15 August 2006

Lenny Bruce Arena

I direct your attention to the Grant Wahl interview with Bruce Arena (ex-DC, ex-USA, etc...). Now, there are some great quotes in here:

[USSF President] Sunil is a great guy. He's always been a good friend. I think he's a superfan who now is president. That's the way our organization is. That's unfortunate, and you add another micromanager to an organization that's already micromanaged. I don't think that's necessarily good. He's a guy who loves the game, who wants to be important and be around the world of bigwigs at FIFA, and he's going to get that opportunity.

Ouch... Say Bruce, how about being a bit sarcastic for everyone?

SI.com: Who do you think should be the next U.S. coach?

Arena: I don't care, and it's none of my business.

SI.com: You care about the U.S. team, don't you?

Arena: Oh yeah. They're going to win the next World Cup, from what I'm told. So I wish them the best. Because we did so poorly over the last eight years, I'm sure they're going to win the next World Cup.

Now, here's the thing. I get the feeling that Bruce Arena is part soccer-coach, part performance-artist/comedian. Not in the clownish Alexi Lalas way, but in the dark Andy Kaufman/Lenny Bruce way. He's not sure how much he means at any given time, but it keeps you interested, keeps you guessing. At some point, for some fans, the act ultimately wears too thin. Suddenly the veneer of sarcasm is spread so fine that you wonder if there is any substance or just varnish. I think that's why Bruce upsets so many people: You're never really sure what he means, or even what he believes. But, there is substance there, and Bruce is a hell of a coach. NYRB may not be instantly better with him, but give him an off-season and I'm sure he'll put something together. You just have to ignore the misdirection from Bruce's mouth, and pay attention to the field.

So that's my advice. Bruce's interview should not be taken with a grain of salt. Instead, they need to be taken with a glass lined with salt, then drowned with a margarita, and preferably a few tequila shots. Bruce wants you to pay attention to the wrong things. So for DC fans out there, if he makes an oversimplification like:

The difference between D.C. and the others right now is Jaime Moreno and [Christian] Gómez. They're two fairly elite attacking players in the league.
Well, don't get up in arms. I think there's more to it than that, and I imagine Bruce does as well. But it's just a distraction. Think of it like this: "If I can get DCU and my own team to believe that the only difference between DC and them is Moreno/Gomez, and then I hack/slash Gomez and Moreno to knock them out of the game, I can motivate my team and demoralize the opposition." It's a clever ruse. I don't think it will work.


At 15 August, 2006 15:20, Anonymous Matt said...

Arena is a total idiot.

I once said that we can't throw away all his accomplishments just because of a bad WC....

I have now reversed that thinking. Arena has totally lost his mind and has shit on US Soccer one to many times.

How can he call Gulati a friend and slam him like that....

It's one thing to be a tough, honest critic...US Soccer needed that when he first started.....but now he's become a total whiny cynic.

He takes another shot at US Soccer by saying that DC is the best because of Moreno and Gomez...of course...neither are American.

And....he coaches the Red Asses.

Plenty of reasons to boo his ass..

At 15 August, 2006 15:29, Blogger D said...

See... I don't think he is a total idiot. I honestly think this is an elaborate act, designed to annoy people because it amuses him, and lets him get away with more on the field. Of course, I could be giving him too much credit in that respect, but I dunno...

As for coaching the Red Bulls, yeah, heckle the bastard.

At 15 August, 2006 16:50, Anonymous Paul said...

I think he's right about Gulati being a micromanager. If he fired Arena without knowing he had a good shot at Klinsman, he made an awful move.

At 15 August, 2006 17:15, Anonymous cproyale said...

So I will give Bruce a pass because of his experience.

Paul - I don't think anyone outside of USSoccer can really say that Gulati is a micro-manager at this point. I have not seen any public evidence of this accusation? He didn't fire Arena, and forcing out a subordinate isn't micro-managing. Now if he was telling Bruce to keep JOB in his roster, that is micro-managing. I need futher evidence of this. IMO, USSoccer management is simply full of mediocre talented individuals.

Bruce's comments about the NTC are incredible. I can see the HDC being "Disney" esqe. Camp in Cary seemed to be confirmation of this. It is stunning to realize that many major DIV I football programs have much better training facilities than USSoccer. They need to detach themselves from MLS Real Estate developments (SSS).

Bruce has given some pretty serious bulletin board material to DCU. I hope they pummel the bulls on WED.

At 15 August, 2006 18:49, Anonymous Nick said...

As far as the DC comments go, of course Bruce is right. If you take away Moreno and Gomez from the team and insert two average american players, DC is a 500/sub-500 team. I don't think it's inflamatory or sarcastic, I think it's clearly evident. Bottom line, united is smarter than any other team and makes its foreign allocations count. It's pretty straightforward in my book...

At 15 August, 2006 22:40, Anonymous Matt said...

idiot is probably the wrong word since he is obviously a smart man.

how about delusional?

Can't wait to see his face when DC puts four in the net.

At 16 August, 2006 09:37, Anonymous bdr said...

Think about the things that come out of Ferguson's or Wenger's or Mourinho's mouths: it's all about the swerve. Well, it's also about self-promotion/self-pity too (which is also swerve). But it's about controlling the swerve, against opponents, perceived enemies, your own players.

Arena's a soccer coach. This is what they do.

At 16 August, 2006 11:29, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He sounds bitter, plain and simple (even if it is couched in sarcasm).

The US flop in Germany was his fault: wrong line-up, wrong formation, wrong attitude.

Having said that, he did alot of great things for US Soccer. I'm just surprised that a Long Islander would be so thin skinned.

At 16 August, 2006 18:57, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruce's comments about NTC are indeed "incredible." Maybe if we had facilities as good as Ghana's, we would have beat them:


At 17 August, 2006 11:11, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha...

US Soccer sucks because of the PLAYERS, so keep blaming Arena. Such a joke.

Sort of like DC United's 'four netters'. The only people who are delusional are US Soccer fans.


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