CARSON, Calif. (Wednesday, November 11, 2009) – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was today named the MLS Coach of the Year by Major League Soccer. In his first full season with the Galaxy, Arena helped lead the Galaxy to a 12-6-12 record and a first place finish in the Western Conference, giving the club their first postseason berth since the 2005 season. Arena claimed the award after garnering the most votes in polling of MLS players, general managers, coaches and members of the media.
This is the second time in Arena’s distinguished coaching career that he has been named the MLS Coach of the Year, first winning the award in 1997 with D.C. United when he led them to the best record in MLS and their second MLS Cup in as many seasons. He joins Bob Bradley, who replaced Arena as the head coach of the U.S. National Team, and Seattle Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid as the only two-time winners of the award.
Arena, 58, was named the Galaxy’s head coach on August 18, 2008, replacing the recently departed Ruud Gullit. He helped guide the club to a 2-5-3 record in his 10 games in charge at the end of the 2008 season. Following his initial season in Los Angeles, Arena overhauled the Galaxy roster, with 16 of the 26 players on the club’s current roster having joined the club since the end of the 2008 season.
With his new look roster in place, Arena guided the Galaxy to a club record 12 shutouts in the regular season and just 31 goals allowed, exactly half of the league-worst 62 goals that they conceded in 2008. Arena’s improvements paid dividends in the attack as well, with the club receiving nine goals and 15 assists from players that he brought in following the 2008 season.
He began his MLS coaching career in 1996 with D.C. United, helping lead the club to the 1996 and 1997 MLS Cup championship. Following the 1998 MLS season, he was named the head coach of the U.S. National Team. He would hold that position for eight years, helping the Red, White and Blue reach the quarterfinals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup as well as a berth in the 2006 World Cup. The all-time leader in wins amongst coaches in U.S. National Team history, he tallied a 71-30-29 record with the National Team, leading the U.S. to the 2002 and 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup titles, as well as a third place finish at the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup.
In August 2006, he was named the head coach of the New York Red Bulls, taking the club to a pair of postseason appearances before departing the club following the 2007 campaign.