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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bob Bradley Named "Permanent" Coach

Tomorrow in New York, Bob Bradley, the interim coach of the US Men's National Team, will have the sword that was hovering over his head for the last six months removed. Or, perhaps, as with all professional sport's coaches, since he is now the permanent man for the job, he can deal with the seemingly temporary nature of the job.

The USSF should receive a yellow card for how this situation was handled. Mr. Bradley was given the job in December, along with the U-23 (Olympic team) head coaching duties. However, he was told by Mr. Sunil Gulati et al that he was not the first choice, or perhaps not even the second or third. He learned that a "permanent coach" would be named at a later date. Death row without the date of execution. But what did he do? He produced the results on and off of the field: 3 wins and a draw. Surely, not the stuff of dreams, but his professionalism was embraced by the players. Especially with a resounding victory over heated rivals, Mexico, in February. He is another in the long-line of US National Team coaches who has never played professionally. In other footballing countries, this would be sacrilege. But the gig in America is unlike any other in the soccer world. Mr. Bradley, such as Mr. Bruce Arena before him, had the skills to manage and succeed at this level. His legacy will be measured beginning in June.

With the Gold Cup to be held in North America, followed immediately by the more rigorous Copa America in Venezuela, we shall see how the team responds to Coach Bradley. And how Coach Bradely responds to his first two international tournaments. Now that he is just as "temporary" as any other coach. ;-)

Best wishes, Coach Bradley.

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