — but in terms of having an obvious grasp of what is necessary, I don’t buy it, he did better initially with a makeshift roster and hyperdefensive tactics, then lost the plot when he got some players back and we seemed to stretch the formation and leave Bradley on an island trying to mop it all up, which he didn’t. The last people whose opinion I am seeking are the captains of the ship that ran it aground.

      • The setup of the midfield was Arena’s major tactical failure. As you pointed out he really isolated Bradley putting the player and team in a vulnerable position. Secondly, I felt his cockiness and complacency set the tone for the entire squad. That complacency manifested itself on that dark day in Trinidad.
        To say he would not do much differently is hard to believe. The 2-0 loss to Costa Rica at home, 1-1 (barely) at Honduras and 2-1 at T&T were all well into Bruce’s tenure. He should have known how to set up the team by that point and any change in result would have us in Russia.

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