Bruce Arena's unmatched experience has paid dividends for Revs

/ by Justin Leger
Presented By VA

Bruce Arena wasn't hired by the New England Revolution just to be the organization's next head coach and sporting director, he was hired to change the culture.

Arena's professional soccer experience dates back to 1973 when the New York Cosmos selected him in the fifth round of the North American Soccer League college draft. He was cut before the season, however, and decided to join the National Lacrosse League until the league folded in 1975. Arena helped the national lacrosse team to a World Lacrosse Championship in 1974.

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It didn't take long for Arena to find his calling as a coach. He was hired as both the University of Virginia lacrosse and soccer coach in 1977, then shifted his focus completely to soccer in 1985. During Arena's 18 years at the helm, the Cavaliers won five national championships (four straight from 1991 to 1994).

In 1996, Arena was hired as head coach of D.C. United and immediately found success. The club won consecutive MLS Cup titles in '96 and '97. Arena's hot start to his professional coaching career led to him being hired as the U.S. national team's head coach in 1998.

Arena's impact on the national team earned him a reputation as one of the most successful head coaches in the history of North American soccer. He led the United States to CONCACAF Gold Cup titles in 2002 and 2005, then again in 2017 during his second stint with the national team. His 81 wins are the most in U.S. history.


In 2006, Arena rejoined MLS as head coach of the New York Red Bulls. He spent a year-and-a-half with the club before being hired as head coach of the LA Galaxy, a position he held from 2008-16. Arena led the Galaxy to MLS Cup titles in 2011, 2012, and 2014.

Following his second stint with the national team, Arena replaced Brad Friedel as head coach and sporting director of the New England Revolution in 2019. The move immediately paid dividends for the Revs, who rattled off an 11-match unbeaten streak and clinched their first MLS Playoff berth since 2014. The following season, Arena led the Revolution -- an eight-seeded underdog -- to the Eastern Conference Final.

The Revs have continued to feel the impact of Arena's leadership and winning pedigree throughout the 2021 campaign. With a handful of games remaining on the regular-season schedule, New England has a healthy 15-point lead in the Eastern Conference standings with a 17-4-5 record.

"Ever since day one he’s brought a sense of success from his history -- something that we can really rely on and learn from," Revs midfielder Scott Caldwell said during the club's 2020 playoff run. "He’s really done a nice job in player management and getting our players playing at the best level possible. That’s what you need from a successful team."

Arena will be the first to tell you the job isn't done, but there's no doubt the legendary coach rejuvenated the club as soon as he stepped foot in Foxboro.