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Gulati expected to name Bradley U.S. coach on Wednesday
by Paul Kennedy, May 15th, 2007 8:30AM

TAGS:  men's national team, world cup


U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati will make a major announcement at a press conference to be held on Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in in New York City.

That announcement is expected to be Gulati's choice for U.S. national team men's head coach. Bob Bradley, who has held the job on an interim basis since December, is the likely choice to retain his job on a permanent basis. Indeed, within hours of the press conference being announced, the Los Angeles Times reported that Bradley, who coached MLS's Chivas USA in 2006, will dispose of the interim tag.

While Gulati gave himself until the end of the European season to consider other possibilities, the USA has had considerable success under Bradley -- notably wins over 2006 World Cup second-round teams Mexico (2-0) and Ecuador (3-1) -- and no other likely candidate has emerged since Juergen Klinsmann, the expected replacement for Bruce Arena, did not come to terms with U.S. Soccer on an agreement.

The two European coaches considered possible choices were Portuguese Carlos Queiroz and Frenchman Gerard Houllier. Queiroz is the assistant manager at Manchester United, which plays in the FA Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday. Houllier's Lyon has two games left in the 2007 French league season.

Queiroz, Sir Alex Ferguson's right-hand man at Manchester United, was believed to be Gulati's favorite of the European coaching candidates, but Queiroz is reported to have entered into a new agreement with United for a year-to-year contract replacing the three-year contract he signed after returning to Manchester in 2004.

Queiroz, 54, made a name for himself as the coach of the Portuguese teams that won the 1989 and 1991 World Youth Championship. He briefly coached MLS's MetroStars in 1996 and has since held jobs in Japan, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa. He also was briefly the head coach at Real Madrid in Spain between stints at Manchester United under Ferguson.

He is credited with bringing a more continental look to United and nurturing countryman Cristiano Ronaldo, who has developed into one of the best players in the world and recently renewed his contact with Manchester United.

Houllier, 59, has led Lyon to back-to-back league titles -- its fifth and sixth in a row -- but he is expected to leave the club without serving the last year of the contract.

In the European press, Houllier has been linked to lots of jobs -- but not a U.S. job. He was considered a candidate for the managerial vacancies at Newcastle and Manchester City in England, where he worked for Liverpool, and coaching jobs at Ukraine's Dynamo Kiev and with Australian's national team.

Houllier has been linked as a successor to the retiring Aime Jacquet in the position of French soccer federation technical director. Houllier previously held that position in the 1990s. He has also been linked with the position of UEFA technical director, working with new president Michael Platini, under whom he served as an assistant during Platini's reign as France national team coach and whom he succeeded in 1992.

Gulati knows both Queiroz and Houllier from their work together at the 1994 World Cup. Gulati headed the organizing committee's technical department; Queiroz and Houllier served on the FIFA techncial committee. Queiroz was later hired by U.S. Soccer to write a report on the state of U.S. soccer. He was also believed to be on stand-by to take over for Steve Sampson during the latter's tenure as national team coach in the mid-1990s. Houllier was believed to have been offered the job of U.S. national team coach to succeed Bora Milutinovic after the 1994 World Cup. During Arena's tenure as national team coach, Gulati and Arena consulted with Houllier at Liverpool.

Other names mentioned for the U.S. national team job have been Dutchman Guus Hiddink, currently the head coach of the Russia national team, and Argentine Jose Pekerman, who has not worked since the 2006 World Cup. In recent weeks, he has been linked with jobs at Independiente and Racing Club in Argentina, Tigres in Mexico and Atletico Madrid in Spain.

No announcement is expected on Wednesday regarding U.S. Soccer's position of technical director.


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