As the team with the most championships at the Algarve Cup since its inception in 1994, the U.S. Women’s National Team has certainly produced on the field, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t enjoy their time off it. Here are six memorable clips from the U.S. WNT during their previous trips to the Algarve region:
Portugal 101 with HAO: Heather O’Reilly’s tour of Albufeira in 2009 once again proved her worth as a tour guide and gave fans a look at the area where the U.S. team stayed for years at the tournament. It seems her degree in education is definitely paying off, although her cartography skills could use a little work. To learn the basics about Albufeira and the U.S. WNT’s experience there, give this tour with HAO a watch. If you enjoy O’Reilly’s tour guide skills, here is a similar video when she showed us around Guangdong Olympic Stadium in China way back in 2007.
Secret Diet of Champions: Watch the U.S. WNT players treat themselves with these made-to-order crepes in 2007, followed by an attempt at a crepe-making from defender Heather Mitts. The final result received rave reviews from the team, even Aly Wagner, the ultimate crepe critic. (Warning: This crepe making and eating might produce hunger and crepe cravings.) But as shown in the video, “the bananas make it healthy,” and helped spur the U.S. WNT to a title that year.
Life of Two Souvenir Connoisseurs: Watch Megan Rapinoe and Lori Lindsey as they spend the afternoon souvenir shopping near the U.S. WNT’s hotel in the Albufeira, Portugal, in search of a perfect gift for each other.
Creative Soccer Tennis: Tobin Heath and Yael Averbuch got creative with their soccer tennis at the team’s hotel in Portugal in 2013. Hopefully the other guests didn’t mind too much as Heath and Averbuch turned the location into their own personal playground. Watch as they use people, pillows, chairs, plants and swimming pools as their net before winning the 2013 Algarve Cup.
The Other 2009 Algarve Cup: The spirit of the 2009 Sandcastle Competition forever lives on within the rivalries among the forwards, midfielders, defenders and goalkeepers. The sandcastle building teams, divided by position, put forth total effort, but alas, there could only be one winner. Watch as the champions celebrate and attribute the win to their excellent teamwork.
Can You Spell Pelada? Heath and Averbuch entertain yet again in their 2011 Trick Shot Battle. The “goal” was to spell pelada, the Portuguese word for a kick-around or pickup game. They earned letters by scoring trick shots, and whoever got to all six letters first wins. Also, watch the video that started it all, the original Ball Trick Battle from 2006 featuring Heath and Casey Nogueira.
CHICAGO (November 22, 2016) – U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati has named Bruce Arena as the new head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team. The most decorated head coach in American soccer history, Arena most famously guided the U.S. to its best finish in the World Cup in more than 80 years with a quarterfinal appearance in 2002 and returns to the job where he amassed the most wins of any coach in U.S. MNT history.
Arena, who will assume the role on Thursday, Dec. 1, will be formally introduced during a teleconference with U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati on Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET.
“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,” said Gulati. “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 honor,” 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.”
The Most Accomplished Coach in U.S. MNT History
Arena steps back into the job that he held over an eight-year tenure from 1998-2006. With a record of 71-30-29, the Brooklyn-born manager is by far the winningest coach in U.S. MNT history as well as the only head coach to lead the USA at two FIFA World Cups.
His crowning achievement came at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan, where he led the MNT to a 3-2 upset of Portugal in their opening match before advancing out of the group and earning a 2-0 shutout against Mexico in the Round of 16. Benefiting from the experience of his previous World Cup Qualifying campaign, the U.S. MNT advanced to the 2006 FIFA World Cup with relative ease, booking a place in Germany with three matches to spare in CONCACAF’s Final Round. Drawn into the ‘Group of Death’, a nine-man U.S. squad put in a gutsy performance to earn a 1-1 draw against eventual World Cup champions Italy.
Arena also led the U.S. to its second and third regional titles with championships at the 2002 and 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cups, as well as a third-place finish at the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup.
A History of Success
Beyond his National Team tenure, Arena has found success along every stop of his 40-plus year coaching career. The Long Island native won five NCAA Division 1 National Championships with the University of Virginia, including a still-standing record of four-straight from 1991-94.
His collegiate coaching tenure led him to his first international job, taking the reins of the U.S. U-23 team leading up to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta where Arena guided the USA to a respectable 1-1-1 showing. Arena balanced his U-23 duties with his head coaching role of D.C. United in the inaugural year of Major League Soccer and helped to turn the club into the nascent league’s first true powerhouse. D.C. won four domestic titles on Arena’s watch – the 1996 and 1997 MLS Cups, 1996 U.S. Open Cup and 1997 Supporters Shield – as well as international hardware with the 1998 CONCACAF Champions Cup and 1998 Interamerican Cup.
Following his eight-year tenure with the U.S. Men’s National Team, Arena returned to club coaching for a brief stint with the New York Red Bulls in 2006-07, before joining the LA Galaxy the following year. In LA, Arena worked to make the Galaxy the premier club in MLS, coaching the side to three MLS Cup titles in 2011, 2012 and 2014, as well as two Supporter Shield wins in 2010 and 2011. As the only five-time MLS Cup winning head coach, Arena has worked with numerous coaches throughout his time in Major League Soccer, serving as a mentor to many.
A three-time MLS Coach of the Year winner, Arena was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2010 and five years later was named the recipient of the of the prestigious Werner Fricker Builder Award, the highest honor that an individual can receive from the U.S. Soccer Federation.Read more