Sounders Insider

Arena picked over Schmid as MLS coach of the year

Los Angeles coach Bruce Arena was selected over Sounders coach Sigi Schmid for MLS coach of the year honors. Arena, who led the Galaxy to the Supporters Shield and the MLS Cup final on Sunday, won a vote of clubs, media and players. He becomes the league's first three-time coach of the year winner ... as two-time winner Schmid would have had his name been announced today.

Arena also has a Puget Sound connection, having played for the old Tacoma Tides, and getting his coaching start at the University of Puget Sound.

Here is the release from the league:

Major League Soccer today announced that LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was voted the 2011 MLS Coach of the Year. Arena is the first person to win the award three times, having also won it in 1997 and 2009. This season, Arena’s team won the Supporters Shield for the second consecutive year and achieved the second-best record (19-5-10, 67 points) in League history.

On Sunday, Arena will be a head coach in MLS Cup for the fifth time – a League record.

Arena, now in his fourth season as Galaxy head coach, guided a team that earned at least a point in more than 85 percent of its regular season games. LA had 17 shutouts – half of the regular season and tying the all-time record set by Kansas City in 2000 – while conceding the fewest goals in MLS this season (28). LA’s goals against average of 0.82 ranks third all-time behind Real Salt Lake in 2010 (0.67) and Houston Dynamo in 2007 (0.77).

The 2011 Galaxy went undefeated in all 17 regular season home games at The Home Depot Center. After voting closed, Arena’s squad marched past the New York Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake to reach next Sunday’s MLS Cup final, adding two more home wins.

Arena was hired as head coach and general manager of the Galaxy on Aug. 18, 2008. Since then, the Galaxy has gone 51-23-30 in 89 regular season games for a .742 winning percentage.

Prior to being hired by the Galaxy, Arena served as coach of the New York Red Bulls during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. As the head coach of D.C. United from 1996 through 1998, Arena captured two MLS Cup championships in three appearances. Arena ranks second all-time in MLS regular season wins (128) and has compiled a regular season coaching record of 128-74-40. He holds the highest postseason winning percentage (.742) and is the all-time leader in postseason wins with 21.

Following the 1998 MLS season, he was named the head coach of the U.S. National Team. He held that position for eight years, while helping the U.S. team reach the quarterfinals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup as well as a berth in the 2006 World Cup. During an 18-year-career at the University of Virginia, Arena led the Cavaliers to five national championships. Arena was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2010.

Voting was conducted among clubs, media, and players based on regular season performance. Seattle Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid and Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes were the other finalists for the Coach of the Year award. Below is a breakdown of the voting percentages for the top five candidates.