Swansea City has hired former USMNT coach Bob Bradley. The first American to coach in a top European league is now the first American to coach in the Premier League. Bradley was the preferred choice of Swansea’s American ownership group, who took control in July. This is a bold hire. It’s not clear how Bradley will fare.
According to SI Bradley was hired over Ryan Giggs and former Villarreal coach Marcelino.
Bradley is well regarded within the profession. He beat peak Spain during their run in a competitive match, albeit the Confederations Cup. England fans remember his plucky American team gutting out a draw at the 2014 World Cup. He has added to his résumé abroad since leaving the USMNT in 2011.
His Egypt tenure was commendable. Bradley kept the team competitive amidst political turmoil and a domestic league shutdown. He came within a playoff with Ghana of qualifying Egypt for the 2014 World Cup.
After leaving Egypt, Bradley spent two seasons in Norway with Staebek. He took the newly promoted side to ninth place in his first season and third in his second, qualifying for the Europa League. Bradley joined French club Le Havre in Ligue 2 in November 2015. They finished fourth, missing promotion on total goals scored.
The experience is noteworthy and commendable. The question is how that will project forward. Bradley is moving from backwaters to the most competitive league in the world. It’s a league where smart managers have struggled. It’s a league where very established club and national team managers have struggled, some in much better situations than the one Bradley inherits. Mastering the short-term tactics will only be part of the job.
Bradley’s hiring is without question a significant milestone for American soccer. We’ll see what it means for Swansea City. Despite their recent success, this is not a historic top flight club. There is a lot of money riding on the Bradley hire going right.