CHICAGO (Jan. 22, 2015) – National Soccer Hall of Fame member, former U.S. Men’s National Team head coach and current LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena is the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Werner Fricker Builder Award.
The highest honor that an individual can receive from the U.S. Soccer Federation, the Werner Fricker Award is bestowed on an individual who has worked tirelessly on furthering the interest of the sport of soccer without regard to personal recognition or advancement. The award honors those who created or fostered programs that will outlast their own active involvement in the sport and who have established a lasting legacy in the history and structure of soccer in the United States.
“Every year we are presented with examples of extraordinary individuals who have developed the game of soccer in this country and this year we are extremely pleased to honor Bruce Arena with the Werner Fricker Builder Award,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “Bruce’s contribution to soccer in the United States began as a coach at Virginia 37 years ago and during that time he has guided college, professional and National Teams to national and international titles. The path he paved certainly set the bar higher and the legacy he created will last for future generations.”
A recently crowned five-time MLS Cup champion, Arena has led the LA Galaxy for seven seasons after taking over as the team’s general manager and head coach in 2008. One of the most successful head coaches in MLS and U.S. National Team history, Arena led the Galaxy to its fifth MLS Cup in 2014, adding to his already hefty resume that includes being the only coach in MLS history to have won five championships and to have been named MLS Coach of the Year on three occasions (1997, 2009 and 2011).
A member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Arena is the winningest all-time head coach in U.S. National Team history, leading the U.S. to two FIFA World Cups, including the best finish in team history at the 2002 event, when the MNT advanced to the quarterfinals.
Arena took over as head coach in Oct. 27, 1998, and was in charge for nearly eight years, collecting a 71-30-29 all-time record, while winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup title in 2002 and 2005, the 2000 Nike U.S. Cup Championship, and leading the U.S. MNT to a third-place finish in the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup in Mexico.
“I am honored to receive the Werner Fricker Builder Award from U.S. Soccer,” said Arena. “I’ve been privileged to have the opportunity to build the sport of soccer in the United States over the last 40 years. I am humbled by this honor and proud to be amongst the prestigious company of the other Werner Fricker Soccer Builder Award Winners.”
Arena began his professional coaching career when he was appointed as the first coach in D.C. United history, joining the club for its inaugural season in 1996. He would spend three seasons with United, reaching the MLS Cup all three times and winning it twice, in addition to reaching the U.S. Open Cup Final twice and winning the tournament once. He also helped United become the first and only MLS team to win the CONCACAF Champions Cup and the Interamerican Cup in 1998. Additionally, Arena spent about a year-and-a-half as head coach of the New York Red Bulls in 2006.
At the collegiate level, Arena was named the head coach at the University of Virginia in 1978. He held that position for 18 years, helping the Cavaliers to five ACC Tournament Championships and five National Championships, including four in a row from 1991-94.
The award is named for Werner Fricker, who is widely credited for his role in bringing the 1994 FIFA World Cup to the United States. Born in Yugoslavia and raised in Austria, Fricker lived his adult life in Pennsylvania, where he was a star midfielder for the United German Hungarians of Philadelphia soccer club from 1954 to 1969 and was a member of the 1964 U.S. Olympic Team. He served as U.S. Soccer President from 1984 to 1990 and was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1992.
The President of U.S. Soccer appoints a task force to review the nominations and select a winner.
WERNER FRICKER AWARD
2002 Werner Fricker Sr.
2003 Sunil Gulati
2005 Gerhard Mengel
2006 Sal Rapaglia
2007 Francisco Marcos
2008 Bob Gansler
2009 Alan Rothenberg
2010 Bob Contiguglia
2011 Kevin Payne
2012 Hank Steinbrecher
2014 Richard Groff
2015 Bruce Arena