Bruce Arena: Klinsmann did a 'very good job' growing U.S. Soccer

Getty Images
The former LA Galaxy boss believes his predecessor's run as coach and technical director was a success despite the controversy that followed him

U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena believes Jurgen Klinsmann's controversial run in charge of the program was a success.

Klinsmann was fired in November following back-to-back World Cup qualifying losses to Mexico and Costa Rica, paving the way for Arena to make his return to the U.S. after previously coaching the team from 1998-2006.

Lampard retires as Chelsea's all-time best

"Everyone has their way of doing things; I think the people that followed me after 2006 — Bob Bradley and Jurgen — they've done a very good job of growing the program," Arena told ESPN FC on Thursday in an interview before Friday's friendly against Jamaica.

Klinsmann, who has the second-best winning percentage (63.8) in U.S. Soccer history behind Arena (65.8), found success when he brought the U.S. out of the "Group of Death" at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Article continues below

But while serving a dual role as coach and technical director starting in 2013, he was ultimately unable to keep his promise of turning the U.S. into an attack-minded team. He watched the Under-23 team fail to reach the Olympics twice, and had public disputes with several players.

Arena, who hasn't spoken to Klinsmann since the coaching change was made, believes the former World Cup winner's global popularity was a positive for the U.S. federation.

"I think it's grown in stature," Arena said of the U.S. program. "I think it's grown in support, and that's big. He convinced U.S. Soccer to do more things to help grow the program that I think I wasn't able to achieve, or what Bob was able to do."