NEW YORK CITY (Tuesday, October 27, 1998) - U.S. Soccer President Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia introduced two-time MLS champion Bruce Arena today as the new head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team. Arena will make his debut with the team next week on Nov. 6 at Spartan Stadium in San Jose when the U.S. takes on Australia in their first match since the 1998 World Cup.
Arena has won nine championships since 1989, including four with D.C. United of Major League Soccer and five NCAA titles with the University of Virginia, where he coached from 1978 through 1995. He made the transition to the professional ranks in 1996, and subsequently led D.C. United to the first two MLS championships, the 1996 U.S. Open Cup crown and the 1998 CONCACAF Champions Cup title.
"When you look at the criteria we set forth in our search for a new head coach - an American coach with international experience and a complete understanding of the American player - it was clear to me who the most qualified candidate for this position was," said Contiguglia. "Bruce Arena is the perfect fit for the U.S. Men's National Team."
The 47-year-old Arena gained valuable international experience in 1995 and 1996 as the head coach of the U.S. Under-23 National Team, guiding the team to a 15-7-13 record across 35 games, culminating with a 1-1-1 record at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
"This is an exciting time for me," said Arena, who arrived in New York for the announcement after missing out in his bid for a third straight MLS title on Sunday after a 2-0 loss to the Chicago Fire in Pasadena, Calif. "It has been a goal of mine to coach internationally at the highest level and it's a challenge I'm ready for. We have a lot of great young talent in this country and they're going to play a role in our success in the coming years."
Arena will conclude his three seasons with United in the 1998 Interamerican Cup, where he will guide D.C. against Brazil's Vasco da Gama on Nov. 14 and Dec. 5 in Washington, D.C. and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., respectively. Arena and United earned the right to play for the Western Hemisphere club championship by virtue of United's victory in the 1998 CONCACAF Champions Cup.
"The slate is clean for Bruce Arena," said U.S. Soccer Secretary General Hank Steinbrecher. "This is an historic time for U.S. Soccer. For the first time in our history we have a four-year cycle to prepare for a World Cup with all the pieces in place for success: a high-level Division I professional league, a strong Federation, strong sponsor support, media awareness ... All the pieces are in place as we progress toward our ultimate goals of Project 2010: to host and compete for a World Cup championship in 12 years."
Tickets for the USA-Australia match are on sale now through the San Jose Clash at 408/985-GOAL. Tickets are also available at all BASS Ticket Outlets or by calling 408/998-BASS.