On Monday, U.S. Soccer made the decision to end the Jurgen Klinsmann era. A day later the hiring of Bruce Arena as new Men's National Team coach became official.
Arena, who coached the national team from 1998-2006, is already the all-time leader for coaching wins with the national team with 71. He took the national team to its best World Cup finish in the modern era, guiding a group that featured a 20-year-old Landon Donovan to the quarterfinals in Japan and South Korea. Arena stayed on for a second cycle, but the U.S. were eliminated in group play despite entering the tournament with a top-10 world ranking.
Most recently Arena was the coach of the LA Galaxy. He won three MLS Cup titles in eight years in LA. Arena also won two MLS Cups, the first two ever, with D.C. United in 1996 and 1997 before joining the national team following the 1998 World Cup.
ARENA: "I'm thrilled to be back with the National Team. I think it's the greatest honor for a coach in our country."— U.S. Soccer MNT (@ussoccer_mnt) November 22, 2016
ARENA: "I told Sunil yesterday that I'm better prepared for this job than I was in 1998, than in late 2002 and late 2006." #USMNT— U.S. Soccer MNT (@ussoccer_mnt) November 22, 2016
The next World Cup qualifier will take place on March 24 against Honduras, but Arena's first camp with the national team will take place in January. Typically this training camp is comprised of Major League Soccer players in the offseason while European players remain in season. In his introductory teleconference, Arena said he plans to "touch base" with the entire player pool before that camp in January.
The domino effect of this hiring could be significant in MLS. The LA Galaxy job is one of the biggest jobs in the league. It is a well-supported team in the country's second biggest market, a history of winning and an ownership group that has proven it is willing to spend with anyone in the league. The Galaxy could be able to poach another MLS coach and force another opening in the league. The club could also look internally and go with one of Arena's longtime assistants.