CARSON, Calif. -- Former U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena was hired Monday as coach and general manager of David Beckham's Los Angeles Galaxy, who haven't won a game in over two months.
Arena was to be introduced at a news conference after guiding the team through practice for the first time. He will make his debut as the Galaxy coach Thursday night against the Chicago Fire -- when Beckham and forward Landon Donovan will be missing because of national team duty.
Arena, who will oversee the Galaxy's soccer operations, succeeds Ruud Gullit, who resigned last Monday for personal reasons. President and general manager Alexi Lalas was fired the same day.
The Galaxy, in danger of missing the playoffs for the second straight year, are 6-8-6 with four losses and four ties in their last eight matches. Cobi Jones, in his first year as an assistant coach, guided the team to a 2-2 tie against Chivas USA last Thursday night.
"Bruce is the best coach for the Galaxy and certainly one of the best coaches in the history of the league," said Tim Leiweke, president of AEG, the team owner. "We have always felt that the Galaxy should aspire to be the club that sets the pace and tone in Major League Soccer. I believe Bruce sees it the same way and will put us back in that position."
The 57-year-old Arena was dismissed as coach of the national team after the Americans were eliminated in first round in the 2006 World Cup. He was hired as coach of the New York Red Bulls than summer, then was forced out last November after they were eliminated from the first round of the MLS playoffs for the second straight year.
Arena has a 77-51-10 regular-season record and a 14-5-2 postseason mark as an MLS coach. And he was the most successful head coach in national team history with a 71-30-29 record.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press