Monday, September 21, 2015

21 September 1951 - A Bruce Is Born

On 21 September 1951, three-time MLS Coach of the Year Bruce Arena was born in Brooklyn, New York.

Arena was a standout goalkeeper for Nassau Community College in New York, earning All America recognition in 1970 and 1971 for both lacrosse and soccer. After two years, he transferred to Cornell University, where he won the 1972 NCAA Men's Soccer Championship. A short professional stint followed, including a single US cap, but Arena made his most significant impact as a coach.

In 1978, Arena moved to the University of Virginia to coach both lacrosse and soccer (he eventually dropped lacrosse in 1985). He guided the UVa program to prominence, winning five national championships. He left in 1996 to take up the reins at DC United for their inaugural MLS season, winning the MLS Cup twice in his first two years and claiming his first Coach of the Year award in 1997.

In 1998, he left DC to manage the US national team and guided them to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup, their best showing since 1930. But a disappointing group stage exit in 2006 led to his departure. A short stint with the New York Red Bulls followed, but he was sacked after just over a year. He is currently the manager of the Los Angeles Galaxy, where he won his second Coach of the Year award after guiding them to the MLS Cup Final in 2009, then his third in 2011 after winning the MLS Cup. 

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