Evans earned his 27th cap when he entered as a second-half substitute in the U.S.’ 1-0 win over Jamaica on Feb. 3, but it was his first appearance under new head coach Bruce Arena. Evans initially played under Bob Bradley from 2009-10 before earning most of his caps under Jurgen Klinsmann, who U.S. Soccer fired last November.
Evans had played against Arena a plethora of times at the club level while he was coaching the LA Galaxy, but the opportunity to play for Arena is a privilege Evans appreciates.
“Playing under Bruce was something I wanted for a long time, to be under his guidance,” Evans said on Sunday. “It was something I looked forward to. You always hear about good coaches, good player-coaches, good managers, he was at the top of the list.”
U.S. Soccer rehired Arena— he was originally at the helm from 1998-2006 — with the sole goal of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The U.S. currently sit in last place in the CONCACAF Hexagonal with zero points through two matches, after the second of which Kllinsmann was relieved of his duties.
Arena has said on multiple occasions he doesn’t have time to tinker with a wholly new formation or experiment with an entirely different group of players, but that his main focus is getting his team to buy into what he’s selling.
“One thing about Bruce, when he gets in front of a group, he knows exactly what he’s going to say,” Evans said. “He gets to the point, he doesn’t raise his voice at all, it’s very concise, and the guys get it. From that aspect, it’s something that I really appreciated and something that I relish.
“During training sessions, it’s a short talk,” he continued. “He says, ‘You’re going to work today.’ And when he says that, everyone puts their head down and works.”
The United States will resume qualifying on March 24 against Honduras in San Jose, Calif., before visiting Panama on March 28.