Bruce Arena has accepted the challenge of rebuilding the New England Revolution, though the legendary American coach is still being quizzed about his last gig.
Speaking Thursday after his appointment as Revs boss, Arena was asked about rebounding from the United States men’s national team’s terrible failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
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It was always going to happen, and his quotes were always going to grab headlines. Arena, for his part, did not disappoint.
“I was actually proud of the job I did in 2017,” Arena said. “We had a great group of players and they worked real hard and we fell short. That’s life, unfortunately. Sometimes people don’t understand that. We played 18 games and lost two of them in 2017. Overall, I think it was a positive experience.”
The Yanks lost two of their final four games in the Hex, gaining just four points. The first loss was at home to Costa Rica and the second was to already-eliminated Trinidad and Tobago’s B Team.
“Certainly, I’m as disappointed as anybody in that failure. I don’t define that as my legacy, personally. I know others do. I’m working and trying to be as good as I can be. I’m 67 years old in a country where the president is in his 70s. His likely competition in the next election is 70-something, so I’m the young kid on the block. Did I have to do this? No. But I love coaching, I love the sport, I love the challenge in building the game in this country; it’s something I’ve done for 40 years and it’s not easy to walk away from. It’s something that’s very important for me and that’s why I’m here today.”
New England fired Brad Friedel last week with the club five points outside the playoff picture, and Arena says the team’s goal is to get back into the postseason discussion.
The Revs have allowed the most goals in Major League Soccer this season, and missed the playoffs by nine points last season. Arena will bring league nous to New England, and he does have weapons in the form of Carles Gil and Juan Agudelo, but success will take time and added talent.