Published on October 18th, 2018 | by Staples Soccer0
Wreckers Chat With Bruce Arena
The Staples boys soccer team headed to assistant coach Tom Henske’s house for what they thought was just a pizza dinner.
After the meal, Henske invited everyone upstairs. On the way, each player was handed a copy of Bruce Arena’s new book: “What’s Wrong With US? A Coach’s Blunt Take on the State of American Soccer After a Lifetime on the Touchline.”
When they got into the room, there was a surprise: Arena himself was there on the big TV screen.
Arena is the winningest coach in US soccer history. He won 5 national championships at the University of Virginia, 5 MLS titles with DC United and the Los Angeles Galaxy, and as coach of he US men’s national team, captured 3 CONCACAF Gold Cups. He’s in the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Henske not only played for Arena at UVa — he was a goalkeeper on 3 NCAA champion teams. He was the team’s hero when the Cavaliers beat Santa Clara 3-1 in a penalty kick shootout.
Henske arranged the surprise Skype video conference. Arena addressed the players directly, talking about the impressive soccer heritage of Staples High School, and the importance of teamwork and preparation for winning any kind of title. He told stories of Henske’s goalkeeping prowess, and correlated success on the soccer field with success later in life. He described the many lessons soccer can teach, and urged the players to stay close and strive for the top.
In response to a question from junior Patricio Perez Elorza — “What did you tell your players before big games?” — Arena said, “Have fun.” He noted that coaches do all their preparation before a match. Once the whistle blows, players should enjoy the game.
It was a unique treat: a special, private session with one of the biggest names in American soccer. And it was one more unique, special way for the Wreckers to prepare for the end of the regular season, and their own championship quests.