Auf Weidersehn, Arena

Well, that’s it for Bruce Arena’s tenure as coach of the US national team, perhaps inevitable as recreating the success of 2002 was always going to be difficult.

Soccernet.com has a couple of decent reviews of his tenure and departure, as well as a review (written during the World Cup) as to possible replacements. (I for one hadn’t realized that Carlos Queiroz had coached in the US and worked for the USSF.)

For what it’s worth, it seems to me that the USSF should take the only lesson worth learning from the Sven Goran Erikkson era, which is to pair an up-and-coming manager (well, okay, but that was the idea) with the coach to build international experience. So, for example, hire Klinsmann and get Bob Bradley to be the assistant – or hell, maybe even Steve Nicol, he seems to be good at identifying players with talent. There are decent MLS coaches but the American ones need international experience, and it’s worth making a concerted effort to start working in American managers just so that the USSF doesn’t have to go for foreigners every time that they need some kind of improvement in the team.

The most telling thing in those articles, I thought, was quotes from Landon Donovan essentially complaining that teacher was leaving and he might not be the pet. Good. There are enough decent if not great players around the US side now that a reputation — even if, to pick an example at random, you couldn’t hack it in Germany and have been having trouble extending your club form into World Cup play — shouldn’t keep you in the squad. Here’s hoping the replacement for Arena feels the same way.

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