Bruce Arena is getting the band back together. With less than a week remaining before he begins his second stint in charge of the U.S. MNT Arena has named his national team coaching staff, and it is full of familiar faces.
With the U.S. team Arena is taking over in a hole after dropping the first two games of the Hex, the coach’s mandate is straightforward. Qualify for the World Cup in Russia in 2018.
It is no surprise then that Arena, who previously managed the U.S. Men from 1998-2006, would turn to the familiar.
Dave Sarachan leads the newly named staff, all of whom worked under Arena until recently with the L.A. Galaxy. Sarachan is by far the most experienced member of the group, having served as the head coach of the Chicago Fire from 2002 through 2007.
Sarachan is joined on the Arena 2.0 staff by Arena’s son Kenny Arena, Pat Noonan, and goalkeeper coach Matt Reis. Another old U.S. Soccer hand will also be rejoining the fold with today’s announcement that former U20 coach Thomas Rongen has come aboard as the National Team’s Chief Scout.
Arena has yet to release the January camp roster, although with players reporting to Carson, California on January 10, it is fair to say that the players have been notified by now.
Since taking over for Jurgen Klinsmann Arena hasn’t been especially secretive regarding potential camp invitees naming Clint Dempsey, Chris Pontius, Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, Gyasi Zardes, Dax McCarty, Benny Feilhaber, Darlington Nagbe, Keegan Rosenberry, Jordan Morris, and Juan Agudelo at a Facebook event in late December.
Arena has said that he wants to bring Dempsey in for a look after the second all-time leading U.S. NMT goalscorer missed the end of Seattle’s MLS Cup winning season with an irregular heartbeat.
Arena also raised a few eyebrows when he revealed that veteran DaMarcus Beasley is back in the fullback picture and that he intends to bring Kekuta Manneh to Carson if the Vancouver Whitecap speedster’s U.S. paperwork can be concluded in time.
Sticking with January camp tradition the U.S. MNT will wrap up with a friendly match. This year the Americans will face Serbia, January 29, at Qualcomm Stadium in San Jose followed by a CONCACAF showdown with Jamaica on February 3, in Chattanooga, Tennessee in the first two games of Arena’s second go-round with the U.S. MNT.