After the United States Men’s National soccer team lost to Ghana 2-1 in the knockout round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Sunil Gulati was looking for a replacement. The president of the U.S. Soccer federation wanted a big name coach. Jurgen Klinsmen, former German men’s national team and Bayern Munich Football Club head coach, was asked by Gulati to be the coach. But Klinsmen turned down Gulati after the USSF did not offer terms to a contract.
According to Mark Young, a freelance contributor to ESPN Soccernet, Gulati made the safe choice and should have been more aggressive in pursuing a big name coach. In Bob Bradley’s defense, and the state of soccer in America, Mark Young could not be more incorrect.
Bradley is not an international big name. He has never coached a big time European club like Klinsmen with German Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Munich or Sir Alex Ferguson with Manchester United. However, Bob Bradley knows how to win.
Bradley has been coaching collegiate and international soccer since 1981. During his four years at the helm of the United States men’s national team, Bradley has amassed 38 wins. 24 of those wins came during the 2009 World Cup qualifying campaign.
In international competitions, such as CONCACAF Gold Cup and others, Bradley’s teams have performed at the best the United States men’s soccer has had to offer.
Because he has been through the system with former Men’s national team head coach and now Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, Bradley knows the inner workings of American soccer better than any big name European coach.
In the past the USSF has tried using high priced European coaches, like Bora Milutinović who coached the Americans during the 1995 World Cup in the United States and it has not brought the most effective result.
The best solution to American soccer to make it to the next level of international competition is to help develop young American players both abroad and at home. Tim Howard, the American goalkeeper who plays for English Premier League squad Everton, is one of the best goalkeepers in Europe because the competition level in American has risen to a higher level than 10 years ago.
Some may argue that Bradley’s son, Michael, being part of the team is an example of nepotism. But Michael Bradley, who plays in the German Bundesilga’s top flight with Borussia Mochenglabach, has more than earned a role as the holding midfielder.
The United States will maybe never win the FIFA World Cup. But at least with Bradley at the helm for the next four years, the Red White and Blue will be in the best position to win. One thing that they would have to improve on would be the backline. It seems that the Americans have to battle back far too often.