United States Soccer Team Had University of Virginia Connection At The World Cup
June 23, 2002
CHARLOTTESVILLE – The United States’ men’s soccer team that advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Cup before losing 1-0 to Germany on June 21 had a number of ties to the University of Virginia.
The coach of the team was former UVa men’s head soccer coach Bruce Arena. Arena was the Virginia head coach for 18 years (1978-95). His UVa teams compiled an overall record of 295-59-31 (.806) and won five NCAA Championships. The Cavaliers won four consecutive NCAA Championships from 1991-94 under his direction.
Arena’s son, Kenny, will be a senior on the 2002 Virginia team.
George Gelnovatch, Virginia’s current men’s head soccer coach, was an assistant on Arena’s coaching staff with the United States’ team. Gelnovatch, who played for Arena at Virginia and served as an assistant coach on his staff at UVa for seven years, became the Cavaliers’ head coach when Arena left after the 1995 season. In six years as head coach at Virginia, Gelnovatch’s teams have compiled an overall record of 99-28-12 (.755) and participated in the NCAA Tournament each season.
Pierre Barrieu, a member of Gelnovatch’s staff at Virginia, was the U.S. team’s strength and conditioning coach.
Claudio Reyna, the captain of the United States’ team, played at Virginia and twice earned National Player of the Year honors (1992 & 1993). Other members of the U.S. team who played at UVa include Jeff Agoos, a four-time All-America selection, and Tony Meola, who earned National Player of the Year honors in 1989.
By advancing to the quarterfinals, the United States’ team had its most successful run in World Cup competition since 1930. The U.S. team defeated Portugal (3-2), tied South Korea (1-1) and lost to Poland (3-1) in the opening round before defeating Mexico 2-0 in the round of 16.