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Bob Bradley Fired; Who’s Next for USMNT?

bradley533 300x233 Bob Bradley Fired; Whos Next for USMNT?Where were you when the news dropped that U.S. soccer fired Bob Bradley?

A day after the Manchester United blitz of the MLS All Stars, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced the immediate termination of head coach Bob Bradley.  According to the federation’s press release, the firing happened during a meeting in Carson City.

“We want to thank Bob Bradley for his service and dedication to U.S. Soccer during the past five years,” said Sunil Gulati. “During his time as the head coach of our Men’s National Team he led the team to a number of accomplishments, but we felt now was the right time for us to make a change. It is always hard to make these decisions, especially when it involves someone we respect as much as Bob. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

It was no secret that the poor results during the Gold Cup, which ended with a devastating loss to Mexico, hurt Bradley’s standing.  While the United State’s most recent World Cup run had some incredible highlights, none better than Landon Donovan’s goal, the team underachieved in the eyes of many.  The same mistakes also kept popping up in U.S. team matches: the failure of young players to step up, not scoring the first goal (although this wasn’t the problem against Mexico), and failure to settle on a system/formation.

The timing, however, is bizarre. If U.S. Soccer was unhappy with the Gold Cup, why not fire Bradley then?  Unless there is something we don’t know that happened behind the scenes, the timing does not make sense except that the new coach will have a chance to assemble the rosters for the fall friendlies.

So who’s next?  It is no secret that Gulati’s white whale has been Jurgen Klinsmann, who has repeatedly turned the job down.  With a new position and rebuild under his control in Toronto, it is distinctly possible the U.S. job is less attractive to him now.

If the USSF wanted to turn to MLS to hire its new coach, its most promising candidates are all in playoff runs.  Jason Kreis is trying to lead RSL to its second MLS Cup in three years, Sigi Schmid has Seattle points behind LA, Dominic Kinnear’s Houston is chasing the Eastern Conference teams but is in the race, and Hans Backe obviously is trying to win an illusive title for New York.  Bruce Arena is a possibility, but he’s been on this ride before.

The depth in the federation is also lacking, with the firing of Thomas Rongen and not having named his replacement.  So a likely replacement will come from outside the United States.  But who is available?  The only big name Euro coaches are those who haven’t been picked up by a team – Carlo Ancelotti, Claudio Ranieri, Diego Maradona.  A big name that is available and has international experience is Marcello Lippi, the World Cup-winning manager for the Italian national team in 2006.

USSF will hold another press conference Friday; what do you expect them to say tomorrow?  Who do you think will or should be the next head coach of U.S. national team?

58 Responses to Bob Bradley Fired; Who’s Next for USMNT?

  1. Gulati should follow the example of UNC’s AD and fire himself tomorrow. It should be Jurgen and we need a total overhaul of American soccer. Bradley choked a two-goal lead to Brazil in the Confederations Cup, lost to Ghana in the easiest World Cup draw we’ll ever have, and besides losing to Panama we lost to Mexico in an American stadium packed with Mexicans.

    Not to mention our incredibly bad development program, which is 100% on Bradley.

    We want Jurgen. Hope it’s not Lippi. He’ll fail and it’ll be “proof” foreign coaches don’t work and we’ll go back to college coaches who specialize in mentoring late bloomers.

    • Robert says:

      I agree with the firing of Gulati as well. I feel sorry for the next USA coach. He has to pick from a bunch of Euro Bench Warmers and MLS ball booters. I believe its time to admit that a Federation can’t develop quality international talent.

      • Roger(Pro/Rel) says:

        “we need a total overhaul of American soccer”

        I can not agree with you more Mr Justice!
        Until we get rid of the cartel and its many links to the U.S. sports elite(NFL mainly), club soccer is not going to pursuit its true potential in our nation. The last 16 years are a good example of it.

    • dan says:

      what player development experience does Jurgen bring? (besides his coaching stint in Germany)

    • Alan says:

      Lippi would be an amazing coach. I’m not sure why he would be a bad choice.

      • BamaMan says:

        Lippi is an amazing coach. However, he has never coached or played outside Italy. Look at the level of culture shock that Capello is facing in England and multiply X100 when Lippi gets a load of the truly bizarre talent identification and development model we have here in the US. That is a rebuilding project that will take decades to turn around. Lippi doesn’t have the time or the energy for that, I suspect.

        Klinsmann, it is true, does not have the same level of success as a coach on his resume as Lippi. However, Klinsmann proved that he could totally reinvent a national team by upending Germany’s player development system and their style of play before 2006. But, even more importantly, he lives in the US and understands the soccer culture here even if he was not raised in it. He knows what works and what doesn’t work about soccer in America. He is the person to bridge the divide between US soccer and the global powerhouses. Just as Germany is still benefiting from his changes, I believe the US will benefit from changes he makes for decades to come. Wins and losses are important, but I think Klinsmann’s bigger impact can be redefining the American soccer culture of player development.

    • Dave C says:

      I don’t think there’s any shame in losing to Ghana. Their team is at least equally matched to the USMNT.

      Likewise, blowing a 2-0 lead against Brazil might be disappointing, but at the same time: They’re BRAZIL!!!

      I don’t think the national coach can or should be responsible for a “devlopment program”.

      The Gold Cup performances were poor, so maybe that’s what cost him.

  2. Clampdown says:

    I don’t find the timing bizarre, actually. I’d venture a guess that Gulati and co. have been using the time since the Gold Cup to find their new man. It’s also possible they believe that with the increased press for the All-Star game, following the US Women’s run in the World Cup, makes this a good time to keep soccer in the public consciousness.

    Didn’t Buffon just say this week he’d like to manage the US team some day? Ha.

    • Charles says:

      Agreed on the timing. They weren’t going to fire someone that has been ok for no one lined up. Expectations are they name someone tomorrow.

  3. truth says:

    The timing isn’t weird at all. It’s a few weeks after our sh**ty Gold Cup. I guess you could say the timing is bizarre because he should have been fired after the USMNT’s World Cup performance. Our World Cup performance had a single “incredible highlight” and a generally awful performance that was salvaged by Robert Green’s fantastic goalkeeping skills.

    We need a solid foreign coach because our coaches don’t have the necessary experience to compete at the top of the international game. Also, last time I checked Maradona was an Argentinian man who has never coached a European club. He’s also not a big name in management, despite his hilarious appointment to the Argentinian head spot for a couple of years.

    • Dave C says:

      I noticed that too – how the heck is Maradona a big-name Euro coach?
      He’s a big name, but he’s not European, and he’s barely even a coach.

  4. Rexchex says:

    Tab Ramos, Eric Wynalda, Alexi Lalas and Marcel Balboa. Dream Team.

  5. FootyFan says:

    Nowak! He is the best fit and experience with the political bs of US SF. Hate to see him go but hate seeing US team keep getting trashed.

  6. Daniel says:

    Anyone but Klinsmann. The Germans make the World Cup semis over half the time, so just making the semis in Germany is no achievement. Plus the team was not all that good in the lead up to 06 World Cup. His stint at Bayern was also a flop, getting the can less then a season in. With that as his resume, I don’t see what gets so many peoples heart in a flutter over this guy.

    • SSReporters says:

      It would be a dream for us to make the semifinals, let alone finish 3rd.

    • BamaMan says:

      What was so impressive about Klinsmann was not that he took Germany to semis, it was that he took German soccer into the 21st century. He totally changed their style of play and made huge strides in their player development model. He brought more and more ethnic minorities into the Germany national team system – something we still struggle with. And, he would make a great fit for the US because he’s not a foreigner parachuting in here. He’s spent a great deal of time in the US and has a great understanding of what does and what does not work in the US player development system. I hope they not only hire him but give him full control to turn the US soccer pyramid upside down.

    • Seybold says:

      People forget that when Klinsmann took the Germany job, Germany was awful. Terrible. Germany didn’t win a single game in the 2004 Euros, and only comical refereeing kept them from getting blown out by Latvia. Latvia!

      All the top German managers turned the job down because they saw German talent as hopeless–and that is the dream job of every German manager! Otto Rehhagel even opted to keep his job with Greece. Greece!

      Klinsmann took a chance on developing young talent, and radically changed Germany’s style to an attacking game. He had the good sense to hire a first-rate tactical assistant, and import American conditioning methods he’d learned in California.

      He mixed the best of Europe and America. It worked. It can work again, provided he brings in a top-notch tactician.

      • short passes says:

        Bamaman and Seybold — great posts! Glad to see you did your homework on Klinsmann. Lots of very uninformed opinions floating around.

      • Dave C says:

        I dunno, I think Klinsmann did a decent job with the German national team, but people get over excited about him.

        He got to the semis of a WC played at home, which for Germany is no better than par for the course. The achievement was made to look better simply because it followed a rare blip in German football history in which they had been particularly pedestrian.

        “He brought more and more ethnic minorities into the Germany national team system” – this is hardly an achievement of Klinsmann – it’s actually a simple result of changing demographics in Germany (they have an increasingly racially diverse population), and a change in German citizenship law – I think until relatively recently, you had to have two German citizen-parents in order to become a German citizen, which made citizenship a relatively closed shop, even to long term residents.

        So no matter who had been German coach around 2006, it was inivitable that there would be more ethnic minorities in the team than in prior generations.

        As for bringing in “American conditioning methods” – this may have some impact over the course of a four week tournament, but you have to remember that the vast majority of the German players’ training during the year is conducted with their clubs, not under the guidance of Klinsmann. If the German players have good conditioning, surely most of that is thanks to the coaches of Bayern Munich, Dortmund, Leverkusen, Werder, Stuttgart, etc. (and haven’t the German team always been famed for their conditioning anyway?).

        In short, I think he’s a good coach. I think he’d be a good fit for the US team. Maybe I’m not giving him enough credit for turning around the German team, but I don’t think he’s the messiah that a lot of people claim him to be.

        • BamaMan says:

          My admiration of Klinsmann is not so much about his on-field success but about the way in which he achieved. He took on the sacred cows in German soccer. First, he challenged the notion that Germans had to play boring, defensive soccer. He turned them into an aggressive attacking squad. Second, the changing composition of the national team was not automatic. In Germany – as in the US – there was institutional favoritism towards white players. Very few black, Turkish, or even Eastern European-descended players got selected. That wasn’t because there wasn’t quality talent but because there was a view that those players could not play the “german way.” Klinsmann proved that theory wrong.

          • Dave C says:

            Well I think it’s a misconception that there was a notion that Germans had to play “boring, defensive soccer.” Their soccer history is full of great attacking players – Muller, Moller, Litbarsky, Matthaus, Klinsman himself, Voller, Rumenigge; attacking, visionary sweepers like Beckenbauer and his eventual successors such as Matthias Sammer; and raiding full-backs like Paul Breitner, Andreas Brehme, Ziege, all the way to the modern heir, Philip Lahm.

            Klinsman’s team is flattered by the fact that they followed the only period in German history when the team was full of journeymen.

            As for the ethnic thing:
            In Germany – as in the US – there was institutional favoritism towards white players. Very few black, Turkish, or even Eastern European-descended players got selected.

            I don’t know if this is true at club level, but at international level these guys were not overlooked solely due to any misconceptions about “not playing the German way” – they were overlooked because according to Germany’s own citizenship laws (nothing to do with the Deutschefussballbund), many such players were simply ineligble to play for Germany.

  7. Mike says:

    Hire Gaza

  8. Craig says:

    Couldn’t agree more that Gulati is the problem, although getting rid of Bradley is the right move at the moment. Gulati has always given me the impression that “progress” was enough for him, rather than real success. It made me ill after the World Cup to read so many articles that treated the WC as a decent tournament for the US, and I think US Soccer has played into the low expectations. If you want to achieve real success, it needs to be perfectly clear that squeaking by Algeria and losing to Ghana is anything but success. It shouldn’t take a world-class humiliation at the hands of your only real rival to prompt this kind of action, but now that it has happened I can only hope that a world-class coach is brought in. But with Gulati at the helm I have little faith that this will happen.

  9. Roger says:

    A tactical coach is what the USMNT needs. Apart form the defense (as always), the MLS All-Stars looked good up front in the first half. Backe coached the team with certain tactics and they looked threatening for a little while. If the USMNT had a tactically-oriented coach like say, Guus Hiddink.

    He’s pushed national teams beforehand with like of South Korea, Australia. If the USSF can do something right for once (apart from firing Bradley), hopefully they can convince Hiddink to become the coach of the USMNT. The hard part is swaying from being Turkey’s national team.

  10. Casey Mays says:

    Fellow Yanks,
    Bielsa is the only foreign free-agent coach that should be considered by Gulati. Former coach of Chile in last WC, Johan Cryff said they played most attractive style during first round in 2010. Chile was banned from WC qualifying for a near decade. Bielsa, an argentine, built them into a machine and nurtured their young talent. He is an OCD nightmare with clipboard in-hand on sidelines, but sometimes the best coaches are…
    Hate to admit it but if you want a fresh American start with 3 years to truly BUILD AND QUALIFY before Brazil2014 we need Shellas Hyndman and Oscar Pareja to indroduce the style and players suited for Claudio Reyna’s new USNT Curriculum. The reason I hate to admit it is because FC Dallas would really miss them. Not only are they scouting and developing young players that are “outside the box” of the normal club system, they are playing with an attractive style that Reyna mentioned recently as ["one of the clubs we've identified that play the right way."-US U-18 Academy Finals, halftime interview] By developing talent such as Brek Shea, a straight from high school recruit, they are trying to not make the same so-called “mistakes” that Freddy Adu made (even though he’s proven in the recent Gold Cup he’s grown up a bit & belongs). ***note-Shea will play in the next WC. By staying at home and not getting a call-up for Gold Cup (Bradley’s non-choice), he became more confidently dangerous by playing more games and now is 2nd leading scorer in MLS. He didn’t play MLS all-star game because of brutal league and CONCACAF Champions League schedules, again getting the proper system time and confident moving forward…not wasting time getting hammered by Man U so we all see how improper our “All-Star” game has become…pay attention to FC Dallas, similar to Kreis, developing a SYSTEM, both on the field and in YOUTH DEVELOPMENT. They play “the right way.” Isn’t it time our USMNT did it and truly FLOWED on the field? I appreciate all the effort and determination our boys have shown on the field, it’s just time to channel it differently.

  11. ManUnited says:

    Jurgen Klinsmann would be great for US. Klinsmann will bring fresh ideas and a complete overhaul of US soccer foundation starting with kids/youth/street/college/pro. Give him power and time. In eight years, we will catch up/develop, and become a much better force. Get rid of the college/draft system and let the market rule. Continue the way we are, in twenty years, we will be at the same spot. Remember, doing something over and over again without getting results is Insanity.

    • Charles says:

      How exactly is Klinsmann going to “get rid” of the college/draft system ?

      Is he going to prevent MLS teams from drafting college players or outlaw colleges from playing soccer ?

      What a joke.

      • Alan says:

        I don’t think we need a draft system to get players out of college, but regardless, how is Klinsmann going to change that? Is he taking over for Garber too? lol

        • Charles says:

          Well I think it is more of a working together non-agreement.

          IF colleges are paying (scholarships, training, etc ) MLS future talent because MLS doesn’t have enough money ( even Man U doesn’t have enough to train all the college players/see baseball for a pefect example )….then MLS probably doesn’t want to take players halfway through seasons and scholarships, while wrecking the gravy train.

          The draft ? We are not going to discuss parity are we ? Please don’t, I don’t care about non-parity opinions, go watch Barca win Europe again…………
          ……..But I guess Mr K is going to run MLS and US Soccer too.

    • Charles says:

      I am not done with your post.

      So you want to “let the market rule” by getting rid of something the participants in the market thought was best for them ( going to college ) ?

      yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

    • Alex says:

      Totally agree although since mls is basically a seperate corporation its that bastards garbers job, so long as clubs are majority owned and operated by mls. But I agree the draft system is broken, its slavery and it doesn’t produce any results. The way it is done around the world with remarkable results is club based academies and what you said, market rule. This maybe nails on chalkboard for mls fanboys and parity loving idiots who love watching everyone hold hands as they cross the finish line.listen I don’t have a problem with parity, in small amounts, at all. But people like Charles who would rather see teams hold hands than advancement of talent is dumb. All of the top players around the world come from academies . College draft is outdated and doesn’t work at all. Academies and market based structure is the way to go, I don’t care if the parity model gets trampled so long as it greatly improves talent. Besides playoffs provide enough parity to guarantee a diversity of champions

      • BamaMan says:

        Alex,

        Here is my simple proposal: an MLB-style draft that includes all unsigned American and Canadian talent at the age of 18. Give each club with an academy a limited number of “protected players” in their flock that cannot be drafted. If players aren’t satisfied with how high they’re drafted, they can go to college and re-enter later. That system has not only sustained the majors, but distributed enough talent to keep 3 levels of minors and multiple independent leagues in business over the year. If we want to build a real pyramid in soccer, why not import a few ideas from the only sport in the US that currently has a pyramid that functions (albeit without pro/rel).

        • Matt says:

          Thank you! it makes so much more sense than this ridiculous “Superdraft”. This isn’t the NFL where there is only one league catering to the young talent.

        • Charles says:

          Is someone stopping MLS teams from drafting 18 year olds ?
          I thought they could, no ?

          Read Moneyball, much better odds drafting a college player who has played real games, rather than minor league guys that have just played. Not even close.

  12. Robert says:

    This is great news for US Soccer. Gulalti has to go as well and the whole soccer pyramid has to be reevaluated. Sorry MLS fanboys but this is for the betterment of the US National Team.

  13. bryan says:

    Is the timing of this the reason why it seems surprising? I don’t understand, I thought it was pretty much assumed he would let go pretty soon.

  14. Manuel says:

    Bradley’s biggest mistake was not starting Edson Buddle in the World Cup. He proved him self in the warm up game vs. Australia when he scored two goals. Plus in the little time that he had, Edson had many shoots on goal.

  15. Alan says:

    I vote for Lippi. We need a coach like him, as long as he doesn’t bring back the 2002 World Cup team. ;). In all seriousness, he is the best choice in my mind. Tactically sound, tons of experience, etc. It will probably be Klinsmann though.

  16. Rex says:

    Guus Hiddink. Lots of experience with different countries so he knows how to adapt. USA needs a foreign couch but someone who understands that USA is a different and unique beast.

  17. casualfan says:

    Mourinho loves America, and has hinted at a possible future here in the past. It’s a wet dream, but wouldn’t that be something?

    • BamaMan says:

      I would not be shocked to see Jose Mourinho take over as the USMNT head coach for the 2018 WC cycle. But we are a ways off from that.

  18. jjjon says:

    They fired him because USA is ranked 30th in the world and since Bob rarely wins games, mostly ties and looses these past 2 years, our ranking would have gone down even further and that could mean we wouldn;t be one of the top 3 cocncacaf teams so we would have to play more games to qualify for the world cup.

  19. Alex says:

    I’m glad he’s gone. He’s done nothing but bring the team down. Usmnt hasn’t recovered since 2002. Getting rid of Bradley is half the problem, now get rid of gulati. Though I highly doubt he’s ever going to step down, atleast mls don’t want him to since he is also chairman for mls, revolution and SUM. But he is the other problem too. We need a president that wants to advance the federation and look after the well being if the entire pyramid structure (a rebuild is more like it).

    As far as coaches go I don’t think we should hire Americans. We still have a long way to go with our coaches although I feel the next generation of American coaches will be some of the best as they bring experience from their playing days. RSL coach is a prime example. But he should be coach for usmnt. That’s too big a responsibility. Nor should we look to any mls coach for the job. Most usmnt players come from Scandinavian and English leagues. Mls and euro leagues are two totally different style of play. I think that’s something Bradley struggled with. We need a international coach. Someone like hiddink, batista, bielsa , Idk if pellegrini is free. Lippi would also be good too. Hell even maradona should do it. Klinsman isn’t our guy. He never had success with Germany and as far as us soccer is concerned didn’t he coach fc Hollywood? No, just cuz he’s foreign don’t mean he’s good. We gotta get this right and pick the right guy. We don’t want to be like Mexico jumping from one coach to another.

    Also I think we need more emphasis on a club based structure across the pyramid (doesn’t mean pro rel but that should happen as well) and as far as mls is concerned a total revamp of their structure, free agency and less restrictions so clubs can develop talent unrestricted without relying so much on the draft. If we do that we’ll see the usmnt be stocked more with mls players and that will not only make the usmnt stronger but mls stronger and us soccer in whole.

  20. Earl Reed says:

    A change was necessary, definitely Bradley’s teams had underachieved for much too long. If Klinsmann is as instrumental in instituting change from within as it sounds, then he’s our guy. The fact he pissed off Bayern Munich’s upper ranks is also likely a good sign. I don’t think Bayern is a team looking to build but rather to buy. The build mentality is what our soccer program needs.

    Obviously I’d love to see a change at the top of US Soccer, but I think US Soccer’s money is too wed to the NFL and other interests to see Gulati leave.

  21. Alex says:

    I’m glad he’s gone. He’s done nothing but bring the team down. Usmnt hasn’t recovered since 2002. Getting rid of Bradley is half the problem, now get rid of gulati. Though I highly doubt he’s ever going to step down, atleast mls don’t want him to since he is also chairman for mls, revolution and SUM. But he is the other problem too. We need a president that wants to advance the federation and look after the well being if the entire pyramid structure (a rebuild is more like it).

    As far as coaches go I don’t think we should hire Americans. We still have a long way to go with our coaches although I feel the next generation of American coaches will be some of the best as they bring experience from their playing days. RSL coach is a prime example. But he shouldnt be coach for usmnt. That’s too big a responsibility. Nor should we look to any mls coach for the job. Most usmnt players come from Scandinavian and English leagues. Mls and euro leagues are two totally different style of play. I think that’s something Bradley struggled with. We need a international coach. Someone like hiddink, batista, bielsa , Idk if pellegrini is free. Lippi would also be good too. Hell even maradona should do it. Klinsman isn’t our guy. He never had success with Germany and as far as us soccer is concerned didn’t he coach fc Hollywood? No, just cuz he’s foreign don’t mean he’s good. We gotta get this right and pick the right guy.

    Also I think we need more emphasis on a club based structure across the pyramid (doesn’t mean pro rel but that should happen as well) and as far as mls is concerned a total revamp of their structure, free agency and less restrictions so clubs can develop talent unrestricted without relying so much on the draft. If we do that we’ll see the usmnt be stocked more with mls players and that will not only make the usmnt stronger but mls stronger and us soccer in whole.

  22. Matt says:

    Does anyone know what time the press conference will be today? I will stop everything to tune in.

    I’m pulling for Klinsmann with every fiber of my being, but, for some reason, I have a really bad feeling about today…

  23. BamaMan says:

    GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL!!!!

    Pumped about the Klinsmann hire.

  24. Dave C says:

    Alright, I should add that despite my downplaying of the hype around Klinsy, I do think he’s a good choice for the USMNT, and (despite not being English born) the news of his appointment has certainly given me a sense of optimism.

    I just wonder if he will appoint the little-known former striker Jay Goppingen to his coaching staff (bonus points for anyone who knows who I’m talking about).

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