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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Who Will Replace Bob Bradley? by Chris Behrens

by Chris Behrens for World Football Commentaries

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 10: Bob Bradley, head coach of United States Soccer stands on the sidelines before the first half of a friendly match at the New Meadowlands on August 10, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Bob Bradley never played professionally
as is the norm for US National team managers.

Rumors of Bob Bradley leaving his position as US manager looking to become the first American manager ever in England for EPL side Aston Villa are circulating like crazy. If he does leave, a new opportunity will be presented to mix up the team and start off on a fresh 4-year cycle with new talent. With a 38-21-8 record through his tenure as national team manager according to ESPN, Bradley has set the standards high for whomever replaces him.
The best question now to ask is, “Who should manage the men in the USA jerseys?”
Here are 3 of my favorite candidates:

Jürgen Klinsmann

Apr 13, 2009 - Munich, Germany - Team coach JUERGEN KLINSMANN at a Bayern Munich press conference prior to the UEFA Champions League return leg match against FC Barcelona in Munich Photo via Newscom

Jürgen Klinsmann won the World Cup in
1990 and the European Cup in 1996 with Germany.

A highly experienced player/manager, Klinsmann, who has resided in California for 12 years, is a proven winner and success story that the US would love to have. One of the most successful players ever to wear a German jersey, he began his managerial career with the German national team in 2004 and led the team to a third place finish at the 2006 World Cup, losing to eventual champions Italy.

Klinsmann also managed German powerhouse Bayern Munich from 2008-2009 in a largely disappointing spell (According to Steve Goff of the Washington Post, Klinsmann was 25-9-9 in all competitions.) The US Soccer federation already has experience trying to lure in Klinsmann. They failed in 2006 to hire him as manager after Bruce Arena was sacked. The one problem that may keep Klinsmann away is his insistence on controlling player availability and involvement with the national team, which is an issue the US Federation will not back away from anytime soon.

Sigi Schmid

Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid. The New York Red Bulls and the Seattle Sounders played to a 1-1 tie during a Major League Soccer match at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, on June 20, 2009. Photo via Newscom

Sigi Schmid of the Seattle Sounders.

The Seattle Sounders manager has the most coaching wins in MLS history for a good reason. Many players of his have been quoted saying Schmid is the hardest working coach they have ever played for and a real joy to be around. He is a far cry from Bradley, as his personality sometimes explodes on the sidelines and his temper is a bit noticeable. Playing with emotion and heart, however, is the US national team's way lately and Schmid can certainly bring the best out in players in that respect.

Schmid also has been praised consistently for his defensive tactics (something the US desperately needs) and has an eye for new talent in general (Freddy Montero, anyone?) In addition, he also has experience managing the US U-20 national team so he’s familiar with the Federation along with MLS talent (he has managed at Los Angeles, Columbus, and Seattle). Sticking to hometown MLS-based talent instead of mostly European players would give the team a breath of fresh air too and introduce a whole new batch of talent.

Thomas Rongen

The United StatesÕ coach Thomas Rongen congratulates his team as they come off the field after their win against Cameroon 4-1 during the FIFA Under 20 World Cup Group C Match between the United States and Cameroon at the Mubarak Stadium on September 29, 2009 in Suez, Egypt. Photo via Newscom

Thomas Rongen.

Never heard of him? He is the current US U-20 national team coach and he has loads of management experience to bring to the table if he comes on board with the senior national team. Rongen has managed four MLS franchises and the U-20 team twice (sounds bad, I know), leading the U-20’s to the 2007 and 2009 World Cups for the age group. Basically, he's put a lot of turf under his soccer cleats.

Rongen also has an eye for the young talent already as he sees and reads about it nearly every day for the U-20’s and has had some success along the way in his 25+ years of managerial experience. Rongen would invigorate new players directly into the senior team early on with all the experience he has with young internationals. A complete dark horse in my book, Rongen could and should be considered for the senior national team as he certainly has paid his dues.

About the Author

Chris Behrens is a syndicated columnist at Soccerpro.com.

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