Bruce Arena rehired as U.S. Soccer coach

bruce-arenaHe’s back.

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati has named Bruce Arena as the new head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team. The most decorated head coach in American soccer history, Arena most famously guided the U.S. to its best finish in the World Cup in more than 80 years with a quarterfinal appearance in 2002 and returns to the job where he amassed the most wins of any coach in U.S. MNT history.

Arena, who will assume the role on Thursday, Dec. 1, will be formally introduced during a teleconference with U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati on Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET.

“When we considered the possible candidates to take over the Men’s National Team at this time, Bruce was at the top of the list,” said Gulati. “His experience at the international level, understanding of the requirements needed to lead a team through World Cup qualifying, and proven ability to build a successful team were all aspects we felt were vital for the next coach. We all know Bruce will be fully committed to preparing the players for the next eight qualifying games and earning a berth to an eighth-straight FIFA World Cup in Russia.”

“Any time you get the opportunity to coach the National Team it’s an honor,” said Arena. “I’m looking forward to working with a strong group of players that understand the challenge in front of them after the first two games of the Hex. Working as a team, I’m confident that we’ll take the right steps forward to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.”

The Most Accomplished Coach in U.S. MNT History

Arena steps back into the job that he held over an eight-year tenure from 1998-2006. With a record of 71-30-29, the Brooklyn-born manager is by far the winningest coach in U.S. MNT history as well as the only head coach to lead the USA at two FIFA World Cups.

His crowning achievement came at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan, where he led the MNT to a 3-2 upset of Portugal in their opening match before advancing out of the group and earning a 2-0 shutout against Mexico in the Round of 16. Benefiting from the experience of his previous World Cup Qualifying campaign, the U.S. MNT advanced to the 2006 FIFA World Cup with relative ease, booking a place in Germany with three matches to spare in CONCACAF’s Final Round. Drawn into the ‘Group of Death’, a nine-man U.S. squad put in a gutsy performance to earn a 1-1 draw against eventual World Cup champions Italy.

Arena also led the U.S. to its second and third regional titles with championships at the 2002 and 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cups, as well as a third-place finish at the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup.

A History of Success

Beyond his National Team tenure, Arena has found success along every stop of his 40-plus year coaching career. The Long Island native won five NCAA Division 1 National Championships with the University of Virginia, including a still-standing record of four-straight from 1991-94.

His collegiate coaching tenure led him to his first international job, taking the reins of the U.S. U-23 team leading up to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta where Arena guided the USA to a respectable 1-1-1 showing. Arena balanced his U-23 duties with his head coaching role of D.C. United in the inaugural year of Major League Soccer and helped to turn the club into the nascent league’s first true powerhouse. D.C. won four domestic titles on Arena’s watch – the 1996 and 1997 MLS Cups, 1996 U.S. Open Cup and 1997 Supporters Shield – as well as international hardware with the 1998 CONCACAF Champions Cup and 1998 Interamerican Cup.

Following his eight-year tenure with the U.S. Men’s National Team, Arena returned to club coaching for a brief stint with the New York Red Bulls in 2006-07, before joining the LA Galaxy the following year. In LA, Arena worked to make the Galaxy the premier club in MLS, coaching the side to three MLS Cup titles in 2011, 2012 and 2014, as well as two Supporter Shield wins in 2010 and 2011. As the only five-time MLS Cup winning head coach, Arena has worked with numerous coaches throughout his time in Major League Soccer, serving as a mentor to many.

A three-time MLS Coach of the Year winner, Arena was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2010 and five years later was named the recipient of the of the prestigious Werner Fricker Builder Award, the highest honor that an individual can receive from the U.S. Soccer Federation.

[Source: U.S. Soccer]

Abby Wambach dating Christian mom blogger Glennon Doyle Melton

abby-wambach-glennon-doyle-meltonA Christian mom blogger is dating again after a recent divorce – and her new significant other is a female soccer star.

Christian blogger Glennon Doyle Melton is dating soccer star Abby Wambach.

The happy couple posted a photo Sunday night on the Momastery blogger and mom of three’s Facebook page.

“Oh my God, she is so good to me. She loves me for all the things I’ve always wanted to be loved for. She’s just my favorite. My person,” wrote Melton.

The author is best known for her 2014 New York Times bestselling book “Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life” as well as the 2016 memoir “Love Warrior.”

Just three months ago, Melton announced that she was divorcing Craig Melton, her husband of 14 years. In September, Wambach announced that she was divorcing Sarah Huffman, her wife of three years.

Wambach lost most of her sponsors after a DUI arrest last April.

Despite being a Christian blogger, Melton has been an advocate for LGBT rights, insisting that same-sex marriage is not against the church’s teachings.

Cristiano Ronaldo signs new Real Madrid contract through 2021

cristiano-ronaldoThe world’s highest paid athlete wants to keep on going.

Cristiano Ronaldo has signed a new contract with Real Madrid that will keep the star forward with the team until at least 2021.

Ronaldo inked the new contract on Monday at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

The 31-year-old has previously stated that he wants to keep playing until at least the age of 40, so this likely isn’t his last deal.

The new contract extends Ronaldo’s previous Real Madrid deal, which was set to run out after the 2017-18 season.

While financial details haven’t been disclosed, annual compensation is expected to be similar to his prior deal at more than $50 million a year before taxes, according to Forbes.

Ronaldo is now in his eighth year with Real Madrid.

The forward came to Madrid from Manchester United in 2009.

Soccer player Felix Passlack can juggle gum like nobody’s business [VIDEO]

felix-passlack-gumWhen there’s a little down time during any sport, most athletes will find a way to kill the time.

Before Wednesday’s soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and Union Berlin, Felix Passlack decided to show off his juggling skills by spitting out his gum and using his legs and feet to bounce it (eventually) back into his mouth.

The 18-year-old kept his composure, even after his first attempt was a bit off the mark.

For those keeping score, Borussia Dortmund eventually eked out the win via penalty shoot-out.

Check out Passlack’s amazing gum-juggling skills below.