To show how far the U.S. has come under Bradley, USSF president Sunil Gulati (Bradley’s boss) said that he was “disappointed” in the team’s Round of 16 exit from the 2010 World Cup.
“It was all in front of us, is the best way of putting it. “We started dreaming after the first round. Thinking about what is possible and unfortunately, we think about what could have been The missed opportunity was partly a chance to get to the quarters and a matchup with Uruguay,” said Gulati, “but it’s also a missed opportunity to stay in American eyes for another four, five, six days, maybe 10 days, when interest is at an all-time high.”
Lets go back four years when Bradley took over after a disasterus World Cup in 2006. The backbone of that team needed replaced: Claudio Reyna, Brian McBride and Eddie Pope and the younger stars (Donovan, Dempsey) had failed to live up to expectations.
Under Bradley the U.S. had the most successful four-year period in its history. The team won the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, finished second at the 2009 Confederations Cup, won the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying group and finished first in its World Cup qualifying group for the first time since 1930.
That is not a bad track record.
But questions continue to be asked about his tactical skills. Against Ghana Bradley got it all wrong. Starting Ricardo Clark and Robbie Findley instead of Maurice Edu and Herculez Gomez or Edson Buddle was a terrible decision, and went a long way to contributing to the U.S. losing the game.
The question for the USSF is where does U.S. Soccer go from here and who is the right man to get us there? I don’t believe that is a better U.S. coach than Bob Bradley. So if the USSF is going to replace Bradley, then they need to do it with a non-US coach and also someone who understands soccer in America. That culture understanding is critical. Without that understanding you end up with fiasco’s like Sven-Göran Eriksson and Mexico or Ruud Gullit and the LA Galaxy.
The only non-American coach that fits my criteria is the former German coach Jürgen Klinsmann. Klinsmann has lived in LA for the last 12 years and understands America and American culture. He also took Germany to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2006. Klinsmann has the experience and knowledge that would help the U.S. He is a better choice than Bob Bradley.
If USSF can get Klinsmann as there new manager then go get him Sunil Gulati. If you cannot get Klinsmann, then keep Bradley as he has U.S. soccer moving in the right direction.
Photo Credit: Photo of soccer coach, Bob Bradley. Wilson Wong photo.