Bradley’s Contract Extended
- Updated: August 31, 2010
Bob Bradley signed a four year contract extension yesterday to lead the U.S. Men’s National Team as head coach through 2014, ending over two months of speculation since the U.S. fell to Ghana in the World Cup Round of 16. Bradley will lead the team through the next four years culminating in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
“I’m very, very excited to continue in the role as the head coach of the United States’ Men’s National Team,” said Bradley. “I certainly believe that the work that went into the past four years, the experiences that we’ve had will really work for us as we put once cycle behind us and begin the process of the next four years.”
Bradley made history leading the U.S. to the 2009 Confederations Cup final and then topped a World Cup group containing England. His future as coach was in question, however, when the U.S. was knocked out by Ghana for the second straight World Cup after some questionable line-up decisions; most notably giving Ricardo Clark the start after leaving him on the bench the previous two games only to take him out of the match just 31 minutes in.
The loss was especially disappointing considering the U.S. had a rare opportunity to advance all the way to the semifinals for the first time since 1930 without facing a single team ranked above them.
“The disappointment comes from being in a situation where we had a chance to advance,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “It’s a little bit strange because if we had finished second in the group, played Germany and lost in overtime 2-1, my guess is we would have all felt differently even though the performance for the final outcome would have been the same except we wouldn’t have won the group”
Should Bradley fulfill his entire contract, he’ll become the second U.S. coach in a row to lead the team for at least 8 years. Bruce Arena coached the team to the 2002 World Cup Quarterfinals and then went winless four years later and finished last in their group in the 2006 World Cup. Despite this, Gulati sees stability as a good thing.
“We’ve been fortunate in our history, in the last 20 years at least, we’ve had coaches who are able to complete cycles,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “Obviously, if you can’t complete one cycle you’re not going to go eight years. We’ve had more stability and I think that’s a positive. We’ve had a lot of discussions on the positives and some of the potential freshness issues that have been discussed and we think all the positives greatly outweigh any of our other concerns, including the positive that we have a coach who has coached 70-plus games internationally.”
With over two months taken to make a decision, Bradley explored options coaching clubs overseas and was mentioned for the vacancies at English Premier League sides Fulham FC and Aston Villa, though it is unclear if he was ever a serious candidate for either position.
“From my standpoint, I said many times that the period following the World Cup it was necessary for both sides to have time to assess things, assess opportunities,” said Bradley. “For sure, the opportunity to coach in Europe at some point is something that I would really enjoy, but at the same time the honor of coaching our national team and continuing the work of the last four years, was and will always be the most important work.”
Bradley holds a career record of 38-21-8 with the U.S. National Team. Bradley coached in MLS and at the college level before taking over as head coach of the U.S. National Team.