SSBG

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Arena out, U.S. national coach’s eight-year run comes to an end

Posted by ssbg on July 14, 2006

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NEW YORK (AP) — Bruce Arena is out as coach of the United States men’s soccer team less than three weeks after the Americans’ first-round exit from the World Cup.

U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said Friday that Arena’s contract would not be renewed when it runs out at the end of the year. A search for a replacement will begin immediately, Gulati said, adding that no potential candidates have been contacted.

“Bruce expressed a desire to continue. I’m sure he’ll have opportunities. He had a great opportunity before the World Cup, but he didn’t want to be distracted,” said Gulati, who didn’t specify what opportunity Arena had.

“No doubt there will be multiple opportunities in the soccer world in the U.S. and outside if he wants them.”

Arena, who coached the U.S. for eight years, leaves as the most successful coach in the history of the national team, having won more than twice as many games (71) as any of his predecessors.

He guided the United States to two CONCACAF Gold Cup titles and two straight appearances in the World Cup. But the latest trip to soccer’s biggest tournament was a disappointment, with the United States being eliminated following a 2-1 loss to Ghana in the first round in Germany.

“Eight years is a long period,” Gulati said. “I’m not saying we need to change direction, the direction Bruce set is very positive. But having a fresh approach, after eight years, which is a very long time, is the strongest factor.”

Gulati said the U.S. will schedule exhibition games later this year and Arena would be the coach if a replacement is not found. Any potential coach from MLS likely would not be available until after the season, which concludes with the championship game Nov. 12.

Gulati praised Arena for his accomplishments and said he had done “an extraordinary job.”

“I am proud of how far the organization has come over the last eight years, and I am extremely optimistic about the future of the sport in our country,” Arena said in a statement released by U.S. Soccer. “As for me, I am planning to take some time off to weigh my future opportunities.”

Juergen Klinsmann, who resigned as coach of Germany on Wednesday after guiding his native country to a third-place finish at the World Cup, has been mentioned as a potential replacement, but said he has no interest. Klinsmann lives in California near the U.S. team’s main training base at the Home Depot Center in Carson.

Other possible replacements include Arena’s assistant, Glenn “Mooch” Myernick, as well as Sigi Schmid of the Columbus Crew, Dave Sarachan of the Chicago Fire and Bob Bradley of Chivas USA.

Gulati, who was elected president of the U.S. federation in March, said any future coach would need “some knowledge of American soccer, experience, leadership, a track record of success.”

“Does Juergen Klinsmann have those qualities? He probably does,” Gulati said. “He’s had success with the German team; he has a much better handle on American soccer scene than someone who hasn’t spent time here; he’s inquisitive. He’s an intelligent guy, multilingual with a lot of very positive qualities.”

Before taking over as manager of the United States, Arena also won or shared five NCAA titles as coach of Virginia, won two Major League Soccer championships with D.C. United and also claimed the CONCACAF Champions Cup with D.C.

After replacing Steve Sampson following the United States’ last-place finish in the 1998 World Cup, Arena finished with a 71-30-29 record in eight years as coach of the United States, easily surpassing Bora Milutinovic, who went 30-35-31 from 1991-1995. Sampson had a record of 26-22-14 from 1995-1998.

From: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/soccer/07/14/arena.out/index.html

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