Arena resigns as coach of the Red Bulls
SECAUCUS, N.J. -- Former U.S. national coach Bruce Arena resigned as New York Red Bulls coach and sporting director Monday, two days after the team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year.
Arena made the decision after talking with Red Bulls manager director Marc de Grandpre.
"Marc and I discussed the direction of the team and decided mutually that this was the best move for Red Bull New York," Arena said in a statement. "I wish the organization the best of luck going forward."
When reached by The Associated Press, Arena said he would not comment further on the resignation. De Grandpre said there was a confidentiality agreement between Arena and the Red Bulls.
Arena's resignation was the second of the day by a prominent Major League Soccer coach. Frank Yallop quit the Los Angeles Galaxy after coaching David Beckham this season to return to San Jose for a second stint in charge of the Earthquakes.
Arena led the team to a 12-11-7 record and third place in the Eastern Conference. The Red Bulls were eliminated on Saturday in the playoffs by the New England Revolution, losing 1-0 in a two-game aggregate goal series.
Arena compiled a 16-16-10 regular-season record with the Red Bulls. He made his coaching debut on August 12, 2006, in a friendly against UEFA Champions League winner FC Barcelona. His MLS debut with the team was four days later against D.C. United.
He posted a 4-5-3 record in 2006 after replacing interim coach Richie Williams, who took over when Mo Johnston was fired. However, the team was eliminated by D.C. United in the opening round of the MLS playoffs.
"I met with Bruce this morning to discuss the team and we decided it was in the best interests of the organization to part ways," de Grandpre said. "We made progress this season, but it was not where we wanted to be."
Arena was hired as the U.S. coach in late 1998 after a successful career as a college and MLS coach. He led the U.S. team to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup, its best performance since 1930.
But with raised expectations, the Americans were eliminated from a tough first-round group in the 2006 World Cup and played poorly. Arena's contract was not renewed by U.S. Soccer.
In 130 games with the national team, Arena was 71-30-29. Before that, he won or shared five NCAA titles as coach of Virginia and won two MLS championships and the CONCACAF Champions Cup with D.C. United.
Arena's departure means more instability for the Red Bulls, a team that has had 10 coaches in 12 seasons and hasn't advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs since 2000.
"I understand there's been numerous coaches in this franchise's history. I've only been responsible for one," de Grandpre said. "Stability is important, but with the amount of resources we've committed, we expect results quickly. Bruce was responsible for the entire soccer operation from soup to nuts, and we obviously didn't achieve what we wanted to this year."
Yallop's jump to San Jose means the Galaxy will receive San Jose's third-round pick in the MLS SuperDraft as compensation.
"We felt that he was the right man," Beckham said in breaking the news Sunday night. "We felt that he's a good manager and a strong character with the team."