Arena returns as coach of U.S. national team

Tue Nov 22, 2016 4:06pm EST
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By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) - Bruce Arena has been handed the tall order of getting the United States' qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup back on track after being named head coach of the national team, U.S. Soccer said on Tuesday.

Arena, a five-times Major League Soccer champion coach who is taking over for the recently fired Juergen Klinsmann, is no stranger to the U.S. national team having been at the helm from 1998-2006.

Considered by many to be American soccer's greatest coach of all time, Arena's previous stint with the U.S. team included a run to the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup, the country's best result in the tournament since the inaugural event in 1930.

"I don't view it as Bruce II but Bruce 2.0," said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati during a conference call to introduce Arena. "I think he has far more experience than he did with the national team the first go around and has proven and reproved many times at all levels of the game in the United States that he is an extraordinarily capable and successful coach."

Arena, who will be in charge of the U.S. team through the 2018 World Cup, will assume his new role on Dec. 1.

He takes over a U.S. squad sitting dead last in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, also known as "The Hexagonal," after last week's stunning loss to Costa Rica, which came on the heels of a home loss to Mexico.

Arena has a long history of success and was at the reigns for the two best dynasties MLS has seen.

Prior to his first stint with the U.S. national team, Arena coached D.C. United to consecutive MLS Cup victories during the league's formative years.   Continued...

Dec 7, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena instructs against the New England Revolution during the first half in the 2014 MLS Cup final at Stubhub Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports