Not even 24 hours after Mike Burns was fired as GM, the New England Revolution have announced their new sporting director and head coach. The 5-Time MLS Cup champion, and winningest coach in U.S. Men’s National Team history, Bruce Arena has earned the spot. Arena, who most recently coached the L.A. Galaxy in 2016, will now headman a Revs team that lost to an Arena-lead Galaxy squad in 2014. Arena’s tenure as a head coach has been stellar outside of his second stint with the U.S. Men’s National Team that saw his squad fail to qualify for the World Cup, although the were able to win the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Bruce Arena began his coaching career at Cornell University, before moving to the University of Puget Sound, and settling into the head coaching role at Virginia, where he would go on to win 5 NCAA National Championships, with 4 straight wins between 1991 and 1994. His exceptional work lead to D.C. United calling for his services in the newly formed Major League Soccer, and won back to back championships for D.C. in 1996 and 1997. The pair of cup victories earned him a job as the coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team, reaching the quarterfinals of the tournament in 2002, a massive accomplishment for American soccer on a world scale.
Arena’s success with the national team transitioned back to MLS as he coached the New York Red Bulls for a season and a half between 2006 and 2007. In 2008, Arena joined the L.A. Galaxy as their head coach, and won MLS Cups in 2011, 2012, and 2014. Arena was replaced by Sigi Schmid after the 2016 season, and would go on to coach the USMNT again, but this time for only a year, as the team seemed to fail to find any rhythm on the international level. All in all, he was named MLS Coach of the year three times, and managed to win the Supporters’ Shield in MLS 3 times as well.
The quality of leadership Arena is bringing to a team that very closely mirrors the 2008 Galaxy team he inherited is much needed, and very well deserved for fans and players alike. His experience in both the front office and on the pitch can hopefully return the Revolution to one of the Eastern Conference’s formidable foes, with Burns and Friedel both finally removed from power. With 2 out of the 3 necessary changes (in my mind) out of the way in order for the Revolution to adapt to the modern MLS climate, all that’s left is for Robert Kraft and his team to find a suitable location to build the new Revolution stadium, and redesign both the crest and possibly even the name of the team entirely.
With a respected name like Arena’s running the show upstairs, his influence on transfers, signings, and player negotiations should certainly run much more smoothly than it had under Mike Burns, and with Robert Kraft finally emptying his pockets to support his MLS team, there’s a massive chance to improve here, and return to relevancy. Arena will officially begin his work with the team on Thursday, in preparation for the team’s match against the Montreal Impact.
Photo: (Matt Rourke/AP)