BOSTON (CBS) — Bruce Arena was introduced as the new head coach and sporting director of the New England Revolution on Thursday, and he has just one goal in mind.
“This is such a great sports town, and we want to elevate the Revolution on par with these other great championship teams in Boston,” Arena said at his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Thursday. “It’s a great challenge and I feel great about being in a great city with great ownership with great potential. I look forward to moving the Revolution forward and I can assure you we are going to work real hard to make things better.”
New England fired Brad Friedel last week after a 3-8-2 start to the season, and they currently sit in last place in the Eastern Conference. They could certainly use a new leader with Arena’s pedigree, and it didn’t take long for the hire to come to fruition. Revs president Brian Bilello said that Arena was the first person he called when the team’s coaching search began, and the hiring was complete soon after Arena met with owners Robert and Jonathan Kraft last weekend.
And so begins the process of turning the Revolution around, which won’t be easy for the 67-year-old Arena. But he knows a thing or two about winning in the MLS, having won five MLS Cup titles in his 13 years in the league, most recently in 2014 when the L.A. Galaxy beat his new team. He’s the winningest active head coach in MLS history, and with a 202-121-89 record, is one of just two coaches to reach the 200-win plateau.
He knows transitioning the Revolution into a winning franchise won’t happen overnight, but he believes it will happen sometime in the near future.
“It’s not going to happen in the next two weeks, but I’m confident that over the next couple of years, we can make very good progress and make this team much more competitive than it is today,” said Arena. “We’re going to take our time, be patient and smart in evaluating the players that are here, and enable us to make good decisions as we get toward the end of the year.
“It’s not going to be easy. I don’t attribute failure to one person; there are lots of reasons why a team isn’t successful. It’s not because of the coach or the owner or the players; it’s a lot of things,” he continued. “We have to look inside the team, evaluate things and build the right kind of culture that I think is appropriate here. The kind of culture I’ve been successful with in MLS.
“I’ve coached in MLS 13 years and been to seven finals, won five of them. I have a feel for that, and I feel I can bring it here in this organization as well,” he said confidently.
Arena said the earliest he’ll be on the Revs sideline is June 2 when they visit his former team, the L.A. Galaxy.