Bruce Arena is no longer the head coach of the New England Revolution, but that’s far from the end of the story.
Arena stepped down on Saturday after a nearly six-week investigation conducted by the law firm Proskauer Rose, which was hired by MLS to investigate allegations of “insensitive and inappropriate remarks” made by Arena.
Initially, Arena was placed on administrative leave, and assistant coach Richie Williams took over as the interim manager. However, on Tuesday, the Revolution announced that Clint Peay, the head coach of Revolution II, would now serve as the club’s first-team interim head coach, with support from his Revolution II assistant Marcelo Santos. Additionally, the team revealed that they had parted ways with assistant coaches Dave van den Bergh and Shalrie Joseph, who were reportedly aligned with Arena.
The future of Williams remains uncertain, and the club plans to hold a news conference on Wednesday with president Brian Bilello and technical director Curt Onalfo to address the situation. MLS released a statement on Saturday stating that the investigation had confirmed some of the allegations against Arena and that if he wanted to work in the league again, he would need to file a petition to MLS commissioner Don Garber.
During a media availability on Tuesday, Williams stated that the decision to not train was made collectively by the players and staff. ESPN reported that during a meeting between the players, staff, and club representatives, the players asked Williams to provide more information about his involvement in the investigation. When the club indicated that they couldn’t respond to that question, the players became frustrated with the lack of transparency and decided to boycott training.
The uncertainty surrounding the investigation and Arena’s resignation has created turmoil within the team, jeopardizing what had been a promising season — with the exception of former Toronto FC legend Jozy Altidore who was bought out of his contract early this summer.
Under Williams’ leadership, the Revs have struggled, with a record of 1-1-3 in MLS play and two draws in the Leagues Cup. Despite the slump, the Revs still sit in second place in the Eastern Conference with 48 points from 27 matches, trailing first-place FC Cincinnati by nine points.
When asked about the unity of the coaching staff, Williams expressed his commitment to leading the team until the end of the season and hopefully into the playoffs.
“Just in terms of the staff, with me personally as the interim head coach, they’ve asked me to take over, to be the coach until the end of the season, hopefully into the playoffs and to a championship, and that’s obviously what I’m going to be doing moving forward,” Williams said. “And again, it’s been a very good response over the last six weeks from the players and results-wise and maintaining our second-place standing in the league.”
New England acquired Canadian midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye in a trade with Toronto FC for Latif Blessing three weeks ago. Kaye admitted he was excited to be on a team competing to win trophies.
The Revolution beat TFC home and away this season, first with Arena getting the better of his former student Bradley 2-0 at BMO Field, in what was the Reds’ first loss at home… And then with the Revs topping Toronto 2-1 in Foxborough last month.