With three trips to the MLS Cup Finals (’09, ’11, and ’12) and a Supporters’ Shield trophy, the only things missing from Arena’s tenure with LA is a US Open Cup and a CONCACAF trophy. He’s been successful as a head coach and was able to rescue the the Galaxy from the death spiral it was in at the end of the 2007 season. So is this a good signing?
“We are very pleased to sign Bruce Arena to a multi-year contract extension. Bruce is one of the finest coaches in the history of soccer in the United States. His commitment to the LA Galaxy, the club’s winning tradition and continued excellence on and off the field is unrivaled. We look forward to the team’s continued success under Bruce’s management.” – Dan Beckerman President and CEO of AEG
Some of you are screaming “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MIKE MAGEE TRADE? AND HE GOT RID OF SEAN FRANKLIN!” And to your credit, Arena deserves most of the blame for last season’s lackluster performance. Trading away Mike Magee for an unproven winger is not necessarily good business, but that deal still has some time to pan out. Sean Franklin freed up some much needed flexibility, financially. Rob Friend? Samuel? Ishizaki? You don’t get names like these without making some hard choices. Franklin was one of them.
“I’m honored to remain in this role with the preeminent soccer club in the United States,” said Arena. “I appreciate the continued support and confidence from Mr. Anschutz, Mr. Beckerman, Chris Klein and my staff and players as we head into the 2014 season.” – Bruce Arena
I’ve talked with many of LA’s players and I haven’t heard anything but the utmost respect for Bruce. That’s partly political: you don’t bad mouth the guy who chooses whether or not to play you. But it’s that word — “respect” — that’s the feeling you get from the team. They’re not just tolerating Bruce Arena. They trust him.
Bruce has faced personalities big and small and shaped them, more often than not, into a cohesive unit. Sure, he has his idiosyncrasies. He occasionally picks favorites (Michael Stephens, Leonardo), and believes in them long after anyone else does. And he’s dogmatic in his adherence to a 4-4-2 (to paraphrase Bruce: “It’s just eleven guys on the field”).
“Bruce Arena has played an integral role in the growth and success of the LA Galaxy. His hard work and commitment to our club has helped the Galaxy become the premier team in MLS. Under Bruce, the club has won championships, developed talent and grown as a brand.” Chris Klein LA Galaxy President
I only ask that Bruce makes it a focus to go after the US Open Cup, stops obsessing over Leonardo, and stops his white whale search for a winger.