I posted this in another thread because I didn't know how to start a new thread yet. But I think with all of the Arena bashing going on, people in their hearts know what a good manager he was for us, and, while he made his mistakes this time around, I will never forget what he did for our program. I sent this to the USSF as well, even though I know he'll never see it, but I felt it was the right thing to say. ----------------------------------------------------------- Dear Bruce, I write to you today as a troubled supporter. You do not know me, but that is okay. When you were hired in 1998 after the Fiasco in France I admit I was skeptical of your pedigree, especially at the highest level, but I will be the first to admit I was wrong, to an extent. You transformed our national side from the laughingstock of France to a side to be reckoned with in a scant eight years. A yeoman's job if ever one has been done, and one I did not think was possible. Detractors will point to a rise in MLS and an increasing talent pool with which you had to work, and these are valid points. Yet, you took what was available to you and molded a unit that believed it would win every time it stepped on the field. And we believed with you. There were signs that maybe you weren't the tactical genius which you had the media convinced you were: the debacle at the Azteca and the slaughter at the Saprissa were warning signs perhaps that tactics were not your forte. However, you did something which could not be done. You took 23 guys to Korea in 2002 and made THEM believe they would advance. We didn't believe, in our heart of hearts we would, and, honestly, we just wanted improvement from France. Again, your detractors will point out that Portugal came out and didn't play, but while that may be true, your team still hung up 3 on them in a half hour, and looked fully capable of tacking on 3 more. People ask me what my lingering impression of the USA was when I watched them in Korea and what I tell them is this. EVERY time we got the ball I genuinely thought we would score. I really did. Korea outplayed us but when we pushed we looked like scoring. We always looked like scoring against Poland, and it was our defense that let us down. How we didn't score against Germany I'll never know. This was the excitement that YOU created Bruce. You did this to us. You made us believe that the sum was greater than the parts. You made us believe that 3-6-1 or the 10-0-0 we played against Brazil in 1994 was a thing of the past. This new USA was going balls to the wall, and we were going to attack. If, in our naivete, we got hit for a goal, we'd score 2 if we had to, but damned if we'd whimper out. Even though we didn't score that many goals, we always felt like we could at any time. Perhaps it was the law of averages that finally found us out, and perhaps it was your own success which brought about your own failure. Teams had to scout us, they were learning about us, and they sure as hell were determined not to be Portugal Part II. You sensed this too, it appears, and went away from your strengths as a coach and focused on your weaknesses, namely, tactics. You were never going to win a tactical war against the Czechs and the Italians, and you never believed in this side like you believed in the 2002 side. You clearly had a goal of not being embarassed, and securing workmanlike performances and relying on luck to get us through. There was every chance that an unproven Beasley and Donovan and co. could have been routed 6-0 by Portugal in 2002, but you didn't care and played them and told them to fight for their lives. At the Massacre of Gelsenkirschen, where was that team Bruce, the one you showed me and told me to believe in? Where was Dempsey or Johnson, or any of the American spirit we saw in Korea? You set out your stall in this World Cup not to fail, and by doing so, you castrated the team you created. I am not here to rant Bruce, because you gave me so many memories, and so much happiness. I still get chills in my spine when I rewatch La Guerra Fria, or when Jack Edwards talks about stopping traffic in Europe. These memories will last me a lifetime, and you have given US soccer more than we could have dreamed of in 1998. For that you have my eternal gratitude. And so, it is, at this time, I would like to bid you farewell Bruce. You have taken us as far as you can, and it is time to take off our training wheels and move forward without you. You will always be remembered as an important cog that the set the USA soccer nation in gear, and you will not be forgotten, but it is time you left. Thank you for your service, we can take it from here. Signed, A lifelong American supporter.