Bruce Arena looks headed back to the top of U.S. Soccer’s coaching mountain.
Arena is the odds-on favorite to replace Jurgen Klinsmann as head coach of the U.S. men’s soccer team, according to several prominent U.S. soccer reporters. Klinsmann was fired Monday afternoon, and ESPN’s Doug McIntyre and Jeff Carlisle, Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl, Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep and The New York Times’ Sam Borden all used Twitter to indicate Arena will be the next person to lead Team USA.
Arena has coached Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy since 2008. His contract will expire next month, paving the way for him to accept the U.S. job with few complications.
Carlisle and McIntyre reported last week that U.S. Soccer had recently contacted Arena and Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes to gauge their interest in the national-team job. In the wake of Monday’s developments, U.S. Soccer could appoint Arena as early as Tuesday.
Arena, 65, likely will take over on an interim basis with the task of ensuring that the U.S. qualifies for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Team USA won’t play again until March 2017 (against Honduras and at Panama), giving Arena plenty of time to plan for the coming sprint to Russia.
Arena previously coached the U.S. from 1998 to 2006, leading Team USA at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups. Team USA’s run to the quarterfinals in 2002 represents its best showing at a modern World Cup. Arena is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame and has coached a record five MLS Cup-winning teams.
Thumbnail photo via Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports Images