Yes the USA is very close to qualifying for the 2010 World Cup for next summer and this coming October there will be two more matches remaining for the Nats when they visit Honduras on the 10th & home against Costa Rica on the 14th. Once the official word comes from FIFA that our boys have qualified for South Africa then we can watch the World Cup Draw this coming December 4th. Bob Bradley will be leading the boys whether most of us care or not.
If everyone listened to the latest podcast hosted by Kartik Krishnaiyer, once again a healthy discussion about the game here in the United States and how can the people inside soccer house have a real brain in hiring the right coach to lead our players to a better performance on the field. Well I can tell all of you who are demanding a better coach from Europe and of course are going to tell me that it should be Wenger, Sir Alex, Benitez, Mourinho, Hiddink and so on that they are from the top clubs or a top European side won’t be coming here. After the debacle of trying to sign Jurgen Klinsmann to lead our players by Sunil Gulati I can guarantee you they won’t be coming over here since all US Soccer does care about is the power.
While most of you are still screaming for Bradley getting axed and can’t give me a name outside of the fantasy realm to lead our National Team, I have found someone who has had some success in Europe and some success in CONCACAF. Yes he is Dutch and he just recently was let go by the Polish FA, but I believe he can help turn the fortunes of US Soccer around for the future. He is the former head coach of Real Madrid, Ajax & Feyenoord Leo Beenhakker.
This man that led a Trinidad & Tobago side into the last World Cup after going thru a goal aggregate playoff against Bahrain and winning it to advance. They were drawn into group B playing against Sweden, were down a man when Avery John was shown a second yellow card for red in the 46th minute and earned a scoreless draw. They held off England scoreless till an 83rd minute goal by Peter Crouch & sadly an own goal in the 25th minute allowing Paraguay to have a lead and the win but both sides were already eliminated during group play.
But here is my other belief that Beenhakker is a strong candidate to replace Bradley as the head coach, he actually praised Major League Soccer as a strong league. While coaching the Polish National Team he told one of his players to come to MLS and try to get fit. This man also knows the in’s & out’s of CONCACAF as he has seen plenty of matches for the Soca Warriors both in the 2005 Gold Cup tournament and the remaining World Cup Qualifiers they had to perform in.
Right away I can name you his assistant coach that can help him out with training, scouting & other issues that will plague Beenhakker as he gets use to his new surroundings. Current US U-20 National Team coach Thomas Rongen who has plenty of experience in MLS as the head coach of the former Tampa Bay Mutiny, DC United & a short stint with Chivas-USA. Before he got into coaching Rongen was a former Ajax player and then came over to the USA in 1979. He played with clubs in the NASL like the Washington Diplomats, Los Angeles Aztecs & Ft. Lauderdale Strikers. Rongen can still keep his U-20 coaching job and help the youth players advance towards the senior side with Beenhakker’s formations & tactics.
The main question if Beenhakker does decide to take the job and if US Soccer doesn’t botch it up is the length of stay for the Dutchman. I honestly believe a cycle for him is not enough to get his message across. The brass at US Soccer must give him two cycles to make sure that our boys are prepared and ready to fight on the field. At the same time he has to be the man in charge to tell a player that is looking lazy on the field or in training that he has no time for their shenanigans. While I don’t mind Bradley defending some of his players from the press for a bad match, sometimes he hasn’t put his foot down hard enough.
This in my view is the man to take over the Bob Bradley era after the 2010 World Cup. If some of you good folks have a better man to take over the job then go ahead and list them, but let’s not bring up the ones that everyone dreams about, because those men are to high for US Soccer to reach and will never leave their cushy jobs to come here.