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Bradley ousting comes at critical juncture
by Ridge Mahoney, July 29th, 2011 2:40AM

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TAGS:  men's national team

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[USA CONFIDENTIAL] The decision to jettison Bob Bradley as national team head coach comes at a critical juncture for U.S. Soccer. The dilemma of whether to fire a head coach came up in November, 1997, when I stepped into the lobby of a Providence, R.I. hotel that was housing the U.S. national team.

Two veteran players who shall not be named motioned me over and with lowered voices said, “Do you think Steve [Sampson] should be fired?”

This enquiry came with the Americans already qualified and the final Hexagonal game against El Salvador pending. A rift between Coach Sampson and captain John Harkes would occur months later, and just two weeks prior the U.S. had carved out an historic 0-0 tie against Mexico at Azteca Stadium despite playing with 10 men for most of the match.

Yet the players felt enough concern to raise the ultimate question, to which I responded, more rhetorically than pragmatically, “I’d say yes in a heartbeat if you can tell me who can make things better.”

Whereupon they looked at each other and one of them said, “We were thinking the same thing. Making a change this late might upset the camp.”

National teams have changed head coaches much closer to the World Cup than the seven-month period of this situation, to varying results. As subsequent events showed, there remained plenty of time for the U.S. team to self-destruct, and we’ll never know if a change would have rectified the problems, or magnified them.

We do know that U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati has chosen this as the right time for a change by dismissing Coach Bob Bradley after a meeting Thursday at Home Depot Center. The decision ends a 4 1/2-year tenure that produced some unprecedented successes for the national team along with disappointments. It also comes with the federation mired in a rut of bad outcomes.

“I think there’s a sense that a malaise has set in, not necessarily just with the national team, but with the federation in general,” said former national team defender and ESPN commentator Alexi Lalas. “If you look back over the last year or so, you see a lot of opportunities missed: not getting past Ghana last summer, the failure to get the [2022] World Cup, the flame-outs of the U-17s and U-20s, even the Women’s World Cup.

“Obviously, most of those things are not Bob Bradley’s fault. But Sunil is a very smart guy, and I think he sees this is the right time for a change, and not because we’ve heard a lot of about change these past few years or change for change’s sake, but he does see the need to change direction. I also don’t think he’d do this if he didn’t have somebody lined up.”

In the U.S. Soccer press release that announced the decision, there was a mention that the federation would be releasing more information Friday. Not clear is whether that means a new head coach will be named, an especially pressing concern since the U.S. has scheduled a match against Mexico in Philadelphia Aug. 10.

The two names mentioned most often are former German international and national team coach Juergen Klinsmann and former Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez. Klinsmann, a resident of Southern California, discussed the job with Gulati after the 2006 World Cup and again last year; a close ally of Benitez, Paco de Miguel, helped youth technical director Claudio Reyna present the new U.S. Soccer coaching curriculum in April. Benitez has also been unemployed since being fired by Inter Milan last December.

No matter if a foreign coach is chosen, or one of several domestic possibilities, the federation is at a most critical juncture.

BRADLEY, PRO AND CON. Rather than churn over every personnel decision and tactical tweak made by Bradley since he took the job in January, 2007, a quick rundown of his highs and lows:

Bradley guided the U.S. to a Gold Cup title in 2007, second place in the 2009 Confederations Cup, and to top spot in the Hexagonal qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup. Last summer, the U.S. won its World Cup group for the first time by tying England and Slovenia and beating Algeria, 1-0, on a last-second goal by Landon Donovan. In the round of 16, the U.S. lost to Ghana, 2-1, in overtime.

Bradley’s decision to start Ricardo Clark and Robbie Findley against Ghana were deemed in some circles to be costly errors and emblematic of systemic problems of player selection. Jonathan Bornstein's insertion into the Gold Cup final to replace an injured Steve Cherundolo blew up.

Few coaches escape such criticism, but the team’s tendency to leak early goals, labor through stodgy periods against foes deemed to be weak, and play a pedestrian game didn’t sit well. Nor did suspicions that Bradley gave far more playing time to his son, Michael, than was warranted, which stems in part from a perceived preference for rugged, rigid, robotic players rather than those more technical and creative.

NEPOTISM.
Most of Michael Bradley’s performances for the national team have ranged from steady to spectacular, yet every misstep triggered fierce criticism, which intensified when he slid straight back into the starting lineup for the Gold Cup despite riding the bench since January for Aston Villa, which had taken him on loan from Borussia Moenchengladbach. Even so, no U.S. player has played more first-division club matches outside of MLS than has Bradley for Hereenven, Moenchengladbach, and Villa. He’s not the fluent, fluid playmaker fans may pine for, yet his teammates back him.

“It’s second nature,” says Carlos Bocanegra of the young Bradley’s regular inclusion, which also applies to Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Cherundolo, Tim Howard, and Bocanegra in normal conditions. “Michael’s a part of the team not because of the father-son relationship. He’s earned his time here. He’s earned his place and he does quite well for us. That’s about all it comes down to. I can’t really say more than that.”

It must be pointed out that Bob Bradley drafted Bocanegra out of UCLA and nine months later he was MLS Rookie of the Year. At the end of his MLS contract in 2003, Bocanegra jumped to Europe, where he has played ever since. Bocanegra, the U.S. team captain as well, would be expected to back up his coach, yet the defender is also one of many players whose development and progress was, in part, masterminded by Bradley both at the club and national-team level.

TIMING.
The decision to dismiss Bradley probably came shortly after the Gold Cup, in which the U.S. lost a group game for the first time – to Panama, which it later defeated in the semifinals – and in the final took a 2-0 lead against Mexico before collapsing, 4-2. Michael Bradley’s wedding, the Women’s World Cup, and MLS All-Star Game may have caused the delay, and/or Gulati may have needed that time to nail down a replacement.

The U.S. looked embarrassingly short on skill against Mexico, which in the wake of its Gold Cup triumph hosted and won the U-17 world championships. Last spring, as the U.S. U-20 team faltered, Mexico qualified for the U-20 World Cup that starts this week. Bypassing the U.S. at each level spread panic amongst the soccer community.

Though the U.S. has a rematch with Mexico looming, and friendlies against Costa Rica and Belgium in early September, there won’t be any World Cup qualifiers until next year.  A replacement will have plenty of time to get familiar with the vast scope and quirky cubbyholes of U.S. Soccer and the American game in general, and begin the process of change, whatever that entails.

The disappointing performance of the  U-17s and the U-20 team's failure to qualify for the world championships has renewed cries for an overhaul of player development, which the federation has already started with its Development Academy, among other programs. Reyna has stated his intent to devise a style of play that all U.S. national teams at all levels will utilize, but not everyone believes that is feasible.

In recent seasons, along with expansion, MLS has decreed that its teams must field academy programs at youth levels, and this year has also revived its Reserve Division. Only recently has MLS generated the revenues and resources -- and devised workable procedures -- to put any real muscle into player development.

In most nations, national team coaches do not develop players, per se: they pick them from the clubs, and meld them – hopefully – into a successful team. The U.S. Soccer residency program in Bradenton, Fla., at which U-17 players are housed year-round, is an exception, not the rule, though similar programs have been implemented in a few countries.

“I’m not one of those people who insist on a style from the U-17s to the U-20s all the way up to the senior team,” says Garth Lagerwey, general manger of Real Salt Lake, which has an ambitious and well-funded academy program. “What there has to be, however, is a commonality of what you want those players to look like and the kind of players to pick from.

“It’s a lot easier to develop a style if you have a lot of good players, and I think that’s the starting point we have to strive for.”




0 comments
  1. Justin Dickinson
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 7:57 a.m.
    Bradley's beginning as interim coach tainted his tenure and made it clear that he was not US Soccer's first choice. Going 4.5 years with the coach that's not your first choice instills no confidence in our national team. It was a setback to our dominance of concacaf and the rise of Mexico suddenly makes it urgent that we rise up. We need a big name to instill confidence and to state clearly that we are committed to winning. We haven't had a foreign coach since Bora...why? To kiss up to the us media, us sports fans etc? Does the federation believe that the United States at large would rather have an American coach than win more?

  1. Ernest Irelan
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 8:20 a.m.
    Justin's point well taken..one reason I thoght that coach Bradley should have taken the overseas coaching position , to get the experience "out of country" to bring that back to the USA. I am very familiar with the developement of youth in USA, having a 17yr old playing at regional level. I can say from first hand experience, the talant is out there to put players of the highest level together if we were to just stop the in fighting an politics in the selection process. I also am SURE that the officiating really needs to be improved upon, as one good coach recenly mentioned, "soccer in youth has greatly improved in recent years, the officating has not"...I can personally attest to this thru my son's experience an serious injury due to bad officiating, an, trainer's lack of judgement afterwards. I believe it is really tough spot for a coach to be in playing his close relative under him...is a no win situation....been there, done that..prefer not to..to conclude, it is always best to have someone lined up for the job before cutting loose what one has in place..

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 9:14 a.m.
    Justin, that is exactly what is percieved by Gulati. White American coach and majority of players should keep everyone happy is his thought. The basketball player talent pool is black. What's the soccer player talent pool? Could it be Hispanic? Of course it is. Why are we hiring English Academy coaches that don't understand the creative style of play? Ridge, the Academy system has been in place for a while now and has not worked. They are not in the business of developing players. Why? Because there's no money in it. There's money in winning games though and isn't that what is concentrated on the most in USA? We need to start being realistic and boycott this failed system.

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 9:32 a.m.
    Ridiculous comments all... It does not matter who the next coach is... they are all one goal away from success or failure in the eyes of people who comment here. If Bradley had gotten one more key goal against Mexico or slightly better defensive play, he would still be the coach. The "hispanic" argument is racist. Hispanics want to see hispanics, no surprise there. Most all coaches just want talent. Okay... lets get to the next coach so we can pick him apart.

  1. david caetano
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 9:34 a.m.
    A coach that is chosen needs to not only have international experience and Claudio Reyna should be brought in, but needs to be a passionate teacher. The coach needs to understand the mind set of the US players and how that will help overpower other teams. Juergen Klinsmann has had a great playing career, some coaching. He may not have the experience to lead US.

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 9:35 a.m.
    Tired of the "we need better officiating". Most say that when the call is against them or their kid gets hurt. Too many fouls in soccer now... don't make it a non-contact sport. Unless you have replay or review of some sort, you will always be talking about the mistakes of a referee. One guy making all the decisions is dumb.

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 9:38 a.m.
    A "passionate" teacher? Too late for the National team. You want a showman for coach? Claudio Reyna? Where is his experience coaching?

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 9:50 a.m.
    The viewpoint that Michael Bradley's NT performances ranged from steady to spectacular is problematic...mostly steady, yes and spectacular absolutely not...commentaries such as spectacular, fantastic or terrific are thrown around like confetti by soccer commentators, in essence these are made up kudos and overblown....these superlatives about NT/MLS players are manufactured and quite frankly delusional.

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 9:50 a.m.
    Thank God that the Bradley and his nepotist area is over however we still have Gulati (the cricket player) and his cohorts. At any cost as much I have favored (previously) Klinsman over Bradley, for that fact I would have favored anyone even my 12 year old soccer playing son (LOL). But seriously we need to look at a coach that understands "our" the US talent pool and that very much includes a strong Latino contingent along with some inner city kids white and blacks equally. That doen't mean it has to be a Latino US coach although it very well could be. Look at Kreis for instance how well he uses his Latino connenctions and he is as American as apple pie. Not like Hans Backe who blatantly disregards the Hispanic culture and players. Thus selecting the right coah will be an easy task but the most important. A comment by an Italian American and a parent of an American born soccer player son, who wants his son represent his birth country not his father's!

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 10:17 a.m.
    Amos, don't you think black people wanted to see black people in basketball? Look how that turned out for the NBA. Its called common sense. Do you need a white person to explain the obvious to you? On what side would you be on 60 years ago when many white Americans did not want black people in baseball and basketball because they were racist or thought that white Americans we're better? I don't know where you live but the fact is that the states with the most Hispanics dominate USA soccer at all or most youth levels. Who is really the racist here?

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 10:21 a.m.
    Amos, by better officiating I think everyone means that they should at least know the basic rules of soccer. I think that youth soccer has grown so fast that the number of soccer knowledgeable referees has fallen far behind. I think the solution is to pay them more so the few good ones can choose it as a meaningful source of income and do more games weeding pot the bad ones.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 10:28 a.m.
    Antolleni, I would have fired Gulati and the rest of everyone in charge of player selection in each state before Bradley. I honestly think Bradley overachieved with this team and the style of play of the players fit the coach. The biggest problem in USA is player development and talent recognition. It is mostly nonexistent. People here think it is an achievement to have home grown players signed to a minimum salary of $40000 in MLS. MLS is the last option for any pro player in most of the world.

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 10:30 a.m.
    It is racist to decide that hispanics are better at soccer. The real facts are that soccer appeals to hispanic culture more than others here in the US. Everyone else is drawn to Football, Baseball and Basketball. Chose talent, not race.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 10:36 a.m.
    Anto, I am also father to a very talented USA born player and I hope USA changes its mentality towards Hispanics so my kids can see it as an option but it looks like we are going to have to try our home country. It takes USA a long time to accept change. Italians had it hard here along with others. The only way for acceptance here is forceful approach. Everyone knows this. Just look at what they call themelselves. Americans. Even though this name pertains to all born on this continent. That's arrogance.

  1. David Huff
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 10:39 a.m.
    The process of liberation for the USMNT from Team Bradley has only begun with one down (Bradley) and two to go (Gulati and Flynn). The nepotist duo of Bob and Michael left much to be desired. We need to look at a new coach that has the ability to raise our team to the next level as well as integrate all sectors of our player pool. Klinsmann, Bielsa, Pekermann, La Volpe or Hiddink should be on the short-list for selection. Next up: are there changes in store for Team Pia? Will there be a new coach? Will Buehler, Boxx and Lloyd be replaced?

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 10:40 a.m.
    Is it racist to presume that as a majority black people are better at basketball than white and Mexican people? I agree with you that talent should be chosen over race. That has not happened in USA player selection. This is obvious given the facts stated by me and you.

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 10:41 a.m.
    The racist stuff here is tiresome. No one I know cares about race except people with a chip on their shoulder. Americans (it is not arrogant) do not care what race a person is in sport, they want winners.

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 10:43 a.m.
    American is how everyone else in the world refers to people who live in the US. It is not arrogant to refer to oneself as American, unless you are a racist looking for something to hate.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 10:46 a.m.
    Amos, who dominates these 3 USA sports you just mentioned? I can tell you. Black people and Hispanics in Baseball. These are American invented sports!!! Soccer is foreign. What makes anyone think white Americans will be the best at this sport? I am not racist. This is just logical comlmon sense.

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 10:48 a.m.
    Basketball and black people: Its not "black people", it is AMERICAN black people that are better at basketball. Their history and the process of slavery created a genetic pool of better athletes in the US.

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 10:51 a.m.
    Lets see who has dominated soccer? I guess all those German, Italian and French world cup victories mean nothing? Mostly "white" people, but who cares?

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 10:53 a.m.
    If its ok for a USA citizen to call themselves American even though America is a continent then its ok for Mexicans born in USA to call themselves Mexicans first along with others. You agree? I tell all Hispanics that we have more of a reason for calling ourselves Americans since our ancestors are the true first Americans and America is South and Central America. We can all choose to call ourselves what ever we want. The difference is only some of us are historically and geographycally correct.

  1. Eric Young
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 10:54 a.m.
    I am so glad he is going. I am still pissed that he sat Edson Buddle on the bench during the world cup last year when it was clearly evident that Edson was hotter than hell (At that point he had scored almost all of the LA Galaxy team goals.) I also think his choices have led to mechanical and stodgy play. The USA is on the verge of soccer greatness. But we won't achieve that until we can encourage and develop the creative play that we see in South America and in great moments in Europe.

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 10:55 a.m.
    America is the common name for the United States of America. Only racist find fault with that. Call your self what you want and keep the racist divisions going for your children.

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 10:57 a.m.
    Yes, even though I think Bradley did a good job, BUDDLE should have been featured in the National team. Seems like Bradley handled him badly.

  1. David Huff
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 10:58 a.m.
    @Luis, agreed that the integration of all sectors of our player pool is necessary if we are to progress. Nothing would please me more than to one day see a USMNT that was half Latino march into the Estadio Azteca and give Mexico the much-deserved whipping that they are due. Luis, if you would study US history more you would know that "America" was a term applied by the English to their "American colonies", the name carried over when we subsequently became the "United States" of America due to the Revolution. One could also argue that the name Mexico is also arrogant against many of its people, given that it is an Aztec-centric term that comes from the "Mexica", there were many other Nahuatl-speaking Indian tribes/groups that hated the Aztec/Mexica due to the incessant warfare (which included human sacrifices) and undoubtably would not want their future country named "Mexico" after their historic enemies. However, the final decision was based on the name chosen by the Spanish colonizers for their New World colony, hence "Mexico" came into being to describe everyone. So please don't twist the historical perspective of why people in the US call themselves "Americans", it is not from arrogance. Tu entiendes?

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 11:03 a.m.
    Amos, it's funny to me how white people like you choose to bring up only what is in their favor. Black people are better athletes because of what White people did to them. They are Americans because they we're forced to come o this continent. White America did as much as they possibly could to deny Black America their rights including letting them play pro basketball, baseball and football. Given White America's history of unfairness don't you think this translates even the slightest in USA soccer national selection? Every time J see a USA international games it doesn't say Mexico vs America. It saids Mexico vs USA. The rest of the world calls you North Americans and not just Americans. See, again the arrogance.?

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 11:06 a.m.
    If all things were equal, we would expect about 20% of the National team to be hispanic, and 12% black, since that is the approximate percentage in America (US). Fortunately, I don't think any National team coach even thinks about this... they just want to WIN and and will use anyone they can find to achieve that.

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 11:08 a.m.
    Luis, I am black

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 11:10 a.m.
    NO, the rest of the world (except some racist types) calls the US: AMERICA. Have you traveled to Europe, Japan, Australia, Brazil?

  1. David Huff
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 11:16 a.m.
    @Luis, I think you are badly mistaken because I believe Amos is black (hint: "Annan" is an African name, such as in the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan from Ghana). Thus, you yourself are engaging in the arrogant and racist assumptions that you accuse others of. We could also discuss Mexico's racist legacy toward their own blacks or the constant tensions in Mexican society between the European (Spanish/French/German) and the Indian. However, it would be more productive to focus our discussion on futbol/soccer rather than history lessons. As indicated above, I do agree we need to use a more diverse and integrated player pool for the US (or dare I say "American" :-)) teams, let's hope that it happens soon.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 11:27 a.m.
    David, America comes from the name Americo. An Italian. The English didn't just come up with that name. I will do more research on how south and central America adopted this name. How can Mexican name be arrogant if it doesn't pertain to other countries? If it was up to me I would pick Mestizo for all Hispanic American. I would pick Aztec or Mayan name in a heartbeat over Mexico because of the advanced cultures we were over any other at the time. Given these facts and whatever happened in history the fact is America pertains to the whole continent. Therefore logically everyone in it is American. Canada and USA are North American. It will take more than 1/2 of Hispanics on USA team to beat Mexico. The way to compare this is by assuming 1/2 of the national basketball team being black and winning the world championship. The English invented soccer but Hispanics perfected and have dominated it. Look at results. What has England done as far as players and world cups? Brazil has won the most world cups(5). Argentina won 2-3 of them. Uruguay 2. Mexico has won the U17 world cup twice and has always been a top 10-20 ranked team. Spain won it all 2010. 4 of 5 South American teams made it to Quarterfinals in 2010. 3 semifinalists for U17 WC were Hispanic. So who,s dominating soccer?

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 11:36 a.m.
    Amos, are you sure you're black? If you are why are we arguing? Black's dominate NBA because they are the best at it. I was Allstate point guard. I wish there were more Hispanics playing NBA. Doesn't mean they should even if we are more numbers. White America did not want you even playing these sports much less dominating. It took many black Americans taking a lot of abuse and fighting for essential rights to get this to happen. Was this necessary? There is still racism today. Don't you think this is happening with Mexicans now and especially with soccer given the immediate history in this country? Com on man, lets ve realistic.

  1. Julio Vargas
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 11:39 a.m.
    We need to hire a coach with international experience. My number one pick was always Guus Hiddink. There is nobody in the MLS that can take this job. Jason Kreis has potential, I think if he becomes the coach of U20 and succeeds. He can be a good candidate for 2018. Kreis needs to prove that he can handle games against Argentina, Brazil, Germany, etc.

  1. Power Dive
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 11:50 a.m.
    Luis, just my own personal experience and I recognize others could be different. When you say the "rest of the world calls you North Americans", I have definitely not experienced that in my travels to Europe (all over totalling about 5 years) and much shorter treks to other continents. They call people from the United States of America....Americans. I don't think it's a geography quiz or anything like that...but more of, what else would you call us? USA-ians? United Statesians? People from the United States of America? That is awfully long. I found this discussion interesting because about 10 years ago was the first time I realized that it was an "issue". I was studying abroad in France and the teacher would frequently refer to the people from the United States of America, as Americans. Nothing interesting to me personally. That's what people from foreign countries, and yes back home, have refered to us my whole life. However, a girl from Brazil actually interupted the class to clarify to the teacher that she was an American too. She was visably upset. Didn't appreciate the monopoly that the United States had on the "American" continents. I could be wrong, but I think this is a distinction that is important mainly to people from other countries in the Americas. It's something that has stuck with me to this day and I try to stay sensitive too. However, please know that it's not some type of arrogance...we are not trying to claim that we are the only thing important coming from the two American continents. It's simply abbreviating the name of our country.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 11:53 a.m.
    David, I wish I could just talk about soccer when talking about the USNT but sadly it all goes together. You are completely disregarding how hard white America s made it for black America to participate in pro sports. This just happened 50-60 years ago!! These actions translated into all basic rights back then. The better question is how can you not relate these things together. It is np secret there is a politically created tension towards Hispanics in this country that undoubtedly leaks into soccer. I never said Mexico was perfect. In fact it is far from it. My dad is racist. I make no excuses for either. I believe the first step to a better future for all is to admit to you're negatives as a race and within you're immediate family and change them and not make excuses for them or ignore these issues like ykh are doing. I believe Mexico team should be the best in the world with its talent and I am not happy with it just beating USA. It should never be close unless more Hispanics are on the USA team. The problem with Mexico is the people ulrunning the national team. They care more about the money it generates than results. Greed. Funny enough this is the same with our government. There should be no need for any Mexican to be in USA with riches we have in our country but it is taken by the greedy few.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 12:09 p.m.
    Power, it doesn't bother me when Europeans refer to you as Americans. Most other countries just want to keep it simple. I get that. What bothers me is when racist America uses the American name to minimize immigrants in this country. They like to say you're not American. Or buy American. To say that's what the rest of the world calls us is also incorrect. The rest of America does not and that is a lot of countries. So at least 1/3-1/4 of the world does not call USA Americans. I was born in the USA and am not comfortable with the American name. When you apply for a job in this country you are asked what color you are basically even if you answer that you are USA born American. So American does not quite cut it, correct? To me that's arrogant and hipocritical. If I went to Europe I would be Mexican to them. Not American even though I was born here. Does this mean it should be accepted? Same thing.

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 12:27 p.m.
    First of all I want thank coach Bradley for coaching our national team for 4 1/2 years. Secondly let me tell you what we are. WE ARE USONIANS!!!! People of the United States of America. I discoverd this word many years ago from a Guatemalan who taught Latin America History. The problem in the US is that we don't know who we really are. Irish-Amer, Chinese-Amer, African-Amer and so on and so forth. These are words that divide our nation not unite our nation. The word USONIAN is the only word that can unite us but the democrats and republicans who are bought and sold to the "MAN" want our nation to be divided so we can be easily controlled in corrals like sheep and other livestock. Some of you have read my ranting about this and the Soccer REVOLUTION that needs to happen in the US. Change is not easy. It takes vision and especially great courage to step up to do the right thing. To me letting Bradley go is not going to change a single thing. Building 30,000 futsal courts in the US, getting kids to play 7 days a week starting at age 5 for free, creating a new vision, creating a style, bringing in master coaches from different places from around the world to mentor our young coaches, or creating a new mission statement. These things to me that are way more important then getting rid of a coach who really doesn't have much to do with the soccer system that has become outdated, boring, one dimensional, non-creative, and basically useless. If your goal is create magical players. Otherwise our soccer system is good as long that it is used to combat youth obseity, teach team work, and enhance life skills. But you are never going to develop a bad !"! player like Best or Pele. We need a NEW SPARTA!!!!! Not more smoke n mirrors.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 12:42 p.m.
    @Amos, Luis, and several others: First and foremost, I am a retired college professor of US/Latin American history with 40 years experience and as many in soccer at all levels, team manager, coach, administrator and historian/archivist with the US WC 1994. Luis is correect that the name "American" is derived from the name Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian cartographer who was given credit by the Catholic Monarchs for mapping the new "terra incognita" accidentaly discovered by another Italian, Cristofo Colombo in the late 15th Century. The entire new continenet was then referred to as America, divided into North (from the artic to Mexico) Central (Guatemala to Panama) and South America. I won't go further into this, but certainly for all intents and purposes we are ALL Americans, and besides the English interlopers referred to the unclaimed (by the Spanish explorers)territory on the East Coast as "New England," etc. Nevertheless, Luis is very correct about the overt anti-Latino players bias, yet I despair for Amos and others who simply cannot see the trees for the forest. And for your further information, I am of Mexican birth, an immigrant, when I was 10 years old, a Cold War veteran (Navy/Army) a naturalized citizen, and college graduate (GI Bill)and most importantly a proud american of Mexican birth, and went to Germany with my son of Mexican/Puerto Rican heritage where we followed and supported the US and then the Mexican teams.During the Gold Cup I cheered the US when it went up 2-0 and despaired for Mexico until the final whistle blew. And yes I was proud of Mexico then and later of the U17s. Lastly, Luis, you and I are of kindred spirit, pero no dejes la lucha, ya que estoy contigo.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 12:44 p.m.
    JUST OFF THE NEWS: KLIMSAN HAS BEEN HIRED!!!

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 12:55 p.m.
    Guys we are talking about soccer not race. What has race got to do with the beautiful game? Soccer is a language on it's own and unites all races and creeds? We should all be preoccupied with the status of the USMNT. That is if you are not an anti-fan of the USMNT. And you could choose to be whatever; African American, Hispanic American or even Italian American as long as you have the loyalty as a fan to land of your birth. Sad that many discard that notion and give allegiance to the land of their fathers and mothers. Although we all that right, however as I have emigrated to the US at the age 12 and not wanting to confuse my son I have full support of the US Soccer program. One more thing, to talk about race in the game of soccer is shameful. I remember when Pele landed in the US and an ignoramus reporter asked an off the cuff question "And how about your blond wife, She is white?" Pele turned around and looked at his wife and sad "NO, NO...She is Brazilian". Please learn from that! Soccer/Football/Fusball which is it? Does it really matter? BTW, we call people that were born in Italy, Italians, what do you call people that were born in the United States? Let's stop all the inane and futile squabbles and let's get back to the main agenda....Thank you everyone!

  1. John Hofmann
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 1:02 p.m.
    I've skipped down to make a comment about "Americans". It may not be arrogance, from our standpoint, but I believe it is the perception of others. I stayed with a Spanish family, under a home-stay progrom in 1964 after release from 3 yrs of military in Europe. One of the first lessons I learned in Spain was not to refer to U.S. citizens as Americans. It was pointed out that all citizens of North and South America were Americans, and I was a Norte Americano. I've never forgotten that. I don't resent it. It made sense to me, and I've pointed that out, in appropriate situations, many times over the years.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 1:10 p.m.
    @John Hofman: Muchisimas gracias! Strangely ironic and wonderful to note that it was a Spanish family - the very descendants of the Spanish conquistadores to correct and teach about Mr. Hofman as a "Norte Americano," a term that is still widely used in Mexico and other countries. And @ Anotnion Fontanelli, please note that it was Amos who started Luis on a roll, and your Pele comment should and ought to end this theme, thank you!

  1. John Hofmann
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 1:23 p.m.
    And, to add one more thought, now that I've gotten through all the above comments. Perhaps much of the world calls US citizens "Americans", but for the other citizens of Central and South America that's a problem, along with apparently countries that are culturally aligned with them, Spain and assume Portugal.

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 2:09 p.m.
    Only people consumed with racial division continue to use race as an excuse. This kind of talk continues the problem. Soccer coaches want talent and to win. They don't care about the race. Americans use the word American because that is the shortened term for the United States of America. No American is calling themselves American to exclude others. No other country uses American to describe themselves. To suggest otherwise is simply sour grapes. In Africa where I am from, they call USA people "Americans" because they are. Stupid to create issues like this. This is racism... plain and simple. Stop the racism yourself and it will not return to you.

  1. Julio Moreira
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 2:31 p.m.
    I have tried to understand so many of your comments and I still believe we are referring to the long overdue firing of US Soccer coach Bradley, next in line should be Sunil, in the many commentaries some of them are referring to the discovery of the Americas, it was and is celebrated all over the Americas and recognized all over the world, that the country of Spain discover the Americas, hiring the italian Cristofero Colombo to lead the Spanish vessels La Pinta, La NiƱa and Santa Maria. in other comments some of you referred to the world cups won by Germany, Italy, England and Spain with an all white players squad, well then consider that also the world cup winners Argentina in two occasions and Uruguay three time are all white teams. On the MLS, with the money spent on players 5 million a year each, players that are retiring and are brought to life in this league e.g Henry, Marquez and so forth, instead sign young players here or abroad and you will see that MLS is not longer referred as the cemetery soccer league. But I believe we should be concentrating on who is going to replace Bradley and I think we have a great opportunity to have a great coach, well educated, well dressed, showing enthusiasm in his job, representing our great country and really involved in creating a great team, a competitive team, names of good coaches can be chosen from so much available talent, but please no more Bradley's, Arena's or Sampson's, let's think and elect a Klinsman, Bielsa, Leonardo etc..etc..

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 2:32 p.m.
    Amos, it is sad to see that a black person cannot see my point. Do you think basketball pro clubs were looking for talent over what color you were 50-60 years ago? To ignore the racism is to condone it. Hispanics don't need to play for USA. What they have been doing is going to Mexican teams and national teams. I am simply stating why the USA will never be a top soccer country if it keeps it s same system. You perhaps are happy with USA policies because you came under different circumstances but it s sad to see that you look away on you're slave brother's treatment in this country. Every race and immigrant has had to fight against the white American for their rights in this country. You or you're children will not be the exception.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 2:37 p.m.
    Argentina and Uruguay are Hispanic White. Mexico has a few too but I think what these guys mean is white of European descent.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 2:40 p.m.
    Hmm, I wonder if the Native Indian American root for USA sports. Those guys are the real Americans.

  1. Rich Blast
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 3:10 p.m.
    Sunil Gulati needs to go. Who cares what race or color the coach is? Is should be the best person for the job.

  1. Julio Moreira
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 3:30 p.m.
    Argentina is 40% Italian descent, 40% Spanish descent, 10% German, English and other European countries, same as Uruguay.

  1. Bret Newman
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 3:31 p.m.
    Luis Arreola point is not valid. He tries to compare black (African Americans) people's domination in basketball to latino's in soccer. But white countries like Germany, Holland, Italy(non Indian) and France (mostly black) have had great success. And Brazil has mostly blacks on the team. And Mexico struggles against the USA, even though soccer is their number one sport. The problem with latino's is that on average they are shorter than black and white people. While this not a disadvantage for midfielders and forwards, it is a disadvantage for defenders and goalkeepers. So the secret for success is to include all races. And let's not forget the Asians, who show they are really good soccer players too. Did you see that goal by the Korean guy on Man U, against the MLS all-stars, Luis? Anyway, I agree we need to develope more inner city kids, which include a lot of latino kids, but their are good players from all races. It's not exactly like basketball, where height in combination with athleticism, plays a huge role.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 4:33 p.m.
    Why is our women's soccer team in the top 3 in the world when our men's teams are in the 20's? The girls are the sisters of the boys. Grow up in the same places. Same coaching styles and referrees. Why are they some of the best in the world? My answer is that like the rest of the world's men and women, our women mostly have only soccer as a professional sports outlet. Our best male athletes are drawn to our niche (from a worldwide perspective) leagues of football, basketball, and baseball where they can make millions of dollars (like Europe and South America's [and even Mexico's) best male athletes can get playing soccer). Our best male athletes do not tend to choose soccer. Occasionally, a fairly talented guy chooses soccer and we get our Landon Donovans and Clint Dempseys. When we can get future Lebrons and Kobes to play soccer, we'll start gaining the world rankings that a nation of our size and general athleticism deserves.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 4:44 p.m.
    Rich so these countries did not mix with the indigenous people of that area? Where's that percentage? Same with Brazil. Its hard to accept. I know.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 5:03 p.m.
    Bret, aside from basketball I also mention baseball and football. What's the advantage for black's and Hispanics in baseball? Brazilians are a mix with indigenous people of the area as well. So the black's you talk about are a visible mix with them as well. The biggest reason black people are Bertram at basketball is their passion and creativity . The passion is easily measured just b going out to the city and watching pick up games. When these players were finally given the opportunity to play it made white people. Better at it as they learned from them. This is exactly the same with soccer. Mexico dominates at all ages in Cpncacaaf. Its a fact that White America has had to forcefully accept other races superiority in sports in this country. While European countries have shown quality in soccer even Houghton soccer was born in Europe, South America has shown to be equally or even better along with Spain. Barcelona is the best in the world. What's their average height? Messi? Passion over height, anyday. Even though they would be a great mix, you first need skill and talent and then you can piece in hieght and strength but its not needed to be successful. Perfect examples of how it doesn't work the other way are England and USA. I say this to my son who is 5'9" and 12 years old. He understands his height, strength and speed are nothing without skill and passion.

  1. David Huff
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 5:06 p.m.
    Luis, you should be aware that recent research has revealed that Polynesians were first in places like Chile and California before the invading future Latinos arrived, you are not the supposed "original" people anymore. Aloha Braddah and go Hawai'i!!! On final note, I would like to express my satisfaction at the long overdue firing of the Bradleys (yes, Michael too, we can do better than him) and the amazing reversal of fortunes that has led to the hiring of Klinsmann who should have been hired in the first place. I will savor and treasure this week forever, thebirth of American Futbol/ soccer is imminent.

  1. Scott Ellis
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 5:23 p.m.
    I hate see this thread take this line of conversation, but Luis you are on fire. Injustice of all kinds exists in all areas of the globe throughout history. No region or period of time is exempt. Slavery, and oppression whether it is ethnic or racial, belongs to no group of people exclusively. For most of human history you took what you needed, and if you could not defend it the consequences were dire. This is our legacy as humans. Were the Aztecs any different than those who conquered them really? If anything,it is western culture that has tried to at least reverse this sad human trend. However, inate human traits die hard unfortunately. In terms of soccer, the problem,I feel, is one of economics. To gain access to top flight coaching, and find the eyes of U.S. soccer you need money. Yes, it is a fact that "the have" and "the have nots" in this country are often seperated by racial and/or ethnic/tribal lines, but that is the case in almost every country. Centuries of war and violence have created these divisions, and nothing was given away. The key for the future of U.S. soccer is to find a way to scout and develop players from all parts of our culture. It just takes time, and will continue to get better as we become more of a soccer nation. Hopefully Klinsman has recognizied this need.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 5:58 p.m.
    Scott, slavery almost entirely belong to white people. You have to be willing to accept facts as I will. Can you please tell me wich black people enslaved another ethnicity? My ancestors did enslave other indigenous people as well as Spaniards did after conquering them. The difference is this ended many years before it did here in the great USA. The Dutch were the first to enslave another race. I believe they are white. Why is white America so sympathetic to Jews when they too committed genocide against the Indian Americans? There has been and still is racism in USA sports. Soccer is no different. It usually is conformed of white Americans trying to dominate a sport but then unwillingly succumbing to the inevitable.

  1. Power Dive
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 6:24 p.m.
    Just a point of clarification, Dutch people are orange, not white. They are naked when you see them in the stands.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 6:40 p.m.
    David, you could be right about that. Either way the first people here were not white and the indigenous were also here before. Spain hired the Italian that eventually discovered America for Europe. Difference between Mexico and USA is that the indigenous people were not killed in genocide by the Spanish in Mexico and south of them. We mixed to form a beautiful people. What did the English do?

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 6:42 p.m.
    I think Klinsmann will be smart enough to get more Hispanics on the national teams and will be said to be a genius afterwards. Any bets?

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 6:44 p.m.
    The hiring of klinsmann is not going to make a difference. He was a talented player and he is a good coach. But my friends players win championships and not coaches. We should have kept Bradley or get another US coach on the cheap while saving the money on Klinsmann so we can start a Soccer Revolution in the US. You will see nothing is going to change. Now if klinsmann goes into the inner cities of the US to start creating soccer in the HOOD then maybe it is worth seeing if he is going to make an impact but I doubt it. We need to create a NEW SPARTA. Until then it doesn't matter who the national coach is or isn't.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 6:49 p.m.
    O'Connor, USA women are so successful in world competition simply because they have had a 40 year head start. Other countries are just starting to take it seriously. There is no women's program in Mexico. 7 of their players are USA born and play college soccer and all of a sudden they go 1-1 vs USA in wins. Not a mystery.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 6:57 p.m.
    Cony, Klindman will make a small positive impact if he actively pursue the true talent. I applaud you're passion but it will not happen. What has politically happened in USA that is not powered by profitable circumstances? Money. Change laws so clubs can legally sign youths to contracts. Everyone makes money. Players get developed for sure to obtain profits. Usa gets world stars.More demand for soccer playgrounds as children look up to them.

  1. David Penton
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 7:18 p.m.
    Science has taught us all humans are genetically 99.9% identical. Race exists only in our minds. Next.

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 7:26 p.m.
    Luis that is my whole point. If he doesn't set the tone in creating a soccer revolution in the US. Then hiring him to coach the us national team is a waste of money. The US doesn't need a coach. The US needs a Warrior Leader who has the courage to shake the foundations of US Soccer. We don't need more smoke n mirrors. Let see what happens. I will give him the benefit of doubt. If nothing happens then we just wasted a nice junk of change. If something fantastic happens then it will be a great investment.

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 7:29 p.m.
    David Penton I agree. RACE AND RELIGION are just ways to keep the masses divided so the "MAN" can control us a little easier.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 8:26 p.m.
    Cony, for the revolution to happen it will take much more than what you say. If USA clubs can't sign underage players to contracts it will never happen. Realistically the great majority of clubs in USA are in it for the money.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 8:28 p.m.
    David, I agree with you but the mind is very powerful and some have used it to do great evil to others. My guess is you are neither black NPR Hispanic.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: July 29, 2011 at 10:25 p.m.
    Technical players with a 'soccer brain' is what needs to be developed...nothing else matters; i.e, Giuseppe Rossi, born in the USA, dveloped in Europe, but what a soccer brain.

  1. Carlos Thys
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 11:32 p.m.
    Juergen Klinnsman might be a marquee name due to his playing career and leader/manager/media roll at the helm of the German national team at the German hosted World Cup 2006. But he will hire a lot of people, too many people. He will force that he himself is paid way too much money; ditto for his excessive staff. There could be worse choices than Juergen. But Klinsi will bankrupt US Soccer -- and the results will not justify it. If he were really that good, a German, French, Italian, or English club would be paying his wages right now.

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: July 31, 2011 at 9:14 a.m.
    We do need a team to help take our soccer to another level. We need a USONIAN national coach and not an international coach. Bianchi as a mentor coach to work with our MLS teams. Perkerman to work with our teams from U15 thru U20 national team coaches. And Ciro Medrano to work with our 5 thru 14 year old coaches. Javier Lozano should be brought in to help us develop futsal coaches and help establish a pro league. We need to start developing soccer and futsal in the inner cities. And finally we need to close down IMG National Camp and create a NEW SPARTA for our national youth players.


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