Bruce Arena's Eight-Year Tenure As U.S. National Team Head Coach Ends
Arena Closes Out Successful Stint with U.S .Soccer
as Winningest Coach in U.S. Men’s National Team History
CHICAGO (July 14, 2006) — U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati announced today that the contract of U.S. Manager Bruce Arena will not be renewed when it expires at the end of 2006, ending his eight-year tenure as the team’s head coach. Arena is easily the most successful coach in U.S. Men’s National Team history, compiling 71 victories and a .658 winning percentage, both all-time team records.
“Bruce Arena’s success on the field for the United States is unprecedented,” said Gulati. “But it is more than just the results he has achieved on the field. Simply said, no one has done more to lift the stature and respect of our Men’s National Team programs worldwide. We appreciate Bruce’s years of service to U.S. Soccer, and as we move forward we will be looking for someone to build on the success he has established for our men's program and our organization.”
The decision was made after a five-hour meeting on Thursday at LaGuardia Airport in New York City, between Gulati, Arena and U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn. No timetable has been set for naming the team’s new head coach.
Originally hired on October 26, 1998, Arena guided U.S. Soccer through two successful FIFA World Cup qualifying campaigns, highlighted by the team’s quarterfinal run at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and a first-place finish in CONCACAF qualifying in 2005. Arena also guided the team to two CONCACAF Gold Cup championships (in 2002 and 2005), and to a strong third-place finish at the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup.
"I would like to thank the players, coaches and staff who have been with the program over the last eight years," said Arena. "Their tireless effort has helped transform the national team program into something we can all be proud of, and I am extremely grateful for their commitment. I have thoroughly enjoyed this experience, and I would like to thank U.S. Soccer for the opportunity and their support throughout my tenure. I am proud of how far the organization has come over the last eight years, and I am extremely optimistic about the future of the sport in our country. As for me, I am planning to take some time off to weigh my future opportunities.”
With a record 130 games at the helm of the U.S. MNT, Arena’s teams set numerous records as he compiled a 71-30-29 record in his eight years in charge. Those marks include records for consecutive games unbeaten (16 in 2003-04) and most wins in a calendar year (13 in 2005), as well as for best winning percentage in a calendar year (.750 in 2005) and best goals per game average in a calendar year (2.00 in 2000).
Overall, 117 players played for Arena throughout his time in charge of the USA with 80 players earning their first-ever international experience. The 54-year-old native of Brooklyn, N.Y., also coached the U.S. Under-23 National Team at the 1996 Olympics and is widely credited with accelerating U.S. Soccer’s player development while creating the blueprint for integrating the team’s international rosters with players from Major League Soccer and Europe.