San Diego, the newest addition to MLS, have made a significant move by appointing Bob Bradley as their inaugural coach.

This decision, reported by FOX Sports Mexico’s Gus Mendoza, marks the beginning of an exciting chapter for the expansion team set to debut in the 2025 season.

Bradley’s appointment comes as a surprise to many; especially considering the speculation surrounding other high-profile candidates like Miguel Herrera and Hugo Sanchez.

However, this choice is a testament to his extensive experience and previous successes in the league.

The 66-year-old experienced boss is well-known to Tom Penn, the current CEO of the club. He previously hired him as the first head coach of LAFC when he was their president. This prior working relationship likely played a role in Bradley’s selection, The Athletic adds.

Confirmation that San Diego have appointed their first coach.
Confirmation that San Diego have appointed their first coach.

Confirmation that San Diego have appointed their first coach.

From MLS to Norway and back

Bob Bradley’s coaching journey has been nothing short of diverse and challenging. After a tumultuous stint with Toronto FC, where he was dismissed in mid-2022 following a disastrous season, Bradley took up the role of coach at Norwegian side Stabaek.

His time in Norway has been challenging, with the team being relegated to the second division under his watch. Despite these setbacks, the American’s extensive experience and tactical acumen remain highly regarded in the soccer community.

Bradley’s tenure at Stabæk also includes working alongside his son, Michael Bradley, who serves as an assistant coach. It remains unclear if Michael will join him in California, but the possibility adds an intriguing element to the story.

The San Diego side are set to become the 30th team in MLS, playing their home games at Snapdragon Stadium. It also hosts the NWSL’s San Diego Wave and Canada’s national team goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan. The Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, a collaboration with Club Tijuana of Mexico, and British-Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Mansour control the club.

The club has already made headlines by signing Mexico international Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano from Dutch giants PSV, signaling their intent to compete vigorously right from the start. Lozano, a former Serie A winner, will be the team’s first star player, bringing both experience and flair to the squad.

Return to familiar grounds for Bradley

Bradley’s return to MLS is not just about taking on a new challenge with San Diego FC. He has also been linked with other roles within the league, particularly with the New England Revolution.

The Revolution are currently in a transitional phase after the resignation of legendary USMNT boss Bruce Arena due to allegations of insensitive remarks. The club endured a difficult end to the season, crashing out of the playoffs in the first round.

Bob Bradley’s coaching career is marked by significant achievements, including his time as the USMNT head coach from 2006 to 2011. One of his most notable accomplishments was leading the USA to the finals of the 2009 Confederations Cup, where they defeated European Champions Spain, ending their 35-game unbeaten streak. Despite eventually losing to Brazil in the final, Bradley’s tactical prowess was widely praised.

The 66-year-old will have to start from scratch when he takes over as head coach at Snapdragon Stadium.

But, his extensive experience in MLS, combined with his recent international coaching endeavors, equips him well for this task. Meanwhile, San Diego FC’s decision to appoint him as their first head coach is a bold and strategic move. His wealth of experience and proven track record make him an ideal candidate to lead the new franchise.

Photo credit: IMAGO / Icon Sportswire.