Bob Bradley has passed his first major test to be National Team Coach in my eyes. Unlike his predecessor and mentor, Bruce Arena who often times ignored the play of non “chosen” American players based in European leagues, Bradley picked three players for the upcoming friendlies versus Ecuador and Guatemala that I have been calling for to get a call up for their first cap: Watford’s Jay DeMerit, Sheffield Wednesday’s Frankie Simek and Benny Feilhaber who has played very well this year in the Bundesliga. In addition, Youngsters Heath Pearce a future star for the national team at left back who has been largely ignored and Jonathan Spector who has been one of the most consistent players on lowly West Ham were recalled to the National Team.
Players based in England called up to the National Team:
Oguchi Onyewu (Newcastle)
DeMarcus Beasley (Manchester City)
Tim Howard (Everton)
Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham)
Clint Dempsey (Fulham)
Jay DeMerit (Watford)
Frank Simek (Sheffield Wednesday)
Other European based players called up to the team:
Kasey Keller (Borussia Moenchengladbach, Germany)
Steve Cherundolo (Hannover, Germany)
Michael Bradley (Heerenveen, Netherlands)
Heath Pearce (Nordsjaelland, Denmark)
Benny Feilhaber (Hamburg, Germany)
By mixing young players based in Europe like Pearce, Spector and Simek with some of the top American players, Bradley is allowing the potential squad that will work together in South Africa 2010 a little time to gel three years before the World Cup. I like his philosophy and hope these call ups indicate a new willingness to work young European based players into the national pool well in advance of World Cup 2010 qualifying.