As the American Outlaws (Beemsville-approved U.S. Soccer Supporters’ Group) put it: ” four more years of sweatpants, dire interviews and unmatched intensity to look forward to!”
Yes, in a move many predicted by many but few endorsed, Bob Bradley has re-upped for another four years as the coach and mastermind for Team America. U.S. Soccer Federation headpiece, Sunil Gulati formally re-introduced Bob yesterday after purportedly meeting with Juergen Klinsmann (the popular choice) in California last weekend. Bradley had been mentioned as a possibility for several coaching vacancies in England, and with the recent memories of the second four-year term of previous coach Bruce Arena, many U.S. Soccer-philes were ready for some new blood.
Not so fast, says Gulati! We like stability, we like the results of the last two years (well, most of them), and Bob is our kind of guy; i.e., he’s not going to make waves with youth player development and he understands the idiosyncratic nature of MLS scheduling conflicts. Well, OK, if that’s going to be your criteria…
Around these parts we’re of two minds about re-upping Coach Stoneface:
1) The team seemed to improve under him, we had some nice results in the Confederation Cup and winning our group in the World Cup, and he capped a lot of players looking for the right mix. Also he showed the ability to re-adjust tactics within games when needed and a certain ruthlessness for selecting players based on form and injury. He’s a good solid choice.
-Or on the other hand-
2) His teams continuously come out flat at the beginning of games and halfs, he made some terrible player selections for key games (Ricardo Clark and Robbie Findley, anyone), and some of his defensive strategies seem questionable. We should’ve beat Ghana, plain and simple. Also, there’s a huge danger of the team and player pool becoming stagnant with another four years of the same guy in charge.
So which argument is correct? Probably elements of both. But what many fans have to accept is that the U.S. head coaching position is not a coveted and treasured post on the world soccer scene. To get someone flashier – like Klinsmann, Hiddink, Mourinho, etc., we would need to flash serious money and Gulati and company would have to give up some control over certain processes. Obviously they’re not ready to do that. So Bob is our man. He’s loyal, hardworking, and intelligent. He has shown a propensity to adapt. Also, he’s American and very familiar with the challenges of soccer in this country. That counts for something.