Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Umm, I Think Bruce Arena Is Peeved

New Red Bull New York and former US National Team coach Bruce Arena had a little sitdown with SI.com writer Grant Wahl. Let's just say Bruce is madder than a wet cat. I might entitle this article "Bruce Arena, No Holds Barred."

Arena had choice words for many in the US soccer community. It can be summed up in saying the Arena is bitter that he gets all the blame and no credit for WC '06, he thinks Sunil Gulati is not good for US soccer, he thinks he was the greatest thing since sliced bread for US Soccer, and that Carlos Valderrama was the equivalent of Zinedine Zidane.

Arena may have some valid points. He probably does get too much blame for WC '06 and little credit for all that he did prior to that. He also might have some good ideas on how to improve the system. But, Arena can't pout in the corner and not accept any blame. He is acting like a petulant little child that didn't get his way. Know what Bruce, as my parents told me from a very young age, life ain't always fair so get over it. Oh, and no way is Valderrama in the same class as Zidane. It's more like Zizou is a tenured professor and Valderrama is a TA working on his Masters.

But it is better to read what he said and here are some of the best quotes:

Asked about administrative responsibilities in comparison to the USMNT and Red Bull:
There was a lot with the national team. They probably wouldn't give me credit for this, because they'll take credit for everything that went right and nothing that went wrong. But I created a winning organization there and forced their hand on it. Because they didn't know how to win. The organization I inherited in '98 was a failure in every possible area. And we worked to make that better.
Asked if was disappointed in how US Soccer handled his departure Arena said "yeah" and was asked to expound:

Simply because I corrected a lot of things that were their faults and positioned them pretty good. And they're going to find out that position isn't going to be easy to sustain. I took over a mess. And if you ever want to figure out who created that mess, think about that a little bit.
Asked to expand even further on the above question Arena went into what was wrong with US Soccer:

There's too many people who want to be technical directors and soccer experts that aren't. They're micromanagers. U.S. Soccer needs a real thorough technical direction in terms of how you go about doing business in this sport every day, and it's not there. The national training center [at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.] is a joke in terms of a national training center. It's an amusement park.
After saying US Soccer President Sunil Gulati is a "good friend" Arena proceeded to rip him a new one:

I think he's a superfan who now is president. That's the way our organization is. That's unfortunate, and you add another micromanager to an organization that's already micromanaged. I don't think that's necessarily good. He's a guy who loves the game, who wants to be important and be around the world of bigwigs at FIFA, and he's going to get that opportunity.
Then Arena starts really cutting loose and laying into the USMNT and how good he was:

They're going to win the next World Cup, from what I'm told. So I wish them the best. Because we did so poorly over the last eight years, I'm sure they're going to win the next World Cup.
I've probably showed them the finest eight years of the national team they're going to see for a long time. I don't need to prove anything to them.
Then Arena rips into the MLS, the league he will be coaching in come Wednesday:

I don't think the league's as good as it was in the early going. That's my opinion. I think the American player is better, and there's more of them. But I don't think the quality is as good. You don't find too many Carlos Valderramas and Marco Etcheverrys and Roberto Donadonis, those types of players. In all fairness, you have to look at the way the game has grown globally. The price of doing business has gone up substantially. To do it would be very difficult. It would be the equivalent of bringing [Zin├ędine] Zidane or Luis Figo here now.


Ax to the Road said...

As someone who has had the displeasure of interviewing Arena on multiple occasions, I can say he got what he deserved. He's one of the most pompus, ego-driven coaches I've ever run across in pro or college sports. That said, Gulati is a weasel too.

Ben said...

Like you I thought he probably did have some valid points but he comes across as such a bitter whiner that it's tough having any sympathy for him.