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Why Bob Bradley deserves his chance with Swansea City

Tuesday 4th October 2016
Former USA head coach Bob Bradley has been appointed at the helm of Swansea City. The veteran American manager has a proven track record, but never a job this big. Could the combination of Swans, Stars and Stripes be a winner?

Bob Bradley's footballing career started with his playing days where he played for one of America's oldest clubs, the Princeton Tigers who were founded in 1869 and still compete within the US' amateur ranks. After just four seasons; Bob hung up his boots and started his management career in 1981.

In 1998 he took his first senior post, with Chicago Fire. Bob instantly hit the ground running by winning the MLS Cup in his first season with the club. In the same season, he did the American double, winning the U.S. Open Cup by defeating Columbus Crew in the final. After his time in Illinois, he spent time with MetroStars and Chivas USA both spells were not particularly fruitful, yet his overall MLS club career was enough for the United States Soccer Federation to appoint him as the national side's manager in 2006.

Bob was impressive with the US national side, winning the 2007 Gold Cup against Mexico in the final – a major accolade considering Bob had not had a lot of time to the turn the team around. The US became a very competitive team reaching two finals in 2009 in the Gold Cup and Confederations Cup competitions. This included a win over Vincente del Bosque's European championship winning Spanish side.

The American national team continued to flourish under Bradley as they went to the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. Team USA famously drew 1-1 with England in their opening game and went on to top the group by virtue of goals scored. Throughout the group, the American side looked very impressive and full of spirit. Landon Donovan might have been on the wing, but came up the goals which ensured their progression to the knockout stage. After the group stage, the US met their long-term rivals, Ghana – who they often meet in the international competition. Whilst the performance was better Bradley was unable to overturn their rivals and the team lost 2-1 after extra time.
Arguably the greatest moment in American Soccer history, a last-gasp winner to top the group. Under Bradley's regime.

He was initially kept as the US manager for another year as the federation were impressed with his capabilities to inspire a team. Bradley took the team to another final, the 2011 Gold Cup. Despite an early 2-0 lead, they ended up losing the final to Mexico 4-2. The manner of the result saw Bradley's position terminated. During the end of his tenure with the national team, he was linked with both Fulham and Aston Villa – yet no appointment was ever made. Instead, he joined the Egyptian national side as their head coach.
Three years were ultimately unsuccessful considering the Pharaohs did not qualify for the 2014 world cup. Bradley again fell to Ghana, as they progressed at Egypt's expense. Bradley was again relieved of his position and returned to club football, with Norwegian Tippeligaen side, Stabæk. Bradley was considered a hit with the Scandinavian club, taking a mid-table club who finished ninth previously to a Europa League club in just the space of one season. The Tippeligaen's season ends in November due to adverse weather and Bradley was in high demand at this point due to his accomplishments in Norway.

His next appointment was with Ligue 2 side, Le Havre, who were chasing a return to the top French flight. Bradley joined the club when they were in the fifteenth position but much like Stabæk, turned the club around. Le Havre ended up in fourth place, just goal difference separated them and Metz from the promotion spot. With no play-off in Ligue 2, Bradley would have to wait another season to push for top-flight status.

Whilst he might not much silverware, he's proved a knack to turn stale low-end clubs around into contesting sides which want to go places. This is a job with Swansea City is undoubtedly his biggest appointment and may serve as the acid test for his managerial capabilities. He's done it in Norway and France, but the Premier League is a beast like no other. That said, he's earnt his stripes in those positions and henceforth earned his chance under the spotlight of the most followed league.
Warren Smith

A British and J.League soccer enthusiast, now local to Yokohama, Japan. A keen Arsenal supporter. Has been known to play the game every once in awhile, once likened to Xherdan Shaqiri. 


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