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Arena Attacks U.S. Soccer Federation

Former U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena recently claimed that the U.S. Soccer Federation deserves much of the blame for the scrutiny that current national team coach Bob Bradley received in recent months for his potential dismissal from the country’s post. Arena believes that the organization needed to support their current coach more then they did and he also was quite critical of the officials for interviewing former German national team coach Juergen Klinsmann while they were still dealing with Bradley.

Bradley re-signed with the squad on another four year contract last week, but was reportedily interested in a few coaching vacancies in the EPL this season. But Arena believes that the U.S. Soccer Federation waited too long to make a new deal with their current manager and he believes that interviewing a foreign-born coach for the position was insulting to the American-born manager.

Arena fumed the following statement to a Yahoo! Sports journalist:

That criticism comes if you are not given the right support from top to bottom. You need to support your guy and that comes from the top. When that support is not there it brings questions. Whether you like the decision or not, England said ‘Fabio Capello is our guy’ and didn’t deviate from it.

And I can’t really agree with anything that Arena is saying here. First off, you sign a contract for a reason. The reason why you sign the dotted line is because your obligation to the squad lasts exactly that long. The U.S. Soccer Federation has every right to consider new candidates once their current manager’s deal runs out much like the owner of a league team has every right to bring in new talent at the start of a new season for a workout with their club. And considering that Bradley desired interviews with EPL squads that were interested in his services, I’d say the coach deserves the same right to consider his other options at the end of the deal as well.

Waiting to re-sign Bradley should not be considered a fault of the U.S. Soccer Federations, but is simply a formality to the business aspect of sports management. The organization has every right to test whatever waters they want to and once Bradley is no longer employed to be the national team coach he deserves every right to interview for any job that he is invited to interview for. But claiming that interviewing Klinnsmann or bidding their time is a disservice to Bradley’s reputation is ridiculous because the Federation has every right to do exactly that from a business perspective.

I also find the England example to be poorly used considering the FA did a similar disservice to Capello by announcing that they needed some time to consider bringing the Italian-born coach back following their disappointing early exit from the Cup. England did not immediately support their coach like Arena claims (Capello was still under contract too mind you), but instead suggested they needed time to consider their squad’s future. Although the FA never interviewed any other potential replacement or waited over two months to make a decision, it is still the organization’s prerogative to consider a replacement following the event.

But it appears Arena has some real issues with the idea of a foreign-born coach managing the Yanks and the former national team coach and current manager of the LA Galaxy made sure to let everyone know where he stands on the issue of a foreign-born coach potentially taking over the Stars and Stripes squad:    

And I will say until I am on my death bed, the USA should be coached by an American coach. Bob Bradley is the right guy. The worrying thing is that again I think we came close to throwing big money at a foreign coach and I think it would have been a mistake. You need an American coach. You save some money, a lot of money, and you get someone who understands the American way. This country, and soccer in this country, is different to anywhere else. Our players don’t suddenly get better with a foreign coach. They don’t suddenly become Superman. It is a bunch of crap to think otherwise.