home      service centre   |   publications   |   football family   |   competitions   

U.S. coach is neither dictator nor players' pal

© Reuters 2002

By Paul Eckert

SEOUL, June 18 (Reuters) - United States coach Bruce Arena says the secret to America's unprecedented World Cup success this time is finding the right blend of coach control and player initiative. "There's got to be the right understanding between the coach and the manager and the players," said Arena, thrust into the limelight with his team's advance to a quarter-final against Germany after a 2-0 defeat of Mexico.

"I think we've struck the right balance," he told reporters. Asked about his coaching style, Arena said: "I'm not very dictatorial. I do have some ideas. "I think as we get into this level, there's a lot of pre-planning in how we're going to go out and play a game," he said.

"We don't have a great margin for error here, so our guys have got to be pretty sure about what their responsibilities are," said Arena. Arena, who comes across as easy-going with a media pack growing with every U.S. win, said he is always available but does not try to be a friend to his 23 players.

"I'm not one of the boys, but I'm not staying at the Ritz Carlton while they're here at the J.W Merriot," he said.

The Merriot in Seoul is the U.S. team's base for the World Cup. U.S. games have been in four different cities in South Korea so far, and they face Germany in industrial Ulsan on Friday. "We're together all the time and for the most part, we get along well," he said.

Goalkeeper Brad Friedel, one of the team's senior players and having the tournament of his life, said Arena "took on a very big job after 1998, both on and off the field".

A demoralised U.S. side finished with as bad a record as any of the 32 teams in the 1998 World Cup, losing all their matches. Arena, a former collegiate goalkeeper, took over the team at the end of 1998. "He lets the team play. He's not a dictator," Friedel said.

Having far exceeded his modest goal of rebuilding U.S. soccer from its lows of four years ago, Arena still shrugs off questions about his future after the World Cup as "putting the cart before the horse". "I'm not spending time worrying about my future," he said. "I'm worrying about Germany."

Reports provided by

Tuesday, 25 June
South Korean dream ended by Germany
Brazil give no clues over Ronaldinho's replacement
Monday, 24 June
Ronaldo plays in practice match
Germany relish unforgettable moment in Seoul
Daredevil Edmilson will not change his style
Sunday, 23 June
Germany's Hamann back in training
Kahn can't wait to play South Korea this time
Saturday, 22 June
Metsu takes his hat off to Senegal heroes
We're as good as anybody, says Turkey match-winner
Friday, 21 June
England in despair as Brazil crush hopes
Beckenbauer says Germany were lucky to beat U.S.
Kahn and Ballack steer Germany into semis
Thursday, 20 June
Senegal still have point to prove - Diao
U.S. in perfect shape for Germans, says Arena
Wednesday, 19 June
England brace for Brazilian assault
Italy's Trapattoni says he's not resigning
Germany's Skibbe convinced U.S. won't win

  Copyright © 1994-2002 FIFA. All rights reserved.
  Copyright © 1994-2002 En-Linea, Inc. All rights reserved.