USMNT / World

Is Bob Bradley good enough?

US Soccer extended Bob Bradley’s contract today until the 2014 World Cup. Many people are upset by this move, but given Bradley’s accomplishments so far it is a good decision. While a more high profile European coach might have added some star power to the national team set up, it wouldn’t necessarily have been successful. With the exception of Jurgen Klinsmann there doesn’t appear to be a high profile coach that has a strong familiarity with US Soccer or American culture.

While Jurgen Klinsmann could have brought his experience from coaching the German national team and his excellent career, he does not have a lot of coaching experience. Don’t forget that the German soccer federation did not continue with Klinsmann after the 2010 World Cup, where Klinsmann managed to guide the German team to 3rd place. This doesn’t seem like a great accomplishment, though, considering that the German team had the talent to win the World Cup, especially since they had home country advantage. In addition Klinsmann had a very short stint at Bayern Munich.

As for Bob Bradley, he doesn’t have an excellent playing career to provide him gems of wisdom, but he has a great deal of experience as a coach. Of course coaching in MLS may not be that impressive. Bradley also has experience with the US U-23 national team and a full World Cup cycle with the Full men’s team. In addition his accomplishments at the international level speak for themselves.

To start, Bradley guided the US to finishing first in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament, which hasn’t happened in the modern era. He also guided the US to win the 2007 Gold Cup, which qualified the US for the 2009 Confederations Cup. Then at the Confederations Cup he guided the US to 2nd place while defeating the mighty Spanish team, which was on a major undefeated streak at the time.  Lastly, he won his World Cup Group, which the US has never done before. In addition the US was only bounced out of the tournament after losing to Ghana in overtime. There is no shame in that. Although it looked like the US could have gone further, the ball just doesn’t always bounce your way in soccer.

Bob Bradley has shown that he can motivate his players. The US has been fun to watch in part because of the never die attitude he has instilled. Certainly Bradley has his faults, but his accomplishments show that he has plenty of strengths too. Bob Bradley has done very well with the talent at his disposal. Considering the wealth of talent coming up from the youth ranks, Bradley may be able to accomplish even more than he did in his first four years. Of course the only thing he could do to top his first fours years is getting past the round of 16 in the 2014 World Cup. What do you think of Bob Bradley? What do you see as his strengths and weaknesses?

18 Comments

  1. This is not about star power it is about the future of US Soccer for the next 10 years and unfortunately, we have been saddled with a coach with no tactical sense, who is unable to separate his affinity for his favorites from the need to clean house and build a true National Team Program. This unfortunately will be Sunil Gulati’s legacy to US Soccer not his founding role in the creation of MLS.
    Sad Day!

    • Mike Servedio says:

      I couldn’t agree more. His team selections and commitment to defensive soccer will never allow the team to progress. Jurgen Klinsmann was a perfect replacement. He has already explained his plans to overhaul the youth system and that is something sorely needed to move soccer forward in this country.

  2. Disappointed. I like Bradley a lot more than many others, but I wanted him to move on to Europe. Both he and the national team need to grow.

  3. FKN unbelivable! Bob for another four years! Everyone prepare for another four years of Findley, Clark, Bornstein, Junior, sorry defense, etc.. He will not include new young(U20, U21) players on his rosters. Bob do not believe in change. He will stick to same roster expecting a different output. Look the Brazil game last month prove that he is not willing to change because the only reason he called Gonzalez was because one of his buddies did not want to play that day. Lets get rid of Gulati since he is the enabler. Bob resign if you have any dignity just like Dunga did.

  4. How can you knock Klinsmann for his time in Germany. First of all, it was 2006 not 2010. Secondly, he righted the ship and much of the success of the new German side can be attributed directly to his input. When he arrived the team was old and stale and he revamped the youth system and gave young players a chance to play based on FORM not REPUTATION. Sounds like something the US could use, yeah? He also was not terminated, he declined to renew his contract, huge difference.

    And… after an awful performance in Euro 2004, the German fans were DELIGHTED by the German performance in 2006, celebrating the huge result of finishing third.

    Knocking him to give credence to Bradley is absurd and wrong. For whatever reason he wasn’t considered (or took himself out of consideration) but don’t demean his abilities just to make Bradley look stronger.

    That’s weak.

    And I don’t buy for a second that they couldn’t get anyone other than Klinsmann. If you’re USSF and you’re serious about development, send Bradley off to Europe and go out and have a proper search for a manager. The US is not Real Madrid, or Manchester United where managers are lined up around the corner for their shot, you have to go out and look for them, in a formal, professional manner. The US commands an increasing amount of respect global and US soccer did its fans a tremendous disservice by not doing their due diligence to go out and find a suitable manager for this job.

  5. “The US commands an increasing amount of respect global and US soccer did its fans a tremendous disservice by not doing their due diligence to go out and find a suitable manager for this job.”

    wait a second…

    isn’t Bob Bradley the suitable manager who coached US Soccer to commanding increased global respect? …from saviour to suckass overnight.

    how soon we forget Bruce Arena was the man in 2002 then ’06…”crashed and burned” tying Italy in the group phase then a dubious penalty vs Ghana…this is a game of ever slimming margins, hard work, and plenty of luck…and I think USSF knows what it’s doing.

    too bad Guus Hiddink went to Turkey…

    • The ever-increasing pool of talent is what is gaining the US respect, specifically the high level of play from those playing abroad. Bradley gets no credit for this.

      This job would be attractive to a new manager because they could arrive and completely put their own stamp on this team both tactically and with respect to selections, since right now the way both are managed is poor.

    • I agree. I like Bradley. I think he did a good job overall. I think he could/should have done better. Had Maurice Edu never gotten injured last year, he would have had time to earn the starting spot he should have had all through the World Cup, and Rico Clark would never have started. I think the Bob Bradley haters are too short-sighted.

      That said, it was time for him to move on. Bradley wanted Europe. Gulati wanted Klinsmann. Both sides settled for the second prettiest girl because they couldn’t get the best. There were others besides Klinsmann out there. Guus Hiddink would have been perfect. USSF botched this whole process.

  6. Andrew Huff says:

    Wow, nice to see some responses. Thanks to Eli for catching my error. I meant 2006 World Cup. Jochim Loew was the German coach this time around.

    For those who don’t like Bradley, what do you make of his successes? Are they just not impressive, luck, or something else?

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  8. How exactly does Bradley get this second chance? The United States did not play a single convincing match of football in the entire World Cup. They played one strong half. England was terrible and it took a unique degree of terrible goalkeeping for us to beat them.

    If the soccer program is going to set its sights high, it has to signal those intentions by hiring a proven winner at an international level – or at least at a strong club level, all apologies to MLS. The idea is not to get a superstar for the sake of having a big name, the idea is to get a big name that fits. Nobody is advocating for Sven-Goran Ericksson (I hope).

    Re-hiring a guy who couldn’t even get on the shortlist for a mid-table EPL team owned by an American doesn’t show ambition. It shows a lack of decisiveness. Were the options really Klinsmann, Bradley, bust?

    Bradley isn’t a poor manager. He has had success. But he made a series of terrible decisions during the World Cup and he did it with a team of 30-year old guys. Next World Cup should feature a lot of new players, specifically in the back and up top, and the US should have a new guy in charge of identifying and pushing these players through the system starting now.

  9. There are positives and negatives with Bradley. The positives are laid out above quite well by Andrew. But the negatives are great enough to warrent concern.

    Bradley has shown he can be inflexable. His marriage to the 4-4-2, a World Cup where most if not all teams went with a five man midfield, is evidence of that. His insistance on playing Clark is beyond frustrating. (Clark would work better in the 5 man mid where he can be an out and out defensive specialist.)

    Now, you look at the tenure of any coach in any sport and you will find the good and the bad. Will Bradley adjust these negatives during this WC cycle? I don’t know but probably not. Coaches do what they do. They develop their schemes and systems over years and are not quick to get rid of them.

    Maybe if he was coaching on the club level, where you get 30-40 games to work on things, we would see a change. But the margins of error are a bit finer on the National team level and you get so few chances, that the changes may never come.

  10. Andrew Huff says:

    Just to add, I am sure that US Soccer could have had a very extensive search, but I don’t know for sure. I only brought up Klinsman because many people consider him to be a good fit due to his experience with US Soccer and his decision to live in the US.

    I still don’t see how Bradley can be considered to not have international success with the Gold Cup win, some important friendly wins, the Confederations Cup 2nd place finish, and winning his group at the World Cup. That seems like international success to me. What does it look like to other people? Just luck?

  11. Was this the high water mark for U.S. Soccer? bossing Germany in the quarters?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXQvQLUj6No

    or was beating Spain in summer ’09? Close results against Brasil (2-3) summer ’09 and Netherlands (2-1) in Amsterdam March 2010

    perhaps…France won the World Cup in 1998 then crapped out in 2002. Italy won the World Cup in 2006 then didn’t progress in 2010…boom and bust! PARITY. The world’s game is getting better and U.S. Soccer is part of that – I think as an aggregate, U.S. Soccer is better than it has ever been and that trend will only continue! GO U.S.! We’ll have a chance to see Bradley first hand in Chester Oct. 12 – who’s he gonna pick? Califf? Seitz?! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! GO UNION!

  12. 4-4-2 Haters out there! here’s an example of counter-attack 4-4-2 style:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeDvGOKiVQQ&feature=related

    Findley and Buddle were just backups for Charlie Davies. People scoff at Bradley picking these guys – and Hercules Gomez? just poor and outta control. Edson Buddle can play and Altidore and Davies made an awesome 1-2 punch with speed and good playmaking smarts. I think too that people forget the ardous task it is to make the national team. These players that are even getting looks had to prove themselves consistently in training and ‘tryout’ scenarios over and over. I think we’re getting our best out there. Gaining confidence!

  13. Bob Bradley's momma says:

    quit picking on my son! just look at what “America’s Best Soccer blogger” has to say:

    http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer/worldcup/story/usa-coach-bob-bradley-suffering-from-mistaken-identity

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