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Time for Bob Bradley to Step Aside?
by Paul Gardner, June 27th, 2010 1:48AM

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TAGS:  men's national team, world cup

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By Paul Gardner

World Cup time is, obviously, battle-time for national team coaches. A battle that only one out of 32 can win. When the battle is over, the field is strewn with casualties.

Among the 31 losers, will be three or four who are considered to have done well enough, given the circumstances, given their country’s resources, considering what a rotten draw they got, considering how biased the referees were. And so on. But for the vast majority of the coaches, the immediate post-World Cup period involves either resigning or getting fired.

So where does that leave Bob Bradley? His team pulled off some mighty heroics and got -- by my estimation -- at least one round further into the tournament than its soccer qualities merit.

It got a huge stroke of luck early (courtesy of England goalkeeper Robert Green) but from then on it called on a never-say-die spirit and the brilliance of Landon Donovan.

As for that spirit: unquestionably Bradley deserves credit for fostering it, for creating the group that bred that spirit, and that seems to me Bradley’s biggest strength as a coach.

I’ve never thought much of his tactics, which have always seemed banal to me -- hence my nicknaming him Banality Bob. No Bradley team that I have ever seen has excited me, nor has it ever played cohesive, stylish soccer.

In this World Cup, in its crucial opening game against England, the USA played poorly. Undoubtedly the team was tactically prepared by Bradley for this vital game, and the result was an insipid performance and a game that only sheer luck preserved as a tie rather than a loss.

Things were no better against Slovenia ... until the USA found itself two goals down. What price clever tactics now? Bradley made two changes to the lineup at halftime (for which some critics would praise him, though criticism for getting the lineup wrong in the first place seems at least equally fitting), and the USA moved into its swashbuckling mode -- and tied, and damn nearly won, the game.

Even in the game against Algeria -- probably as wide-open a game as you’ll see in this World Cup --it was the sheer gutsiness of late-game heroics that won through.

Against Ghana, Bradley got it wrong again, was forced into a substitution after only 30 minutes, and another at halftime. So we again saw the USA -- playing a much more open, less inhibited, second half -- come back to tie the game. And then we saw Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan score a magnificent winner -- too strong for Carlos Bocanegra, too fast for Jay DeMerit, altogether too much for Tim Howard.

Gyan had simply brushed aside all three of the USA’s prime defenders. None of those three is as good as the hype has it, and the idea that the USA had a strong defense was always a dangerous illusion. Howard, in particular, did absolutely nothing to justify his inflated reputation.

So things move on. Or do they? Because eight years ago, Bruce Arena’s team got to the quarterfinal stage. Not much progress by that yardstick. If anything, American soccer is stuck in a rut. It’s not a totally unsatisfactory rut, because those World Cup results are really not too bad.

But everyone wants them to be better. A way out of the rut has to be found -- which will be difficult, because this rut was created by Arena and Bradley and their cohorts. This rut is their comfort zone, and it is deeply ingrained with the properties and the mentality of suburban youth soccer and college soccer.

Bradley works well within that limited area. Which is why I can see, for the moment, no alternative to him continuing in his job -- even though, in almost any other country that takes its soccer seriously, he would have “stepped down” by now for what would be seen as a clear failure in South Africa.

Sunil Gulati should confirm Bradley -- but with a sharp message to him that he has to introduce more diversity into his team. That it has to become a team that represents the whole nation, certainly the whole soccer nation.

Bradley will need to swallow his pride. As recently as last February he publicly flaunted his aversion to diversity when he added Jesse Marsch to his coaching stuff. A thoroughly unnecessary and irritating -- almost insulting -- appointment.

Gulati has introduced change in the USSF national team system, at the under-17 level, with the appointment of Wilmer Cabrera. Time now to move on, up to the under-20 level, where Thomas Rongen has sat too long, without any indication that he can produce what’s needed in providing diversity for the national team.

The U.S. team returns from South Africa having achieved a probably transitory fame for, basically, failing. Not a healthy situation. Things cannot go on like this. Triumphant failures are not what is wanted. American soccer cannot keep waiting for change to creep up, when it is in a position to accelerate matters.

There is an intriguing parallel here, one that involves South Africa. Fifty years ago, in Cape Town -- in what was then strict-apartheid South Africa -- English Prime Minister Harold Macmillan delivered his famous “wind of change” speech. The day of the colonies is over, he told the white-supremacist government (who didn’t want to hear the news), black Africa is arising.

A wind of change can be unmistakably felt blowing through the stagnant workings of American soccer. With the current system and personnel in place, we are doomed to perennial promise crowned by early World Cup elimination.

Right now is the time for action to be taken to harness that wind. It is time for Gulati to make a dramatic move, to enforce the process that will see the U.S. national team become truly representative of this country’s soccer talents, and will see it playing skillful, attacking soccer. A fundamental change that will propel the USA to a position that it can occupy -- that of a world soccer power.

Of course it will take time -- at least two more World Cups. If Bradley can accept the change in outlook, then he should stay on for another couple of years. If he cannot, he will be blocking progress, and he should quit.



0 comments
  1. Barry Ruderman
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 2:24 a.m.
    Well said. If no one else has made the suggestion, how about Roberto Martinez as our next coach?

  1. Robert Kiernan
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 3:21 a.m.
    The Obvious problem is that while I'm all for sending Bunker Bob on long term friendship mission to say, Outer Mongolia for the next several years... and he certainly ISN'T going to change if left in place - since I honestly don't believe it's possible for him - just whom is it that will be offered this plum assignment? My bet is yet another of those very same USSF Staff coaches that overall produced this workmanlike boring but almost functional type of team... very white bread, very "collegiate"... but also very likely built more on speed and size rather than skill and guile. Tommy Rotten is a prime case in point...he's had both decent and utterly AWFUL results at the u-20 level, yet he has been retained over and over now... and if we look at the three real stars from our loss a few years back to Argentina... Altidore has plateaued, Bobby Convey after a brilliant start, has been injured and is back in MLS, not really in the National team picture anymore and Freddy Adu struggles to even start for a traditionally second string Greek team... and those are his SUCCESS stories. No if we continue to employ one of our current Staff coaches, I fear that little will really change. When I was in Philadelphia for the USA/Turkey match I thought about just how lucky the Turks were...yes they might have lost that match, but soon they'll have Guus Hiddink calling the shots and THAT WILL CHANGE THEM for the better...put your money on it...and that has log term repercussions...just look at South Korea or Australia...yes neither of them are World beaters, but they are demonstrably stronger sides now thanks to his being involved with them. Simply put ...we NEED someone of this level with a PROVEN ability to both teach and inspire for our programs to raise up another level and just replacing one hack collegiate coach with another is akin to swapping deck chairs on the Titanic... it really won't be very satisfying for any of those involved.

  1. Dave Kaufmann
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 7:20 a.m.
    The "Play not to Lose" dynamics of the so called First round is not even a consideration for Brasil , or Argentina because their individual skill, & mental quickness is in bred. Not by 40 " best" players, but by 100s of "passiones" (my word). So since we,unused USSF youth "coaches" (since1984)still have the "LOVE" of the game & can still mentor (teach) FUTEBOL Finance & send us into the Barrios of America. We will find & bring to your Jose Moreno the new young skillful, mentally quick atheletes from the unexplored Barrios of America. This could be USSF's 400 program Dave K

  1. Douglas Colson
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 7:44 a.m.
    For me, this article is total rubbish. Gardner acts like there is a huge talent pool out there that Bradley ignored to our detriment. The players we have in the USA are simply not that good as evidenced by the number and level of players we have playing in the top leagues in Europe. The quality of a coach is his ability to get the Team to perform above their capabilites. No doubt that Bradley was VERY successful achieving this. My only question is why would Bradley want this job. Seems like a thankless task, again as evidenced by Gardners article.

  1. Todd Drake
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 8:05 a.m.
    In a country where the MLS base salary is 40K, and the NBA rookie base is >400K, it's not a surprise that the focus is on collegiate soccer, and not soccer at a higher level. Bradley did get the lineup wrong, and needs the other team to score to get his team's head in the game. Naive question: why don't *we* have Hiddink? too cheap?

  1. Fernando Sanchez
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 9:30 a.m.
    If we can't realize that our problem are not our players but our managers we will never will be able to move to the next level. It is time for Sunil Gulaty to assume responsibility of sending a boy to do a man job

  1. Fernando Sanchez
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 9:32 a.m.
    We do not need to look for players on our "Unexplored barrios of America" What we need are real coaches in our soccer from MLS to U 16....

  1. Dennis Osullivan
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 9:34 a.m.
    I "signed up" as a user just to make a comment on this moronic article. Paul Gardner is a fine one to speak of getting with the times. He is so old and out of touch he probably covered the 1950 U.S. win over England from the press box. What exactly are you trying to say? Are you calling Bradley a racist? A homophobe? What exactly do you mean by citing his "lack of diversity". Man-up and say what you really mean instead of couching your personal gripes with Bradley in such a whimpish manner. I will bet Gardner had this article ready for posting last Wednesday - and was disappointed he had to update it to include the round of sixteen achievement. I'll bet he scrubbed the cheap shot he was going to take at Bradley for including is son on the squad? In my mind - Michael Bradley was the greatest positive of the tournament for the U.S. Certainly he showed more than the "diverse" selections of young talent Gomez and Altidore.

  1. The Real Pico
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 9:44 a.m.
    In this situation Bradley did fine with whatever was available from the talent pool. A more experienced coach might have gotten a better result or played better soccer, but there are not that many out there that could make a stone bleed. I mean, we could have also been stuck with a Lippi or a Domenech for that matter. This whole situation could have been avoided if USSF had followed Carlos Queiroz' recommendations in the Project 2010 paper. @Colson, the problem is not a talent pool Bradley ignored. It is the large segment of the American population that the US soccer system is ignoring. A group that could benefit the quality of player this country produces. Cheers

  1. George Ligeti
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 9:47 a.m.
    While Gardner makes some reasonable points, it seems to me that complaining about tactics without the context of players is bone headed. A coach's job is to organize his players in a tactical framework which best suites the talent he has at hand and most frustrates the opposition at hand. In short, the tactics are meant to win games. Gardner brands Bradley "banal" and Donovan "brilliant". If the latter was in fact true, a case could be made for the former. However, I'm not sure how dinging a PK off the post for a goal but otherwise consistently giving balls away and repeatedly shying away from tackles makes one brilliant. The bottom line seems to me fairly simple, you have to score to win. Ghana had three chances and scored twice. We had 7 or 8 chance and scored on a PK. No team can be successful with those conversion rates regardless of what their tactics are.

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 10:11 a.m.
    It is by high time that someone calls the spade a spade. Bradley should get the Bonus = Buenes Noches. He should have never been appointed as the coach with his college soccer scope and mentality. Additionally he is technically stern and does not recognize the world around him that makes more sense that he will ever understand. His nepotism has added to his blindness. Furthermore surrounded himself with bunch of "yes man" and "has beens" Sorber and Marsch. I have often said that the problem lies with Gulati. The present poor state of US Soccer and his coaching appointment are in his hands. He should also be held responsible, he has to go. @Dennis O'Sullivan yes PG has been around for a long time I used to read his article when he was a writer for "World Soccer" and he just says as he sees it. He has years of experience in quality soccer much more than some of the baseball writers that write soccer columns.

  1. predrag borna
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 11:16 a.m.
    From Croatia...Facts!Germany 2006 ten minutes 2 score down vs Czeks,than early score down vs Italy and finally 2 early scores down vs Ghana.Ring any bell?2010Again early score down vs England 2 vs Slovenia and do not forget cross bar after DeMerit rookie mistake vs Algeria.And then Ghana again...all same.Than do not forget friendlies again vs Czeks EARLY score down vs Turks etc etc So every other coach knows American weak spot except Bradley!So other team plan is simple.Let blitz krieg Americans it always works!And it really does!So I really agree with few gents here It is not problem players it is coaching.And except Bruce Arena there is no descent coach on any level from U-17 to MLS.Basic thing in football is DEFENCE from very simple reason.If you are not scored against than all you have to do is to score just ONCE and you win!I just watched highlights of K.C vs Red BULL o-3 and started to laugh...Very female like defence by KC---I really do not get it.If third class european teams can play very good defence why Americans cannot?

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 12:37 p.m.
    Robert Kiernan -- totally agree that the US soccer coaching fraternity is the major source of our problems. The licensing process which instills the over-emphasis on stilted tactics and the emphasis of athleticism over skill and creativity both contribute to the lack of a larger player pool. For those who excuse Bradley because of the above lack of numbers, I would say that he re-enforces that lack by his aversion to playing people like Feilhaber and Torres. It's no surprise that the spark to the team came with the insertion of Feilhaber. This happened way back in qualification yet it seems that BB always has to be backed into corner before he plays Feilhaber or Torres. The problem with that approach is that it changes the team's entire style of play and that can't be turned off and on like a switch. Torres and Feilhaber should have been regulars starting 2 years ago! Mr. O'Sullivan -- If you had any knowledge of soccer or Paul Gardner you would have easily understood the reference to diversity. Please take your comments to the Glenn Beck show where they will be much more at home.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 1:15 p.m.
    As one who has known Paul Gardner since 1971, followed his career in SA and other journals, have "tipped" swords and pens, all I can say to those of you who have disparaged his observations and those who've praised him, you all have that right to voice your opinion like him or not, Paul this time areound has hit the nail on the head time and again, and I agree with him 1000% that US Soccer and Sunil Gulati must now convene a meeting of the US Soccer Executive committee and review what has happened to the MNT since Mr. Bradley has been in charge. Someone above accued Paul of insensivity for lack of diversity and even accusing the coach of nepotism. Well, it seems to me that he was calling it like it is. I could go on and on, but it all boils down to a very large coaching "community" (I would not call it a coaching "brotherhood," because of all of the coaching differences, regionalism,ethnocentricism, as well as economic diversity from one urban to suburban communities, inncer vs outer citiy differences and out right racism, etc. One would hope that all these divergencies would be put aside and come together some day, but then that is wishful thinking. Bradley's job was not what it should've been; listen to comments, read analyses of his management styles and - yes, I'll say it - just how much he loathed putting in Gomez and Torres, together with Buddle, in favor of two very inexperienced and seemed to favor not quite ready for prime-time players in Clark and Findley. All in all, the players deserved better from their coaching gurus, yet these gurus themselves were not ready for prime-time themselves. And despite everything else, we are all VERY PROUD OF OUR MNT, except the coaching/management side.

  1. Brian Herbert
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 1:54 p.m.
    Soccer in the USA is going through a "melting pot" just as cities like New York were the world's melting pot a century ago (on my blog I've got more on this, but no links allowed here, I know). But if my theory is true, the old guard won't hand over the keys to the castle easily, history tells us. Let me be clear - I'm not talking about race, I'm talking about a melting pot of soccer styles and approaches. Let me give you one interesting part of this: several of our USA players who have learned what it takes to succeed in Europe (or Latin America) know more about the international game than Bradley and his domestic, insulated staff. Feilhaber is a great example of great touch, good challenges and generation of counter-attacks, heads-up field awareness, crisp passing. A coach with a good sense of the world game would start him. Dempsey - his star is rising, clearly has internalized a style from European successes -- contrast with Donovan who between moments of brilliance sometimes seemed lost wondering why this didn't look more like an LA Galaxy game. I hate to say it, but if Donovan stays in MLS, his career can be considered to have peaked and that he is just riding it out from here on.

  1. Ron Norlund
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 2:07 p.m.
    Wasnt Bob bradley , Who couldnt get the ball in net. We had many chances, the ball just didnt go in. The goal tender for Ghana made some awesome saves. He had the soccer gods on his side yesterday. One shot barely hit his foot and one barely hit his hand for great saves. Both would of went in for goals. Instead of ripping Bob Bradley i think we need to give Ghana credit for winning a tough game. When your Goalie keeps you in the game like that your always gona have a chance.I think it came down to there goaie made the bigger saves than ours. If we fire Bob it will be like starting over. DONT FIRE BOB BRADLEY

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 2:23 p.m.
    Its G-O-A-L-K-E-E-P-E-R, not "goal tender" which is more synonymous to ice hockey. BRADLEY MUST BE REPLACED! BUY OUT THE REMAINDER OF HIS CONTRACT, A PRETTY NICE SUME, I HEAR!!! Like his predecessor, Bruce Arena, he'll end up coaching one of the new expansion teams! Klinnaman available? Maybe, LOL LALAS???

  1. Christopher Moore
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 2:41 p.m.
    Very poignant article indeed. I believe the time for change is upon us as a relatively new Soccer Nation. We've been in the game for awhile now but our fan base and following has yet reach its full potential, which in turn will foment the real winds of change. I've become a part of that fan base only within the last 4-5 years, and before that I could not stand soccer. I was the typical American Sports Fan: Baseball, American Football and Basketball were all that mattered. In 2006 I was lucky enough to be in Germany for the World Cup, and my view of soccer and its worldwide fan base changed forever. Now, I can honestly say that I was missing out on a sport that has as much passion and flavor as the Baseball, American Football and Basketball. I guess what I'm trying to say here, is that if I can change (and I'm not the only die-hard to do so), the U.S. Soccer Nation can change as well: More Passion, More Diversity, More Soccer. Go U S A !

  1. Ron Norlund
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 3:18 p.m.
    Are goal tender plays better BoBradley looks great. At that level the highest in the world. The strikers are gona get their chances. There gona get past the defence. Your goalie has to make saves. Ghana made great saves. USA didnt make the saves.

  1. Robert Heinrich
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 4:26 p.m.
    I think Mr. Gardner has it wrong. It's about the players, not the coach. Where are the world class players coming from? My 16 yr old son is currently spending a month training at a Brazilian Academy. Let me quote a recent email from him "I can truely tell now why Brazil is such a soccer powerhouse. These boys are bred to be soccer players. They are immersed in a soccer environment 11 months of the year. They barely have school classes-- I am confident that at least one of these boys will appear on the Brazilian national team in years to come." The USSF Development Academy doesn't even come close to this kind of soccer environment. You can have any kind of formation, any kind of tactics, but it comes down to having the players that can execute it. Go back and listen to Bruce Arena when he was let go and basically said, "We don't have the players."

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 5:59 p.m.
    Ric Fonseca -- note this --- Everyone --- if you have the ability to go back and listen to the post game discussion following the England - Germany game, you have to do it !!! In the discussion among McMananan, Lalas, and Klinsman about the future of US Soccer, I got the distinct impression that Klinsmann would jump at the chance to take over the USMNT coaching job. If not that, maybe Gulati's position --- that might be even better. Even if I'm dreaming, Klinsman's comments are well worth hearing. Many of us have said the same but his were for a national audience.

  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 7:25 p.m.
    For years Mr. Gardner has been harping on one point -- supposedly, there is this large pool of extremely talented players in the US who go unnoticed by the soccer establishment. Why do they go unnoticed? Because they're hispanic. Why are they supremely talented? Again, because they're hispanic. Somehow, Mr. Gardner claims, that being of hispanic ethnicity automatically makes one a potential soccer star. I just don't understand then why hasn't our soccer-crazed neighbor to the South, Mexico, that can't possibly ignore hispanic players, achieved anything greater than the US has this century, nor has it produced any world-class players over the last fifty or so years with the possible exception of Sanchez and Marquez. The situation is not that much different in the hispanic South America, with the exception of Argentina. And what about smaller Central American nations? How come with such a large and exclusive pool of hispanic players there are no great achievements and no great players?

  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 7:32 p.m.
    This World Cup has clearly shown the US's main weakness -- we just don't have any international level strikers. Charlie Davies maybe would've proven me wrong, but he couldn't. So, our main attacker is Jozy Altidore who scored two goals all of last season for his club team. No wonder that not a single goal at the World Cup was scored by our strikers.

  1. Chris Kondas
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 8:18 p.m.
    People, just look and compare the play of teams like Germany and Argentina, we have a long way to go in terms of talent with both coaches and players. I do believe though, that with this current USA team, coaching skill is the primary culprit when a team at this level consistantly makes the same maistakes over and over and is unable to correct. If you rely on grit and luck too much, it will eventually run out.

  1. David Hardt
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 9:49 p.m.
    It is hard to say if Coach Bradley is a great coach or a clown. Look what he has to work with. I am not a BB fan nor detractor, it is a failure of USSF to develop quality players from a crappy youth development program. Show me another successful foreign program with a Bradinton type of youth development program. We have the size and gene pool to be great. We are holding our selves back. The problem with youth soccer is the adults. And youth develops into the national team of the future.

  1. Paul Bryant
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 10:26 p.m.
    I have heard this same aguement everytime the USMNT plays poorly. I feel I'm somewhat of an expert on the U.S. soccer experience. My son started playing when he was seven. He played on the same club team and with the same coach from age 9 through 14. He changed clubs, agains the coaches wishes, because his coach did not teach, practice, or emphasize technical skills development. After a couple of coaching changes on his new club, he came under the tutledge of a young former D3 Player of the year who worked continuously emphasized technical skill development. My son's skills on the ball improved immensly. Unfortunately, he played four years of high school, which was a total waste of time and caused a seasonal regression in my son's technical skills until club ball started in the spring. He now plays in college, which is just a slightly better than playing in high school with regards to technical skill development. Also, with the NCAA rules, college player are prohibited from playing competitively for 4 months during the year until an abbreviated 2 week spring season is played. My conslusions are: 1. Teach/emphasize technical skill development throughout the youth level. 2. Teach/emphasize technical skill development in high school. 3. Teach/emphasize technical skill development in high school. 4. Beg the NCAA to allow college players to compete throughout the college year. 5. Have a legitimate certification process for coaches and clubs to ensure that they follow through on points 1-3. I am of the belief that a player with superior technical ability can play in any system.

  1. Shane Watkins
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 12:10 a.m.
    Just the fact that so many people are taking time to post this string of discussion about our soccer future is awesome. It just demonstrates how far we really have come as a soccer nation. We are a soccer nation now! We definitely have a ways to go before we are a soccer power, but we are way closer than we were say 25 years ago when I started playing this game. Bradley was/is not such a bad choice as our MNT coach. The one thing that you have to consider when picking our national team coach is our system. The person HAS to understand how our system works (youth club, college, MLS). No other country has a retarded system like ours. The argument that our system needs to be changed is 100% valid, but it's what we have now. So, Bradley works. If you bring someone like a Hiddink in here, he will spend a long time catching up, and finally realize that there isn't anything he can do, and fail like so many foreigners have done when they have come here to coach (Rudd Gullit comes to mind). Klinsman might work because he's been here a while now and probably has a good grip on how things work. But I think he would be much more valuable to as replacing Sunil G, and creating change from there. Then next very important aspect has to be $$$. Someone mentioned it earlier, MLS Base = 40K, NBA Base 400K. You want to know when we will be a soccer power? When our best athletes in this country start playing soccer. Could you imagine Jordan at center forward?!?! Look at all our college running backs (american football). Could you imagine them with their speed, quickness, strength, playing center mid or outside mid???!!! Imagine kevin garnet playing keeper?!?! You get the picture? When there is real money in this game, and all the kids that want to be the next Kobe, instead want to be the next Dempsey or Donnavan, then we will have arrived as a soccer power. Until drastic changes happen, I think Bradley is the man. You talk about him not finding players? I believe he has looked at more players (I believe almost 100) in the national team in the last 4 years. More than anyone else ever has in that same time period. He has given lots o players shots. And I believe he can learn from some of his mistakes and move our MNT forward. I'm very proud to be a US soccer supporter, and I think we are on the up and up. Great comments everyone.

  1. predrag borna
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 3:42 a.m.
    Simple question...How do you feel as a fan if your team is in PERMANENT deficit for years.And you know that nobody will fix it.Who should fix that part of the game which is crucial.Federation or players or COACH who is not able to.If you cannot fix it than face reality..

  1. Jim Dickinson
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 4:45 p.m.
    I have no idea what Gardner is referring to by 'lack of diversity'. Does he want more Hispanic players? What kind of football does Gardner actually like? I wonder.

  1. Shane Watkins
    commented on: June 29, 2010 at 12:40 a.m.
    Croatia, You have to understand that our soccer situation here in the US is very different from Europe. We have only had a legitimate professional league for 13 years now. Until recently, the league minimum salary was something like 18K per season. If you're making 18K and living in New York or Los Angeles playing soccer, you can hardly pay rent! I agree with you completely that our defense on the whole is/was not good enough. But I don't think we are in permanent deficit. We are not at the level yet of many countries in terms of everything about soccer. We don't have very many world class players, coaches, clubs, etc. We are, however, improving! Just look at our national team 20 years ago. We are much better on many areas of the game. Just because a coach talks about a problem and even addresses it in training, dose not mean that the problem gets fixed. Bradley is not perfect, but like I mentioned, I don't think he is all bad. I think he has done some really good things. Is there someone better that can coach the US? Probably. But who is it? I would love to hear who you think should be coaching the US team. Arena? Been there, done that. The truth is, if the US would have won, Bradley would have been the greatest coach the US has ever had, and very few people would be calling for his resignation!

  1. predrag borna
    commented on: June 29, 2010 at 1:49 a.m.
    Thanks mr.Watkins for explanation.To be frank I did not know that salary detail...No doubt it is very wise to keep control over money otherwise you get bust...What I was parroting on these sites was just key detail of the game.DEFENCE.If something repeats on and on BAD than it must be fixed.After all we all learn from mistakes.So should USMT.New coach?On MLS.com I used to read lot before and during World cup.Bradley said.I quote..."We can go very far in this tournament maybe even to the end(???)"Really... give me a break.Or Donovans statement that "we can beat anyone on a good day"..Guys come down from clouds to the ground.You must cover what you say with something real.Your guys have big hearth (and lungs too!)and fight great which is fenomenal but spend so much energy to catch up equal score.That is what is frustrating and even irritating.If they could improve that segment they would be respectable team .After all it is not rocket science.Who instead you ask?OTMAR HITZFELD!!With Swiss team he did not make it but Swiss defence was perfect.Sorry for critic but but I think it is well meaning.

  1. Patrick Riser
    commented on: June 29, 2010 at 2:20 a.m.
    This article is absolute garbage. Lack of diversity? Our captain is Mexican-American. Bornstein, constantly derided as a Bradley favorite, is Jewish-Mexican-American Torres is half Mexican, speaks English and Spanish equally well and plays for a Mexican club. Onyewu and Edu are the children of Nigerian immigrants. Robbie Findley's parents are from Trinidad and Tobago, and I think Charlie Davies' dad is from Gambia or someplace like that. The list goes on and on. There are many problems with U.S. soccer, but likening it to an oppressive political regime founded on racism is downright despicable. There is no substance in Gardner's article, not that that is anything new, but the levels of offensiveness he's managed with this piece of garbage are.

  1. Scott Andrews
    commented on: June 29, 2010 at 1:48 p.m.
    Spot on Patrick. Yes Bradley made bad decisions and the team plays too simple too often. Should he keep his job? Who cares? His job security will not solve the real problem. US Soccer has a much bigger grass roots issue. Kids identified at 11 & 12 years old based on size and speed when most kids - boys especially - don't start to develop until they hit 15, 16 or even 17. What are we left with? Kids who developed early and got passed by physically by all the kids who bailed on soccer for football, basketball & baseball. Wh at a different world we would be in if we kept the door open to all kids, especially those one-time small kids who had creativity and game IQ early on? Gardner's article is like saying the weeds are the reason the plant died. Forget the soil, the watering, the pruning and all the other TLC it takes to develop a healthy plant.

  1. Allen Graetz
    commented on: June 29, 2010 at 6:33 p.m.
    Am I the only person baffeled if not down right insulted by Gardner's apartheid analogy?

  1. Alexander Armijo
    commented on: June 29, 2010 at 7:31 p.m.
    MLS and the USMNT are the closest things in US sports to accurately represent the ethnic makeup of our country; certainly more so than the overwhelmingly white NHL or overwhelmingly black NBA.

  1. Andres Roberto
    commented on: June 30, 2010 at 12:32 p.m.
    What Gardner said is only what everyone else had been thinking. There are players who have been excluded to the opportunity to play all of the time regardless of form for national team. One being Michael Bradley, who by my estimation, would not be able to get on any other team who made it to the world cup, let alone start every game.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: July 4, 2010 at 6:52 p.m.
    When a little lie is told over and over and over again, it eventually becomes a big lie and people will believe thje lie. Conversely, when one is told the truth over and over and over again, it becomes the obvious truth and hopefully people will believe it. For more than twenty years Paul Gardner has been telling like the truth for what it is, and no, it isn't the "apartheid analogy" uttered above, and no the MLS and USMNT are certainly NOT reflective of our society in as much as the NBA or the NHL aren't either. If one is to make any comparisons in sports, take a very close look at Track and Field.

  1. David Huff
    commented on: June 28, 2011 at 3:08 p.m.
    Its amazing how little things change, here almost a year later. Since WC 2010, Argentina got ride of their Maradona, France got rid of their Domenech and Mexico got rid of their Aguirre. The USSF however decided to keep Bradley, an inept and bankrupt decision that has now lead to the USMNT crushing loss in the Gold Cup Final and thereby depriving the program of an appearance in the Confederations Cup 2013. How stupid and inferior can the US be? Bradley needs to go . . .


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