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Model of Consistency

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Courtesy of the Philadelphia Daily News

Philadelphia, Pa. - When Bob Bradley took over the role of coaching the United States men's soccer team from Bruce Arena in the fall of 2006, words fail to describe the size of shoes the Montclair, N.J., native needed to fill.

Sure he was proven on the collegiate and professional levels. As a coach for three teams over a 9-year span in Major League Soccer, Bradley won an MLS Cup title (Chicago Fire, 1998) in addition to being a two-time MLS Coach of the Year (Chicago 1998, Chivas USA 2006).

Still, when the 51-year-old was appointed interim coach after Arena left in December 2006, it was unclear how Bradley planned to bolster a team riding the ebbs and flows of a Gold Cup title in 2005 and the embarrassing low of what can only be described as a lackluster showing in the 2006 World Cup.

"There were expectations, sure, but I was confident that with the right personnel assembled, we had what it took to be viewed as a tough team to beat," Bradley said yesterday following a press conference with the four coaches of the teams playing in Saturday's Gold Cup quarterfinals at Lincoln Financial Field.

The U.S. Soccer Federation left the interim tag attached to Bradley's back until May 16, 2007, after his team ran up a 3-0-1 mark in its first four games. To thank his new bosses, Bradley led the Americans to a 12-5-1 overall record that year, which included beating Mexico in the 2007 Gold Cup final. In addition, Bradley led a run of victories that marked the most successful first year for any coach in U.S. men's national team history, with 10 wins in his first 11 games.

"It's fun watching the fruits of your labor," Bradley said. "To witness the hours of planning, preparation and practice turn into a win is the most gratifying feeling any coach can have. It's always been my mindset that proper preparation produces positive results so that's how I go about my job."

Sports have always been in the bloodline of the Bradley family. His brother Scott was a catcher for the Yankees, White Sox, Mariners and Reds. His other brother Jeff is a senior writer at ESPN the Magazine, and his son Michael, who plays in the German Bundesliga, has gone through the ranks of U.S. Soccer.

But for Bob, it was always soccer.

For the entire story, head to Philadelphia Daily News.