U.S. Soccer has fired Bob Bradley as head coach of the USMNT, following the team’s disappointing performance at the Gold Cup. The change comes before the U.S. begins its qualifying campaign for World Cup 2014.
From U.S. Soccer’s Website:
“We want to thank Bob Bradley for his service and dedication to U.S. Soccer during the past five years,” said 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.”
I think it’s the right decision. The team had regressed rather than progressed since South Africa. They were showing the characteristic signs (stale ideas, reluctance to use younger players, general malaise) one would expect from a second-term international coach. We knew what the floor was with Bradley. We also knew what the ceiling was. With the sport burgeoning in popularity here and rivals Mexico improving rapidly, staid mediocrity wasn’t the answer. Frankly, it wasn’t the answer when they decided to rehire him for Brazil.
Now, the salient question. What is the “change” that needed to be made? We were skeptical whether Bradley would be replaced, simply because the domestic options were slim and not discernibly brighter than staying the course. We thought the final decision would only be made with a firm replacement in hand. [Update: U.S. Soccer has an announcement planned for tomorrow.] Did Sunil finally set aside his ego and seal the deal with Klinsmann? Or, should we prepare to be underwhelmed?
[Update: Tweets and rumors are flying. Most of the buzz surrounds Klinsmann and, possibly, Italian World Cup winning coach Marcelo Lippi. Outside candidate could be Marco Van Basten.]
[Photo via Getty]