Tuesday 22 November 2016, 20:38

Arena returns to lead Stars and Stripes

A day after parting ways with former Germany international Jurgen Klinsmann, USA have re-appointed Bruce Arena as head coach.

The most decorated coach in American football history, the 65-year-old will assume the role on 1 December following a successful spell as head coach and general manager of Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy, where he led the Southern California outfit to three MLS Cup titles.

In his first spell as USA coach, Arena led the Stars and Stripes to the quarter-finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™ and was in charge of the Americans when they appeared at Germany 2006. He also led USA to a third-place finish at the FIFA Confederations Cup Mexico 1999, as well as CONCACAF Gold Cup titles in 2002 and 2005.

“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,” US Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a statement. “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.”

“Any time you get the opportunity to coach the national team, it’s an honour,” 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.”

Arena’s immediate task will be to get USA’s World Cup qualifying campaign back on track in the new year following a poor start to the hexagonal stage in CONCACAF after defeats to Mexico and Costa Rica earlier this month. Those results brought Klinsmann’s tenure as USA coach to an end on Monday.