Cornell Athletics Hall-of-Famer Bruce Arena ’73 resigned as the head coach of the United State’s Men’s National Team on Friday after a surprising loss to Trinidad and Tobago eliminated the team from World Cup qualification for the first time since 1986.
Commonly referred to as the most decorated coach in United States’ soccer history, Arena was in his second stint coaching the team when he stepped down Friday morning. In his first stretch, which lasted from 1998 until 2006, Arena led the team to its best World Cup finish since 1930 with a quarterfinal berth in 2002.
Inducted into the Cornell Hall of Fame in 1986, Arena was an All-Ivy first-team lacrosse midfielder and soccer goalie his senior year. As a goalie, Arena was named All-American second-team and the team’s most valuable player in the Red’s historic NCAA Final Four run. He was later drafted by the New York Cosmos in 1973 and played professionally for both Seattle and Tacoma.
Arena began his coaching career at Cornell, leading the freshman lacrosse team in 1974 and the lacrosse Varsity B team in 1978. Later that year, he was appointed head soccer coach and assistant lacrosse coach at the University of Virginia.
After his first run with the Men’s National Team in the early 2000s, Arena coached both the New York Red Bulls and LA Galaxy, winning three titles in eight-plus years with the help of international superstars David Beckham and Steven Gerrard.
This past November, Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann as head coach of the United States’ Men’s National Team. Klinsmann led the team from 2011 to 2016 and was replaced after a disappointing run for what many believed to be a very talented team.
Over the last 11 months following Arena’s return, the team was off to a hot start, winning its first 14 games, but fell apart after stunning losses to Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago. Unsure what the future holds, Arena expressed his gratitude and love for his time with the United States’ Men’s National Team.
“I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I can say this from the bottom of my heart: from the high of reaching the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup to the low of a few days ago; I have appreciated every minute of being a part of this program,” he said in his statement.