MLS suspends ex-USMNT coach Bruce Arena for alleged inappropriate remarks

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Bruce Arena has been placed on administrative leave, with MLS announcing the suspension on Tuesday. (Image: Getty Images)
Bruce Arena has been placed on administrative leave, with MLS announcing the suspension on Tuesday. (Image: Getty Images)

American coaching legend Bruce Arena has been placed on administrative leave by MLS pending a "review into allegations that he made insensitive and inappropriate remarks."

Arena, now at the helm with the New England Revolution, coached the United States men's national team at the 2002 World Cup and the 2006 World Cup,

"New England Revolution Sporting Director and Head Coach Bruce Arena has been placed on administrative leave pending a review into allegations that he made insensitive and inappropriate remarks," wrote MLS in a statement.

“The organization takes any allegations of workplace misconduct extremely seriously and is working closely with the league and fully cooperating with its investigation,” the Revolution added to The Athletic.

Arena was not present at team activities Sunday and Monday, according to The Athletic. Technical director Curt Onalfo and assistant coach Richie Williams are expected to take over during the investigation. It is not said to be a health issue for the 71-year-old.

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It is not immediately clear what comments Arena is accused of making and who they were directed towards. There were no widespread reports of a looming suspension before Tuesday's announcement from the league, however players reportedly were told internally about the potential ban this past weekend.

Arena has served as the Revolution's head coach and sporting director since 2019, following his resignation from a failed second stint with the USMNT. He oversaw the calamitous failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

MLS suspends ex-USMNT coach Bruce Arena for alleged inappropriate remarksBruce Arena's second USMNT stint did not go as planned. (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The all-time winningest MLS coach also had spells in charge of the LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls and D.C. United.

New England are in the midst of Leagues Cup action. The tournament featuring MLS and Liga MX takes place over the summer, with domestic play paused to allow clubs to fully focus on it. The Revolution will host Atlas in the round of 32 on Thursday night.

They've enjoyed a strong season on the field under Arena, currently placed second in the Eastern Conference with a playoff position seemingly locked up. And they've shown in recent years an ability to develop players. Arsenal signed goalkeeper Matt Turner, while current shot-stopper Dorde Petrovic has drawn interest from Manchester United, among other clubs.

In fact, Turner said Petrovic might be a bigger prospect than him. "What I've seen from him is that he's really talented," Turner told reporters last May. "He's way more talented than I was at his age, you know? He's taller than me. He's athletic."

Onalfo and Williams, who will try to continue that momentum from the dugout during Arena's absence, bring some head coaching experience. Onalfo briefly led D.C. United and the LA Galaxy. Williams was in charge of US international youth teams from 2011 to 2015.

“I am very pleased to add Curt to our technical staff as we continue to build the soccer organization in New England,” Arena said when Onalfo was appointed in 2019. “Having worked with Curt for many years, I know his vast knowledge and experience in the game will make him an immediate asset to the club.”

Dan Bernstein

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