In a shocking revelation that absolutely nobody saw coming, Bruce Arena has been hired as the new head coach for the United States Men’s National Team.
The move ends less than 24 hours of speculation following Jürgen Klinsmann’s departure yesterday. While other names such as Miguel Herrera and Marcelo Bielsa were floated as outside chances, Arena emerged as a clear favorite to take charge of a national team in danger of missing the 2018 World Cup.
US Soccer president Sunil Gulati had this to say about the hiring:
“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. 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 expressed his excitement to return to the team he led to the World Cup in 2002 and 2006.
”Any time you get the opportunity to coach the National Team it’s an honor. 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.”
In a conference call, Gulati said that Arena’s contract will run through the 2018 World Cup, although he indicated there were “contingencies” in place, presumably in case the US doesn’t qualify. Both Gulati and Arena said that dual-national players brought into the pool by Klinsmann will continue to be key members of the squad, although for practical purposes the national team camp in January will focus primarily on domestic players.
More on this story as it develops.