When Bruce Arena was being named MLS Coach of the Year with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2009, Antonio Delamea was a 17-year-old central defender performing for Slovenian Cup winner NK Interblock Ljubljana.
Delamea’s coaches included Alberto Bigon, who had guided Diego Maradona at Napoli, and he would not become familiar with Arena until this season, his third as a member of the New England Revolution.
“I knew Bruce was one of the most successful coaches in MLS,” Delamea, 28, said during an interview outside the Revolution locker room this week. “I never really had an opportunity to talk with him. But when he first entered the locker room, you could feel this guy has charisma. He’s a good, hard-working guy, he’s going to expect a lot from us, but he’s going to back you up at every moment. At that point, it was exactly what our team needed.”