Jurgen Klinsmann took the reins of the US Men’s National Soccer Team five years ago and was shown the door this week. Klinsmann was thanked for impact that the organization will feel “for years to come,” according to a statement by US Soccer president Sunil Gulati. Gulati said Klinsmann encouraged the team to “think in new ways.” But what about the old ways? Many believe that’s what’s next for the US Men’s National Team — a return to former coach Bruce Arena.
Klinsmann came in with a strong coaching and spectacular playing resume, having won a World Cup with Germany as a player. Arena played goalkeeper for Ivy League competitor Cornell and earned a single cap for the US Men’s National Team. Born in Brooklyn and probably at least as good a lacrosse player as a soccer player (he played pro lax), Arena is a very different character than Klinsmann. But no coach in US National Team history has been more successful than Arena. Arena currently coaches the LA Galaxy in the MLS, but most insiders peg him as the favorite to take the National Team job he held from 1998 to 2006. In 2002 Arena led the US Team to new heights and a World Cup quarterfinal. His National Teams won 71 games, the most of any US coach.