The New England Revolution are moving on from former U.S. men’s national team goalie Brad Friedel — and hiring his former coach.
The team announced Tuesday morning that it had hired Bruce Arena, a former national team coach and five-time MLS Cup champion, as their new head coach and sporting director, after firing Friedel and longtime general manager Mike Burns within the last week.
Currently in last place in the MLS Eastern Conference, the Revs had gone 12-21-13 since hiring Friedel as coach in November 2017. Despite being one of the league’s founding teams, New England has still yet to win an MLS Cup through 23 seasons.
They’re hoping to change that with Arena.
As the coach of the U.S. men’s national team from 1998 to 2006 and from 2016 to 2017, Arena holds the American record for most international coaching wins (81). The 67-year-old’s five MLS Cup championships with D.C. United and the Los Angeles Galaxy is also a league record.
That said, he was also the coach when the U.S. men’s national team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
“Bruce is one of the most successful coaches in American soccer history,” Robert Kraft, the founder and CEO of the Kraft Group, the holding company for the Revs and the New England Patriots, said in a statement Tuesday.
“We feel his commitment to excellence, track record of winning championships in Major League Soccer, as well as his success at the international level, makes him the best person to bring the Revolution back to MLS Cup contention,” Kraft said.
Arena said in a statement that he understands the Kraft family has “high expectations for the club.”
After appearing in the MLS Cup five times in 13 years (including four times from 2002 to 2007), the Revs have missed the playoffs in each of the last three seasons. However, Arena says he believes there is a “tremendous opportunity” for him to create a winning culture throughout the organization.
“Boston is a great sports town with a history of championship teams, and I am looking forward to working with the staff and players to make the Revolution a club that our supporters can be proud of and that can be part of the tradition of success in New England,” he said.
Arena will be the eighth Revs head coach in the club’s history.
According to the team, he will assume all responsibilities as sporting director immediately Tuesday. An exact start date for the beginning of Arena’s duties as head coach are still being determined. He is scheduled to be introduced at a press conference Thursday morning at Gillette Stadium alongside Revolution President Brian Bilello.