Photo courtesy of: TeamUSA.org
Jun 17, 2010
From staff reports
Bob Bradley, the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team currently competing in the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, is not just an OHIO alumnus, but a former OHIO soccer head coach.
In 1981, while earning his master’s degree in sports administration, Bradley coached the Ohio University men’s soccer team. He graduated in 1982, and the university’s soccer program ended soon after, but Bradley’s career has continued to soar.
Expectations for the U.S. team* have increased dramatically since 1990, their first World Cup appearance after a 40-year drought. The national team has qualified for the last six World Cups, and Bradley will see if he can mimic 2002’s surprising quarter-final run.
Early signs of a potentially similar situation developing could be seen last week during the U.S.’s hard-fought, first-round 1-1 draw against England.
In a media roundtable after the game, later posted on the team’s website, Bradley spoke of how his team is going to have to work to get beyond this early hype.
“We’ve had a good focus the whole time,” he said. “We’ve said it so many times that we understand what the first round is about, but we were still excited to start the World Cup playing against England. It’s a big game and a big night, and overall we take away positive things as we now get ready for Slovenia.”
In spring 2008, Bradley was still preparing his team for the international qualifying matches. "Ohio Today", the magazine of the Ohio University’s alumni, published a profile by Stephen McKean, himself an OHIO alumnus, who is currently in South Africa covering the World Cup.
Below are some selected excerpts from McKean’s article. You can read the full story here (pdf):
With the grueling multi-year qualification process for the 2010 World Cup to begin this summer, the former Ohio coach will prepare his team for brutally high-stakes games against some of the world’s best, in front of tens of thousands of fans and millions more watching on television.
It’s a far cry from preparing his non-scholarship Bobcats for matches against Cleveland State or Ohio Wesleyan at the old O’Bleness Field, but Bradley says his time at Ohio was a fitting preparation for what has proven to be an immensely successful career.
“I was only 22 years old,” says Bradley, whose squad included several international players and a handful of team members who were older than him. “It was a really unique opportunity as a young person, as a young coach, to get that experience.”
When Bradley received his master’s degree, he moved on to an assistant coaching position at the University of Virginia and from there took the head coaching job at Princeton in 1984. Making a leap to Major League Soccer in 1996, Bradley was named 1998 MLS Coach of the Year after leading the Chicago Fire to a title in its inaugural season.
Bradley has a crop of outstanding young talent, including his son Michael, a 20-year-old star midfielder.
“Soccer in the United States is a great story,” Bradley says. “And now we’re looking forward to getting started in June … all of it with an eye to 2010 and trying to do something pretty special.”
U.S. World Cup matches
Want to see Bradley’s team in action? Flights to South Africa can be expensive, but the games are featured on ESPN, Univision and online at ESPN3.com*. Weekend games are being broadcast by ABC.
The next game is Friday, June 18, at 10 a.m. against Slovenia. Following that, the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team will take on Algeria on Wednesday, June 23, at 10 a.m.