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Bradley: American Players Don't Lack Self-Belief

  • Goal.com, Tuesday, February 18, 2014 2:29 PM
The UEFA Champions League returns on Tuesday with the Round of 16, but you won’t be seeing any American products remaining in a competition that most soccer observers regard as the world’s best. Recently, USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann expressed his concern about the lack of Americans playing for Champions League teams, stating that there may be a lack of self-belief among American players.

One player who disagrees with that sentiment is former AS Roma midfielder Michael Bradley, who joined Toronto FC during the January transfer window. “There’s no doubt that, as Americans, we continue to have to fight for respect and we have to continue to show that we have players who can play at the highest level,” Bradley said. “You would have hoped that now what’s gone on, whether it’s in Major League Soccer or the national team or with certain individuals over the past 10, 15, 20 years would have done more for us, but the reality is that at the moment there’s still a little bit of a feeling that if you can have an American or an Argentine, they’re taking an Argentine.” Asked specifically if he thought that American players lacked self-belief, Bradley simply said, "No."

Klinsmann’s recent comments raised some eyebrows when he questioned American players’ mental fortitude. “It needs to take the U.S. team, in a World Cup to go into at least a quarterfinal, if not a semifinal, to give more credibility to American players," Klinsmann said in a TV interview with ESPN. "But it’s also the American players, when they go to Europe, to prove it, that they become big players in Europe. So it's also down to, do they have the belief? They have the qualities, but do they have the belief?"

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