(Reuters) - Bruce Arena has been handed the tall order of getting the United States' qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup back on track after being named head coach of the national team, U.S. Soccer said on Tuesday.
Arena, a five-times Major League Soccer champion coach who is taking over for the recently fired Juergen Klinsmann, is no stranger to the U.S. national team having been at the helm from 1998-2006.
Considered by many to be American football's greatest coach of all time, Arena's previous stint with the U.S. team included a run to the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup, the country's best result in the tournament since the inaugural event in 1930.
"When we considered the possible candidates to take over the Men's National Team at this time, Bruce was at the top of the list," U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a statement.
Arena now takes over a U.S. team that are sitting dead last in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying after last week's stunning loss to Costa Rica, which came on the heels of a home loss to Mexico.
During his first stint with the national squad the United States shot to fourth from 19th in the FIFA world rankings and his 71 wins are easily the most in U.S. history.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Steve Keating)