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Bruce Arena Will Not Return to New England Revolution
After being placed on administrative leave, the head coach and sporting director will not be coming back.
Bruce Arena’s time as head coach and sporting director of the New England Revolution reportedly has come to an abrupt end.
Tom Bogert and Pablo Maurer of The Athletic are reporting that eight sources told them that complaints filed by Arena’s assistant coach Richie Williams are part of the investigation into Arena’s conduct.
“Sources familiar with the investigation said that some questions asked by investigators centered around comments Arena allegedly made behind closed doors and to his coaching staff,” the duo wrote.
According to The Athletic, Arena met with MLS commissioner Don Garber on Tuesday to discuss the investigation and met with the Kraft’s on Thursday. The Athletic also reported that when Arena received a multi-year contract extension before the 2022 season, Williams, Curt Onalfo, assistant coaches Shalrie Joseph and Dave van den Bergh, and goalkeeper coach Kevin Hitchcock were not extended.
The pair of MLS insiders also wrote that Arena, Williams, and Onalfo have clashed during the 2022 and 2023 seasons over differences between the club’s sporting direction and tactics. Onalfo reportedly has clashed with Arena over player signings in particular.
Arena coached five seasons in New England including the 2021 season that saw the Revolution lift the Supporters’ Shield. In total Arena coached over 150 games for New England and won 69 matches.
Another wrinkle in the report from The Atheltic is that according to their sources, Williams was told that he would not be returning as a member of Arena’s staff next season and that Arena told Williams’ representation to begin looking for a new potential landing spot.
With no official news from the club yet, we can only predict that Williams will see out the season on the sidelines with Onalfo serving as sporting director.
UPDATE: Bruce Arena issued a statement confirming that he has resigned from the New England Revolution.
“After much soul searching, I have decided to resign my position as Head Coach and Sporting Director of the New England Revolution.
To begin, I would like to thank Robert Kraft and Jonathan Kraft for providing me with this opportunity over 4 years ago. In my time with the Revolution, we have had much success and it truly has been a direct reflection of all the support the organization has provided me. In particular, I also want to thank all the players, coaches and staff at the Revolution as everyone has provided outstanding service and done a terrific job to help elevate the club to where it is today.
I also want to thank everyone in the soccer community at large for their tremendous support during the past 6 weeks. The investigation has been a hard and difficult process, for me and my family, but hearing from so many who have been part of my career truly has been gratifying and has helped make this decision easier.
Finally, I know that I have made some mistakes and moving forward, I plan to spend some time reflecting on this situation and taking corrective steps to address what has transpired. And while this has not been an easy decision, I am confident that it is in the best interest of both the New England Revolution organization and my family that we part ways at this time.”
The Revolution also released a statement confirming that Richie Williams and Curt Onalfo will serve as interim head coach and interim sporting director respectively for the remainder of the season.
“The New England Revolution have accepted the resignation of Bruce Arena. We wish Bruce well and thank him for his contributions to the team. Curt Onalfo will continue to serve as interim Sporting Director and Richie Williams will continue to serve as interim Head Coach as the team prepares to close out the 2023 season.”
Finally, MLS released a statement of its own where they stated that certain allegations were confirmed and that if Arena wanted to coach or seek employment in the league in the future, he would have to submit a petition to the commissioner.