After the Revolution suffered a heart-shattering defeat in penalties to NYCFC, Revolution head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena spoke to the media.
After a slew of questions related to the team’s performance throughout the 120 minutes plus penalties, the press conference took a different direction as WPRO’s Tom Quinlan asked Arena about his future with the Revolution. Bruce was not afraid to discuss his future on the Revolution sideline as he hinted at the possibility that Tuesday’s defeat may have been the last we see of the legendary coach’s career.
“My future? I didn’t think about it after the game ended, to be honest with you, but we’ll see,” said Arena. “We’ll see what makes sense. Every day I coach is sort of a blessing. If it ends today, it ends today. It’s not the end of the world. I’m really comfortable with the number of years I’ve been able to coach, and we’ll see if it continues. We’ll see what makes sense. We’ll think about it a little bit, let the owners think about it a little bit, and then we all move forward.”
Arena’s coaching career began in 1978 as he became the University of Virginia’s head soccer coach. During his eighteen years with UVA, Arena went on to win five National Championships, including four straight titles from 1991-1994.
In 1996, Bruce made the jump to Major League Soccer as he became the coach of D.C. United and went on to win back-to-back MLS Cups in 96’ and 97’ while being named Coach of the Year in 1997.
Arena then joined the United States Men’s National Team in 1998 and became the program’s most successful coach to date. Arena would assist the US to Gold Cup wins in 2002 and 2005 while taking a team viewed as underdogs to the quarterfinals. Arena’s 75 wins from 1998 to 2006 not only propelled the US to fourth in FIFA rankings but put him atop the program’s all-time leader and wins.
Bruce would return to Major League Soccer in the summer of 2006 as he took the coaching position with the New York Red Bulls. Arena’s tenure in New York would be short-lived as both sides agreed to part ways in November of 2007.
In the summer of 2008, Arena would accept the coaching position with the Los Angeles Galaxy, where he took them from the bottom of the table in 2008 to nearly winning the MLS Cup just a year later. During his eight years with the Galaxy, Arena won two Supporters’ Shield titles, two Coach of the Year awards, and three MLS Cups.
Arena would make his return to the US National Team in November of 2016, where he went on to win a third Gold Cup in 2017. Although Arena had tremendous success during his second stint with the US, things changed on October 10th, 2017. Needing just a draw against Trinidad and Tobago, the US collapsed as Trinidad and Tobago upset the US with a 2-1 victory as the United States failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Arena would resign from the USMNT days after the defeat.
After a few years away from coaching, Bruce Arena made his return to coaching as he arrived in New England during a volatile time in the spring of 2019. At the time, the Revolution sat in last place with a 3-8-2 record. Arena changed the course upon arrival as he and the Revs moved up the table and into 7th place and earned the club their first playoff appearance in four years. Unfortunately, Atlanta knocked them out in the first round.
Like many, Arena and the Revs faced a mountain of adversity on and off the pitch. The Revs were able to stay strong as they clinched a spot in the play-in where they knocked off Montreal thanks to a late winner in stoppage time from Gustavo Bou. The Revs went on to pick up two crucial wins on the road against tough Philadelphia and Orlando to punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals. Although they fell short against Columbus, it was an encouraging sign that Arena took into the 2021 season.
Thanks to Arena’s leadership, the Revs went on a tear in 2021 that saw them break the record for most points in a season while clinching the club’s first Supporters’ Shield trophy. Although the Revs did not finish the 2021 season as he hoped, Arena most certainly has to be proud of what the club accomplished during the season.
There is no doubt about it. Bruce Arena will go down as one of the greatest American soccer coaches ever. If this is the end of Bruce Arena’s coaching career, it has been a phenomenal run for the Brooklyn native.
While Bruce Arena may not be present on the sidelines, it appears that Bruce will still fulfill the Sporting Director duties he took on when joining the club in 2019.