With his incredible success at the professional and collegiate level, international experience with the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team and a reputation as a great developer of talent, Bruce Arena is arguably the only person to match all the criteria set out for the new coach of the U.S. Men's National Team.
With 18 seasons under his belt as the head soccer coach at the University of Virginia and three more in Major League Soccer with D.C. United, Arena has coached 21 seasons at the highest levels of soccer in the United States.
At D.C. United the 47-year-old Arena has had the Midas touch. Despite winning the first two MLS championships and the 1996 U.S. Open Cup, perhaps his finest accomplishment with United was the team's impressive victory in the CONCACAF Champions Cup final over Toluca, 1-0, on Aug. 16 in Washington, D.C. The victory crowned D.C. United as the club champion of CONCACAF, an amazing achievement for a team which didn't play its first game until 1996.
The triumph also put United into the Interamerican Cup, a two-leg battle with Brazil's Vasco da Gama being competed in November and December for the championship of the Western Hemisphere and a berth in FIFA's proposed World Club Championship.
That title, combined with his five NCAA titles, one U.S. Open Crown, and two MLS Cup victories, marked Arena's ninth championship since 1989. To earn his two MLS titles, Arena built the team from scratch after being hired on January 3, 1996 for the team's debut season. That summer, the native of Brooklyn, N.Y., not only led United to victory in the inaugural MLS Cup, but guided the U.S. Under-23 National Team for 35 games through the Summer Olympiad in Atlanta.
With the Olympic team, Arena was widely credited with accelerating the development of a number of U.S. National Team players, including midfielder Claudio Reyna and defender Eddie Pope, both of whom became eventual starters on the USA's 1998 World Cup Team.
In 1997, Arena duplicated his efforts with United, advancing D.C. to a second MLS Cup title to earn MLS Coach of the Year honors. As a two-time MLS All-Star Coach, he guided a team of MLS USA All-Stars to a 6-1 victory over the MLS World All-Stars in Orlando in August.
When Arena took on the professional challenge of guiding D.C. United and the Under-23 National Team, it brought to a close an 18-year career as head soccer coach at the University of Virginia where he built the program into a perennial powerhouse, winning five NCAA Division I championships while amassing a record of 295-58-32. His winning percentage of .808 at UVA ranks among the best ever in collegiate sports, surpassing even legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden (.804).
Arena took over the soccer program at Virginia upon his arrival in Charlottesville in 1978 from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., where he was an assistant lacrosse coach. Inheriting a Virginia program that had enjoyed modest success, Arena ran up a 21-6-3 record in his first two seasons.
In 1980 the Cavaliers finished one-game under .500, but the following year began a 15-year run of winning seasons under Arena. In that time, Virginia appeared in 15 consecutive NCAA tournaments, won the NCAA title five times (including four consecutive from 1991-1994), and dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference by winning the conference regular season and tournament titles numerous times. For his efforts, Arena was the recipient of numerous accolades, including seven ACC Coach of the Year honors and the 1993 National Coach of the Year award.
Arena's previous soccer coaching experience came as head coach of the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., in 1976, and as an assistant at Cornell in 1973. Until he relinquished his duties in 1985 to focus entirely on soccer, Arena was also an assistant men's lacrosse coach at UVA. Arena was an All-American in lacrosse at Cornell University, where he graduated in 1973. He earned All-American honors in both soccer and lacrosse while attending Nassau Community College from 1969 to 1971.
His experience also extends to the playing field, where he competed professionally in lacrosse with the Montreal Quebecois in 1975. A year later he played professionally for the Tacoma Tides of the American Soccer League. In 1973, Arena earned a cap as a goalkeeper in a 2-0 loss in Israel.
Personal: Married to Phyllis, the couple have a 17-year-old son named Kenny and reside in Fairfax, Va. ... Is a past chairman of the ACC soccer coaches and served two three-year terms on the NCAA Division I soccer committee from 1989 to 1995. ... Attended Nassau Community College (1969-1971) and Cornell University (1971-1973). ... Born September 21, 1951 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Collegiate Soccer Coaching Career: Assistant coach, Cornell University (1973); Head coach, University of Puget Sound (1976); Head coach, University of Virginia (1978-1995).
Playing Honors: All-American in soccer and lacrosse at Nassau C.C.; All-American in lacrosse at Cornell; Most Valuable Defensive Player, NCAA Division I Soccer Championships (1972).
Coaching Honors: 1997 MLS Coach of the Year; 1997 and 1998 MLS All-Star head coach.
International Experience: One full cap with U.S. Men's National Team (as a substitute on Nov. 15, 1973, in a 2-0 loss to Israel in Beersheba, Israel). ... Head coach of the U.S. Under-23 National Team which competed in the 1996 Olympics. ... Led D.C. United twice to the CONCACAF Champions Cup (losing in the semifinals in 1997, and winning it all in 1998); also won the Carnival of Champions in Hong Kong and was runner-up in the Sanwa Bank Cup in Japan, both in 1997; will lead D.C. through two-leg Interamerican Cup against Vasco da Gama of Brazil on Nov. 14 and Dec. 5 in D.C. and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., respectively.
|U.S. Open Cup:|
|CONCACAF Champions Cup:|
|Eastern Conference Champions:|
|Eastern Conference Regular Season Champions:|
|ACC Regular Season:|