Bruce Arena returns as USMNT coach, replacing Jurgen Klinsmann

Posted at 5:43 PM, Nov 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-22 17:44:53-05

NEW YORK (WXMI/AP) — Bruce Arena is returning to coach the U.S. national team, a decade after he was fired.

The winningest coach in American national team history, Arena took over Tuesday, one day after Jurgen Klinsmann was fired.

With the U.S. 0-2 in the final round of World Cup qualifying, the U.S. Soccer Federation wants to spark a turnaround when the playoffs resume March 24 with a home game against Honduras.

USA's Jermaine Jones (2-R) is marked by Costa Rica's Celso Borges during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier football match in San Jose, on November 15, 2016. / AFP / EZEQUIEL BECERRA (Photo credit should read EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

USA’s Jermaine Jones is marked by Costa Rica’s Celso Borges during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier football match in San Jose, on November 15, 2016.  ( Photo credit: EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

According to U.S. Soccer, Arena was formally introduced during a teleconference with U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati earlier today.

“Any time you get the opportunity to coach the National Team it’s an honor,” said Arena in a release. “I’m looking forward to working with a strong group of players that understand the challenge in front of them after the first two games of the Hex. Working as a team, I’m confident that we’ll take the right steps forward to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia

Arena coached the USMNT to a 71-30-29 record from 1998 until 2006.

CARSON, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Head coach Bruce Arena of the Los Angeles Galaxy looks on prior to a game against the Portland Timbers at StubHub Center on April 10, 2016 in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Before then, he coached the University of Virginia from 1978-95, then led D.C. United to titles in Major Leagues Soccer’s first two season before losing in the 1998 final.

Arena guided the Americans to the team’s best World Cup finish since 1930, a 1-0 loss to Germany in the 2002 quarterfinals.

He was let go after the team’s first-round elimination by Ghana in 2006.

Following his years with the USMNT, Arena returned to the MLS for a brief coaching stint with the New York Red Bulls before joining the LA Galaxy a year later.

The three-time MLS coach of the year lead the Galaxy to three league titles in 2011, 2012 and 2014.

He’s the only head coach in the MLS to win five championships.

Arena will assume the role on Dec. 1.