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Bradley speaks: U.S. coach discusses a variety of topics

Bob Bradley (JohnToddISI)

Photo by John Todd/

 U.S. national team head coach Bob Bradley was in New York on Thursday for the unveiling of the U.S. national team home jersey, and also to speak with media about preparations for the upcoming World Cup.

Bradley touched on a wide variety of topics, from the progress of specific players, to process of selecting the team, to the recent success of players such as Herculez Gomez and Edson Buddle. He also discussed Jermaine Jones, altitude preparation and even his observations of Algerian and Slovenian players.

Here are just some of the things Bradley said:

On how many of the 23 World Cup roster spots are secured

"We’re somewhere between 16 and 18, some days a little higher."

On Jermaine Jones, who the U.S. team is still monitoring and who U.S. national team trainer Ivan Pierra will be visiting soon:

"Jermaine has tried to hold off as long as he could to give this thing time, but I think we’ll know in next week for sure whether that one has any hope, or whether or not for his future the best decision to get the surgery."

On Charlie Davies

"I think the fact that Charlie is this far along is great, but certainly even within the framework of being back, let's face it, there are different levels there. Our ability to assess where he is factors into making that decision.

"There’s going to be a decision on our end that is simply about the World Cup. I know that’s been one of his motivating forces in this whole thing. Regardless of how that particular decision goes, if at the end if he's at step 80 (in his recovery), and we think in order for him to start that camp he needs to be at 85, that can’t get in the way of him getting to step 100.

t’s a tricky part because I know what’s on the table right away. I know that a lot of his drive has been with that goal. That means something to all of us, but at the end of the day we still have to assess completely where he is as we make decisions, even for the camp.

On the possibility of not selecting Davies, or cutting him in camp

"At the end of the day decisions get made that you feel are best for the team. There's tough decisions that get made all the time. This one has a lot tied to it, that's exactly right.

Oftentimes, wtihin the team, decisions are clearer than people on the outside would understand. There's an old expression that the team picks the team. That's pretty true because usually things establish themselves pretty well. Players know who are the ones that should be there, and that kind of thing.

There's always going to be strong feelings, not only about Charlie, there's strong feelings about all sorts of guys in this process."

On putting together the starting lineup

Your best eleven guys don’t always make (up) your best team.

On Jozy Altidore

"His experience this year at Hull, I think, has helped him. There’s been some good days. I remember for sure the game against Chelsea, where you could tell he was motivated that day. It was an extra edge in everything he did. I think that seeing that makes you feel good, tells you that some of the things that we've talked to Jozy about, things that he needs to do to keep growing, are happening. There are moments when it goes the other way.

Part of it is our experience as a staff helps Jozy because we know him. We’ve had him in enough. I think the experiences along the way will ensure that he'll be ready to go."

On the upcoming national team camp

In a perfect world we’d have picked our 23 and that’s who we’d come into camp with. At this point, we’re probably thinking more along the lines of 26 to 28 guys in, and knowing that within that we’ll have to assess and, at the end of the day, make some decisions.

On Edson Buddle

"The easy thing to see so far this year is he’s scored some incredible goals. That actually fits if you look over Edson’s career. As a young striker in the league, his talent came through based upon his ability at times to score some great goals, a variety of goals. Goals where he dribbled, goals with his head.

That part is not new, but it’s been there of late. There’s been a lot of maturing that has taken place in less obvious ways. He seems to be doing a lot of little things that make a difference for his team."

On Herculez Gomez

"Herculez we had in in Copa America in 2007 following the Gold Cup when we had almost an entirely different team. We all know, if you go back to his beginnings in MLS, his first year was a year where he came into the scene in LA and what you would say is everything that he touched went into the net. His pure ability to strike a ball was pretty obvious.

That’s kind of come back a little bit at Puebla.

Even in the games where he was, a lot of these games he was just a sub, but he came on the field and now a certain ball would pop loose and the next thing you know he’d latch on to it and score a great goal.

You try to assess those things and project, or factor, or ask yourself what it’s like when the games get better, are enough other pieces of the equation that fit, and see."


Bradley said he hadn't settled on a specific number of players at defender, midfielder and forward, but that the versatility of the players chosen will help him make that decision. In other words, if has a midfielder who can play in central defense (like Maurice Edu), that might make it easier for him to bring one more midfielder and one fewer defender.

Bradley mentioned Edu's experience as a centerback in the 2008 Olympics as the type of experience that could make him an option in the centerback pecking order.

Discussing the left back position, Bradley mentioned Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein, Jonathan Spector and Heath Pearce as options.

He has not settled on a No. 2 goalkeeper, with Marcus Hahnemann and Brad Guzan the obvious choices battling to back up Tim Howard.

The team is still looking into possible solutions to handle the high altitude of South Africa, including potentially using oxygen tents. That is still being discussed.


That's all for now. What did you think of Bradley's comments?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. “But I also don’t know why it has to be one or the other.”

    Your basic premise is flawed. You seem to think the US had plenty of top guys available for the entire summer. You also seem to assume the US can call in everyone they want, for however long they want, whenever they want. This is not the case.

    That was two major tournaments back to back in the summer of 2007. It is often hard for national teams to get all their players for one major tournament, let alone two back to back. Now if you are Argentina or Brazil and have more internationl level players than you know what to do with in your player pool that is one thing.

    But few countries are in that position, certainly not the US who at the time had maybe one above average international standard non-keeper and that was Donovan. And only a fool would keep him him all summer for two major tournaments. He’s not a robot you know.

    It had to be one or the other, in terms of fielding a really competitive team and the Gold Cup was always going to be #1.

    “All I said is it was an opportunity that was missed and we should take every opportunity we get.”

    The US took advantage of that opportunity get some valuable experience for players, some of whom are now important members of the team.

  2. How? It is posited as an opinion. Every person has a sovereign right to their opinion.

    Of course, no one has has to give that opinion any credit whatsoever.

    So at end of the day ( a Bradelyism), D ( which no doubt stands for DOLT) isn’t counterproductive because no one cares what he thinks. I still believe D falls just a bit short of the standard for full fledged, card carying, idiocy.

    What is the old cliche? A day late and a dollar short?

  3. I don’t even know where you have gotten half of that stuff.

    1. Nowhere have I ever suggested the Copa was more important than the Confed Cup. I would say without reservation the Confed Cup was more important. But I also don’t know why it has to be one or the other. It doesn’t. I’m in no way complaining about favoring the Gold Cup over the Copa America. All I said is it was an opportunity that was missed and we should take every opportunity we get.

    2. That little diatribe at the end has absolutely nothing to do with me. I understand injuries. I also understand that our competition will be tough and not just England. If we are just outmatched talentwise at the Cup, I will not hold Bob responsible for that, as long as we play good soccer. For major portions of qualifying we got by playing mediocrely and we were downright terrible in the first two games of the Confed Cup. If we come out with shape and confidence like we did against Spain and Brazil the second time, I will be fine with that.

    I don’t know that it makes sense to completely dismiss anything in the current world cup cycle as “an era ago.”

    But fine, you like Bob. I didn’t like him at first, now think he’s fine, but he still needs to prove something. I don’t see the big deal. So chill out.

  4. “we should send the best team possible. Despite the roadblocks Bob faced, I don’t think you can suggest that was anything close to the best team possible, and you can’t suggest we didn’t miss out on an opportunity.”

    What makes you think this was not the best team possible? I’m not privy to the inner workings but then neither are you. I find it hard to believe Bradley would not have wanted the best but , as I pointed out before, sometimes you have to settle for less in your battle with the clubs for their players when your true focus is on the Confederations up and WC qualifying.

    “I’m glad we improved at the Confed, and I hope it carries over to the World Cup. But 2 good games and another qualification from an easy confederation is not a ton to hang your hat on, and I hope that in the end, we don’t look back on missed chances.”

    I fail to see how a good Copa America, which was 2 years before the Confed Cup, is more important to the improvement of our chances in the 2010 Cup than the good showing we had at the 2009 Confederations Cup. For example, Frank Simek was a hot Right Back prospect in 2007-2008 but then he got hurt in 2008 and now he may never play for the US again.

    The other thing that I’m really tired of in this endless mindless criticism of Bradley is that he hit his formula at the Confederations Cup but then that team was torn apart by injuries. Demerit and Onyewu, the heart of a stout defense have been hurt and we know about Charlie. All three are unlikely to be 100% for the World Cup. For a team with as litle talent available as the US that is devastating. Yes, I know you think Bradley is ignoring some enormous gold mine of untapped US talent. Tell me where it is? And I would ask you to look at Englands talent pool and tell me how many of their discards ( keepers aside) would walk right into the USMNT.

    The US should have had to invite only 25 or so players to this upcoming camp and those last 3 friendlies should have been strategy tuneups, not tryouts. Bradley is basically left with jury rigging a team for the World Cup. If you’re still mad about the Copa America, well, in football terms that was almost another era ago. Remind me never to have you get mad at me. It’s obvious you hold a grudge forever.

  5. Honestly, I think CD will opt out of the team if he doesn’t feel he’ll be able to contribute 100%. He’s still young, and knows that he has more WC’s ahead of him.

  6. I am not sure you are understanding this concept. It isn’t the guys pick who they like, but rather, based upon the way the play goes on the field you can tell who belongs and who doesn’t.

  7. So how many players have? Bornstein, Jozy, MB, are the ones that come immediately to mind. Anyone else? Don’t take this too seriously, but although people tag BB with this “bias” I hadn’t ever sat down and thought out who HAS played for him.

  8. Saying that Michael Bradley “hasn’t even earned a starting role in my opinion at the WC” could be considered to be someone who acts in a significantly counterproductive way.

  9. In a recent interview Altidore said he enjoys the unity among the players and feels that the bulk of the credit for the team’s cohesiveness is due to head coach Bob Bradley.
    “Bob does a good job in helping our mindset,” the striker said of the national team coach. “It starts with him and then works its way down to the players. It’s a credit to him and the rest of the coaching staff. All of the players get along and there is no drama. We all fight for each other.”

    As for the players picking the final team, I don’t think Bob meant the players select who comes to the camp, but once there, it becomes obvious to the players who is at the top and who is not. There is of course a bit of fiddling to take care of what the team needs, rather than simply selecting the “best” players. The team must have some guys who mostly defend, some who can help maintain possession and some who can score some goals.

  10. Also, Isacc would you consider Spector as a left back contender ? And take Demerit out and put Boca in the middle and Spector at left back ? Sorry I am asking you a lot of questions. 🙂

  11. Look, if Davies isn’t fit, bring him along but don’t name him to the roster. I think Bradley would be a little crazy to put Davies on the roster when 1)he suffered major injuries and multiple surgeries, 2)hasn’t played a competitive match in what, 8 months? 3) only recently even began to train with his club team, and probably won’t even see the field this club season. No way he’ll be in any position to play the full 90, or probably even 60 at a WC Fitness level.

    That means Davies, at the absolute best, would be a late game substitute. Why should Bob choose that over a guy (Gomez) who led the Mexican League in scoring AS A LATE GAME SUBSTITUTE?” Or Buddle, who is in great form and has great chemistry with Landon Donovan?

    I’d bring Altidore, Gomez, Buddle, and maybe Ching (ugh, but he’s a scrapper, at least). Bring Davies as honorary team captain or something but not on the roster. Start Dempsey and Altidore, and bring on Gomez as a 2nd half sub for Altidore.

  12. “You’re an idiot and don’t know anything about the US team if you honestly think Michael Bradley won’t be a starter. ”

    Here is a definition of idiot:

    “An idiot, dolt, or dullard is a mentally deficient person, or someone who acts in a self-defeating or significantly counterproductive way. More humorous synonyms of the term include addlehead, blockhead, bonehead, deadhead, dimwit, dodo, dope, dummy, dunderhead, nincompoop, ninny, nitwit, numbskull, stupidhead, thickhead, and twit, among many others.”

    D may not know much about the game or the USMNT but he seems to be able to operate a computer, so your characterization of him as an “idiot” is a bit harsh, don’t you think?

    How about my favorite Ozzie expression, “f**kwit”?

    Oh, and Bradley is definitely a starter, on merit.

  13. Thank you. Bradley is terrible as a national team manager. I’d much rather have Arena, but really Kinsman is the choice. Just that sunal gilat joker will never give up his power.

  14. I don’t know why everyone keeps saying that they would take a player at anything less than 100% over other players.

    Isn’t the idea to get a player at 100%? If he’s at 75%, 85%, or 99%, then he’s not at full potential so why would you want him?

  15. I think you are remembering wrong.

    The only difference to the Egypt team from the previous rounds was that he added Davies and Guzan.

    I’ll admit I’m pretty sure I was surprised by Davies, but I don’t think anyone was mad at him for trying, even before CD scored. What he had done in the previous games was go 4-5-1, and no one wanted that. So I was just happy to have 2 forwards, especially since neither one was Ching.

    The only definite first team player missing was Bocanegra and he was injured I believe. Certainly the two squads have little in common.

    But, my main problem with Bob has always been our big game strategy as evidenced in the first two Confed Cup games. I.e., we’re outmatched, let’s sit back. But we were doing that without any defensive structure and with few legit attempts to hold possession or really do anything but kick it out.

    We learned from that and did better afterwards. But what scares me is that we’ve only done that for two games against non-CONCACAF opponents in real competition.

    I’ve said already several times that I believe the team may have learned from that and Bob could have us ready to go. That said, if we come out and show the same kind of showing we did against Brazil and Italy I’m going to hold Bob responsible.

    This is as much me acknowledging that if we do well in the Cup, that I was wrong about Bob all along.

    But what I’m also saying is that you cannot blame people for being frustrated with him basically right up until the Confederations Cup. And I’m not totally convinced by one good tournament that Bob has it all together.

    The Copa America is one example of one of the things that frustrated fans, particularly after the World Cup had us all wanting to prove that we could compete against legit teams. I guess it didn’t frustrate you guys because you apparently always knew he would figure it out.

    So, I defer to all of you in your infinite hindsight wisdom.

  16. I agree against the Dutch was the best I’ve seen Beasley look in years.

    But without much match play this spring I doubt he has that sharpness to his game now, and if it came down to Bedoya or Beasley for last spot in the middie line-up, we got to go with the young gun. If it’s down to Clark or Beasley, same call, we should go with the younger guy.

  17. I was surprised too…it seems Bradley is concerned Gomez’s goals may be too one dimensional / poaching than anything else. Not sure I agree with that, especially since so many came off the bench.

    It’s not like we’ve got too many players that fall into the super-sub category. He’s demonstrated an ability to get into the flow of a match quickly and at forward.

    Seems like a trait the U.S could use.

  18. This is exactly what is wrong with fans STILL complaining about players like MB and Clark getting red cards for clumsy tackles.

    Here’s the math: Brazilian X = ~$60m

    MB or Clark = $5m together (ok, $10m)

    Just as in NBA where the stars get the calls, so too it goes when hard-tackling MLS players (Clark @Confed Cup) go up against…Brazilians or Italians, for example. The refs protect the stars from hack scrubs = USMNT.

    Hence, US is better off with 1 defensive minded ball-winning middie -and since MB never sits we know who that will be – and a second who can help hold the ball and play d, without getting cards. Like Edu, Torres, Feilhaber, Holden, Bedoya.

    Just becuase US talent pool is limited, and it is, doesn’t mean we need play BB kickball like we did before BB’s favs got red cards or injured last summer, and we actually started playing decently for 2 1/2 games (Egypt, Spain half of Brazil – second half when BB’s pets came out we reverted to…losing.

  19. What part of ‘disaster waiting to happen’ (Bornstein against quality competition don’t you (and BB) see?

    I thought Bornstein’s string of near-disaster to full disaster games in the friendlies against capable opposition over the fall/winter would help folks like you and BB get over him.

    Accidents happen, as do mistakes, Bornstein against England = disaster for USMNT. The Dutch are good, Rooney is way better than their strikers, and Lennon is way faster.

  20. I didn’t get sick to see us not send a proper squad to Copa America and if we missed out on an opportunity, I think it’s one we can forgive. For all your talk of Bradley not sending out his best possible team against good competition in competitive matches, you forget that the Egypt game was pretty much a lost cause until Bradley sent out the lineup that most posters here were saying would get him fired. Instead, they competed, they fought, they played with heart and they won. Twice. As far as growth goes, this World Cup cycle was hardly ever going to be about dominating in every competition. It was about nurturing players for the next cycle while qualifying for the World Cup. Bradley did that and then some. Players will improve, but not all of them will improve enough to help he USA do well until the next cycle.

  21. Buddle is in the form of his life. Gomez is playing very well. EJ is playing every week and scoring with a European club that’s in a playoff. Jozy is Jozy.

    We don’t really need to take a chance on Charlie Davies. As much as I would like to say otherwise, it’s clear he won’t be ready. He’s young. It will take him at least a full season to get back into the kind of fitness and form he’ll need to play like he did before he was hurt. His target ought to be 2014.

    The real injury concern is Onyewu. What’s the story there?

  22. You are right in a lot of points.

    (Particularly when you aren’t comparing the Copa America to the Carling Cup or 3rd Round FA Cup matches. Also, really? EJ and Olson? Not exactly core players.)

    And I don’t mean to put the whole blame on Bob for the Copa team. That would certainly be unfair.

    What I put on Bob is a lack of growth through large parts of the cycle. We finally did show some improvement in the Confed Cup, and I hope we can bring that to the World Cup. But it is going to be hard not to remember all of the wasted chances if we show up looking listless in the World Cup.

    True. Several of the players that did better at the Copa America did end up become serious contenders on the team. So yes, there was some measure of scouting there.

    But, what the USMNT needs more than anything is competition, and you cannot tell me that in 2007 you weren’t sick to miss out on the chance for that.

    I realize Bob really didn’t have the opportunity to send his top team. But I think that we could have managed to send along a couple of veteran guys, with some international experience who were actually in the mix for 2010. A mixture of those guys and the prospects might have given the young guys a chance to show their stuff in the pressure of a good game. And you can’t tell me that the experience wouldn’t have been more beneficial if we were actually capable of putting up a fight.

    I just believe that any chance we have to play competitive matches against good competition, we should send the best team possible. Despite the roadblocks Bob faced, I don’t think you can suggest that was anything close to the best team possible, and you can’t suggest we didn’t miss out on an opportunity.

    Like I said at the top, if we come out in the World Cup and perform as we are capable, I’ll give Bob credit.

    But what I am saying is Bob put a lot of people against him early on. And really as of the early parts of the Confed Cup, we hadn’t shown much growth at all after the 06 Cup.

    I’m glad we improved at the Confed, and I hope it carries over to the World Cup. But 2 good games and another qualification from an easy confederation is not a ton to hang your hat on, and I hope that in the end, we don’t look back on missed chances.

  23. Belichik knows exactly what he is saying and doing at all times. The fact that he doesn’t play to the media angers them because he thumbs his nose at their “power”. The “media” likes to think they represent the fan but they don’t. They represent themselves and they all want to move on to bigger and better things. In this regard they use people like coaches to help further their careers. The fact that Belichick won’t play along pisses them off.

    If Bradley is half as good a coach as Belichick then the USMNT will be just fine.


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