By DAN KARELL
Bob Bradley’s European dream has become a reality.
After nearly achieving what others though was impossible with the Egyptian national team over the last two years, Bradley parlayed that experience into his first head coaching job in Europe. On Friday morning, Norwegian Tippeligaen club Stabaek named Bradley as their newest head coach, making the former U.S. Men’s National Team manager the first American to manage a first-division club in a European league.
“I enjoy working in a club situation where you can work with the players every day,” Bradley said at his introductory press conference. “I’m really looking forward to starting with the club.”
According to reports in Norway, Bradley has signed a two-year contract and will not only work with the first team but will also be involved in youth development within Stabaek as well.
The news comes just one day after Norwegian Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the managerial position at English Premier League side Cardiff City.
Bradley has managed soccer teams at nearly all levels of the game since becoming the head coach of Ohio University in 1981 and moving up the ranks. He spent 11 years at Princeton before becoming an assistant with D.C. United in 1996 and then guided the Chicago Fire to a league title in their first season in Major League Soccer.
From there, Bradley had stints with the Metrostars and Chivas USA before taking over as USMNT head coach in late 2006. Bradley led the U.S. to the 2010 World Cup but a poor final at the 2011 Gold Cup saw the 55-year-old lose his job. Soon after, Bradley took the Egyptian national team job and lead the Pharaohs to a 7-1 record in World Cup qualifying despite the cancellation of the domestic league for the better part of two years and all the other political and social conflicts erupting in Egypt.
“We are extremely happy having Bob on board and we are also proud because this is a great achievement for Norwegian soccer, to have an internationally recognized coach in Norway,” Stabaek chairman Espen Moe said at the press conference. “Bob is actually what we have been looking for for a while. We consider Bob to be a strong leader and we need a strong leader.”
Last season, Stabaek earned promotion back to the Tippeligaen following a one-year stay in Norway’s second division. Bradley replaces Petter Belsvik as Stabaek manager following Belsvik’s two year’s on the job. Bradley rejected an offer to return to MLS with the Vancouver Whitecaps to keep his options with Stabaek open.
Stabaek begins the 2014 season on March 29 at home against Sogndal. Stabaek plays their home matches in the Oslo suburb Baerum, in the 7,000 capacity Nadderud stadium.
What do you think of this news? How do you expect Bradley to perform? Do you believe he can win the league? How long do you see him remaining in Norway?
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