After 17 seasons, countless silverware, and record-setting numbers of individual honors, you'd think Bruce Arena would start getting bored.
Now 70 years old, the New York City native has seen it all in American soccer. From winning five combined MLS Cups with DC United and the LA Galaxy, to managing the United States men's national team, there's no coach in these parts that can match his experience.
Arena once again made an entry into the history books in 2021, leading his New England Revolution side to the Supporters' Shield title with an MLS record points total. Now, as he prepares his team for a 2022 campaign in which they'll contest the Concacaf Champions League and try to go one better in the MLS Cup Playoffs, Arena has opened up on what keeps him going year after year.
“I guess, you could say, I look forward to waking up every day. That’s the starting point. But the people around me, my family and close friends, kind of insist on me continuing to coach when I have aspirations of playing golf a lot," he told reporters on Wednesday following the Revs' first training session of 2022.
"I did that for about a year and that’s not as good as it sounds sometimes. I do enjoy the challenge. I enjoy working with our coaches every day and our players. That’s still enjoyable to me. So that’s what keeps me going."
More than just having to "keep going", Arena counts himself as one of the lucky ones having enjoyed a long career in the beautiful game.
"I’ll be honest with you, I still do not understand why people think this is a job that I do. I think I’m in a very fortunate position," Arena continued. "I think coaching, besides the fact that it’s stressful and people get fired a lot and all of that, I still think it’s a wonderful job to have.
"I kind of don’t look at it as a real tough job. It’s not an easy one, I know that, but it’s something I do enjoy. I think it’s something that the people around me think I should continue to coach. That’s probably why I’m doing it. But I do enjoy what I do, so that’s what motivates me.”
Arena is obviously well-versed in pre-season preparations. Though Wednesday was his first session back, he has just a month to get his players ready for their CCL Round One first leg tie against Haitian side Cavaly AS. So, how was that first day back?
“Well, it was good to get [the players] back, obviously," said Arena. "Today was our first training session. We did that in our [Socios.com] Field House because of the weather conditions here. For the most part, they looked good for the first day.
"Obviously, we’re going to build on that. We’re going to have a couple [of] weeks here in Foxborough, then go out to Los Angeles for a couple [of] weeks before we return for the [Concacaf Champions League.]”