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Internet Soccer Guide: Cyber-savvy Arena logs on
June 30th, 2000 12AM

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Bruce Arena hardly used the Internet when he was D.C. UnitedÆs coach. Less than two years after becoming U.S. coach, he cannot imagine doing his job without the Web.

With United, Arena logged onto MLS's network and was able to get just about all the information he needed from there and e-mail.

His computer was slow, so he did not look at Web pages much. But now he has a well-equipped home office in Fairfax, Va.

"I probably have something fast," Arena said. "I have a computer that's loaded, it's the top of the line. I don't know the technical end of that, though. ... I do my daily business with U.S. Soccer through the Internet.

"It's just like being in Chicago, really, with the technology today."

Beginning around 7 o'clock each morning, Arena logs on and begins scanning through his favorite 20 or so Web sites. He uses instant messaging to communicate with U.S. Soccer officials in Chicago and players around the world. He maintains files of printed materials on opponents and players.

Arena has made Internet access a requirement for all players in the national team pool. U.S. Soccer set up a Web page with a confidential address and a security lock to which only the players have passwords. From there, players get weekly updates on team matters.

"To me, that's the best way for us to do things because with the time changes, not only in this country, but also in Europe, it's very difficult to get a hold of players," Arena said.

The popularity of the Internet as a medium for soccer fans prompted Arena to begin writing an online column (www.goalnetwork.com).

"For me, it's a challenge and it demands that I think some things out," Arena said. "But also, having seen all the crap I see - most of the stuff is wire stories - at least when people get information from me, it's pretty valid and some of it's actually even interesting, I think."

The one area of the Web Arena generally shies away from is the message boards.

"I try not to get into this fan thing because from the little I see, it's simply fans," Arena said. "In some cases, they are poorly informed and they talk amongst themselves without being in tune with what's really going on. Bob Bradley told me to look at [discussion sites] because they were always ripping me there. I thought that was pretty funny."

by Soccer America associate editor Will Kuhns



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