Does Bob have the most to gain in the World Cup?


Following each of the last two World Cups, Bruce Arena had hoped to draw European interest for his coaching services, specifically from clubs in England. Unfortunately for Arena the poor performance in the 06 World Cup basically ended any chance of that happening. While many US fans don’t think all that highly of Bob Bradley, he perhaps has the most to gain out of an impressive World Cup showing. A win against England, followed by an impressive showing in the tournament, would likely see Bradley draw some interest from European clubs.

Here me out, as I can feel the Bob Bradley haters getting ready to blast this idea. I have previously sought to debunk the Bob Bradley haters here and here. In my view Bradley is a good, but not great, coach. On the negative side, the US often has performed a bit unevenly – we often don’t know what US team will show up – some of his in game substitution choices often come too late, and some of his favorite players – Ching, Bornstein – strike me as players that are just not good enough. But even the best managers at the best clubs make head scratching decisions (see Ken on Benitez). But beyond this nitpicking, I think the international soccer community tends to see the larger positives. The US has maintained the upward trajectory highlighted by the performance in the Confederations Cup. The victory against Spain was a tactical masterpiece by Bradley who keyed on Xavi and clogged the middle of the field. The US has shown the fortitude to come from behind and win critical games and once again won their World Cup qualifying group. So in other words, Bradley already has a good solid rep abroad.

Now with all the hype surrounding the US-England game and with the British press focusing intensely on the game, Bob Bradley will become even more of a known quantity in England well before the game ever takes place. A gutty, tactically astute performance against England that results in a US victory would no doubt have the British press heaving praise on the American manager. This, followed up by a good World Cup showing – ie we advance, and perhaps win a game – would only further boost his in Europe profile. So if US soccer goes in another managerial direction – hello Klinnsman? – as many expect, Bob Bradley’s name will likely draw some European interest.

While Bruce Arena may have been more deserving of a European job, the fact is that when Arena was around US soccer was viewed as a football backwater where no one knew anything about the game. This was unfair and while this view still maybe present in places like Spain, in England and other northern European countries this is definitely not the case anymore. I always thought Brian McBride would be the first American manager in Europe – most likely Roy Hodgson’s replacement with Fulham – but a victory over England and an impressive World Cup, will have some clubs in Europe looking for Bradley’s number.

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2 Responses

  1. Geez, that’s unbleevaible. Kudos and such.

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