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US replace sacked Klinsmann with LA Galaxy boss Arena

The 65-year-old returns to take over ten years after leaving the post.

65-year-old Bruce Arena.
65-year-old Bruce Arena.
Image: Sean M. Haffey

BRUCE ARENAS HAS been named the new coach of the United States following the sacking of Jurgen Klinsmann.

Arena was widely-expected to return to the position he held between 1998 and 2006, during which time he led the States to their best finish at a World Cup in more than 80 years – a quarter-final appearance in 2002 in Japan and South Korea.

The 65-year-old replaces German Klinsmann, who was dismissed on Monday after World Cup qualifying defeats to Mexico and Costa Rica.

“Any time you get the opportunity to coach the national team it’s an honour,” said Arena, who will take over officially on  1 December.

“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.”

US Soccer president Sunil Gulati confirmed Arena’s experience was a deciding factor.

He said: “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.

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.”

Arena holds the record for the most games won by the coach of the USA, with 71 wins from 130 matches.

After guiding the team to Gold Cup triumphs in 2002 and 2005, as well as a place at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, his contract was not renewed with US Soccer stating it wanted a “fresh approach”.

Arena returned to club coaching – he previously led DC United to the MLS Cup in 1996 and 1997 – with a brief stop at New York Red Bulls before linking up with LA Galaxy.

Under his stewardship, the Galaxy won the MLS Cup in 2011, 2012 and 2014 to cement Arena’s place in the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Klinsmann’s five-year tenure came to an end following the humiliating 4-0 defeat to Costa Rica.

It was the nation’s worst loss in a World Cup qualifier since 1957 as the States dropped to the bottom of the Hexagonal, having lost 2-1 at home to rivals Mexico four days earlier.

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