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Reports: Bradley set to be named manager at Stabaek

BobBradleyEgypt1 (AFP_Getty)

Bob Bradley’s long-rumored courtship with Norwegian first-division side Stabaek appears to be ready to reach a positive conclusion, with the club set to name its new manager on Friday.

According to reports out of Norway, Bradley looks set to take the Stabaek job, which would make him the first American to manage in a European first division league.

Bradley is fresh off of coaching Egypt through the African World Cup qualifying cycle, which saw the team fall to Ghana in the qualifying playoffs after an unbeaten run through qualifying.

The former U.S. Men’s National Team head coach returns to club coaching for the first time since leaving his job as Chivas USA head coach to take over the U.S. Men’s national Team in 2007. Prior to that, Bradley had coaching stints with the Chicago Fire (winning an MLS Cup in 1998) and the New York/New Jersey MetroStars.

What do you think of the move? Glad to see Bradley moving to Europe? See him eventually heading to a bigger league like the English Premier League, or perhaps the League Championship?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Ives,

    “According to reports out of Norway, Bradley looks set to take the Stabaek job, which would make him the first American to manage in a European first division league.”

    Did Gregg Berhalter renounce his US citizenship? Or does Englewood, New Jersey not count as part of America since that is where Gregg was born. Maybe you remember him; US center back on WC 2002 team, played a long time in Germany then finished up at the Galaxy and is now the Crew’s manager?

    Last year he managed Hammarby IF. And Sweden’s league is ranked above Norway’s.

    Shane says:

    “Give him a shot meaning having the balls to go against the prevailing prejudice in Europe that an American can’t coach soccer.”

    Ah, the ubiquitous anti American card! When all else fails pull it out.

    See the post above about Berhalter. I doubt that Europeans think Americans can’t coach soccer. It’s more like there are not a lot of suitable American coaches.

    Managers in the top leagues in Europe get about ten minutes to be successful right away. If they are not then they get fired instantly. So very few clubs will allow any nationality a learning curve.

    A big part of being a successful manager over there is all the off field stuff,the connections in the evaluation and acquisition of players, the hiring of staff, the understanding of how their particular league functions, the understanding of the fan base and what it takes to win in the league. It would be a very different system from what the best American coaches are familiar with, never mind the difficulty of adapting to any new job in a foreign culture.

    Many of you take great delight in pointing out how foreigners often fail in MLS, no wonder considering how unique a soccer league MLS is and how many of the foreign coaches have no familiarity with our system.

    Why would the reverse not be true?

    The best American managers are in MLS and have little if any experience with running a Euro club. Even Bradley and Arena have no such experience. And before you get on a high horse about World Cup experience, the European don’t see a lot of similarity between running a national team, which is a part time job, to running a club full time.

    Berhalter got the job because he played a very long time in Europe and was very acclimated. My guess for the next American managers would not be any MLS guys but rather guys like Dolo, Friedel, Boca, Goodson, Gooch, maybe even McBride.

    • Correction:

      Stir Crazy, Ives

      My mistake, Hammarby are in Sweden’s second division. Berhalter apparently could not get them promoted.

  2. Bob Bradley, the first to manage in the European top flight, but there were others before he and Berhalter

    Brent Goulet was manager of Wuppertaler SV from ’04-’08 Regionalliga Sud before it was reorganized into the 3. Bundesliga, so he would of been the first American to coach a European team to my knowledge and probably the longest tenured.

    Joe Enochs managed VfL Osnabruck in 2011 in their last season in the 2. Bundesliga, so it could be argued he managed at the highest possible for an American yet, including Bob at Stabaek .

    Finally, since 2011, David Wagner has coached the Borussia Dortmund II team in the 3. Liga, which could also be argued to be a bigger achievement in management over Bob’s appointment considering the status of the institution.

    • The quote was:“According to reports out of Norway, Bradley looks set to take the Stabaek job, which would make him the first American to manage in a European first division league”.

      The teams you cited were not first division.

      Gregg Berhalter’s 2011-12 team was first division and Sweden’s league is rated higher than Norway’s.

      • “Bob Bradley, the first to manage in the European top flight, but there were others before he and Berhalter”

  3. Bradley had his success in Egypt despite having players who had no league to play in. Sure, some played in other countries but only 7 of the last 25 players on the squad played for a club outside Egypt. Lack of game sharpness and fitness as well as some toughness was badly exposed in the first Ghana game but that probably had something to do with the players not being in competitive games on a routine basis.

    I do not know anything about the quality of players at Stabaek, but I suspect Bradley will get them organized to take best advantage of their talents. That has less to do with any idea about beautiful soccer, and more about the ability to recognize what he has to work with and how to deploy those players most effectively. Hopefully, he will be able to bring in some talent in January that can complement what he finds already in place to push things along.

    His job is about being able to identify tactics that fit the players he has and signing new players who both improve the present competitiveness of the team and fit with the medium and long term vision he and the owners have for the club.

    Good Luck Bob.

  4. Congratulations, BB. Best wishes for success as you blaze the path and open doors for more American coaches to show the world that we too have some concept and ideas about the beautiful game. Good luck, sir.

  5. Bradley’s earned the chance. He’s just done extraordinarily well given Egypt’s circumstances. I’m not just referring to the fact that the domestic league was shut down. Even without the turmoil, whoever followed Hassan Shehata was going to inherit a team badly in need of change, because Shehata kept Egypt’s starting lineup virtually unchanged for a decade. Bradley inherited a team where almost every player was either inexperienced at international level or on the wrong side of 35, and only missed out on the World Cup because of a playoff.

  6. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. Finally, a U.S. coach managing in a European first division! That took long enough. Sure, I would have hoped for a better, more universally visible opportunity for BB, but taking over a recently promoted Belgian team might be perfect. I hope he excels, and qualifies for the Europa League.

    • Nobody ever got fired for hiring a European to coach a soccer team. If you hire an American and he fails then you are an idiot for hiring somebody that comes from a land that does not know soccer, if you hire a European that fails then it is just one of those things that can happen to anybody.

  7. Smart move. Obviously, there are the Bradley haters who will never go away. But glad to see him making decisions on his own terms. Egypt lost to a superior Ghana team but Bradley still did an admirable job in an almost impossible situation. Bradley sees the long-term picture. This will get his foot in the door in Europe and new challenges. Hope he does well.

  8. Any US internationals likely to move with him? I don’t see Gooch making that move, even on loan, for salary concerns, but otherwise it would make sense.

    • I think there are two US eligible players there already. Benjamin Erikson and a younger guy whose name escapes me. Not a bad club for us considering they developed Mix.
      By the way, Stabaek are in a pretty nice suburb of Oslo. A great place to live.

    • Molde would not risk it. They expect to challenge for the title. Stabæk was relegated as a result of financial woes related to a silly (and temporary) move to a new arena, but they bounced right back up to the top league. If they have recovered financially, they could surprise (they actually won the title in 2008), but I think it’s a good fit for BB because expectations won’t be crazy.

  9. adam, that is the most ridiculous comment. why such a hater? i’m sure you were his biggest fan when we were doing well at the WC. BB is a great coach. He has proved it every level and there is no reason to think he won’t prove it here. it’s a bummer a bigger league didn’t give him a chance but they will…guaranteed…

    • on the contrary, why all the love for BB? did we ever dominate qualifying under his leadership? did we ever look to impose any sort of tactics that our opponents needed to adjust to (and no, i don’t consider ‘counter attack’ a strategy)…we squeaked through games and hoped for 1-0 wins…and while you brought up the WC, how about his decision to start rico clark vs ghana?

      and what was his record in mls? .500 ?

      • Counter attack is a strategy. If you don’t think so, you don’t really know much about soccer.

        We did finish first in qualifying under Bob. I don’t know what you consider to constitute “dominate”.

        His MLS record is well over .500 (I guess you were too lazy to look it up). He won the double with an expansion team. He never missed the playoffs, not even with Chivas.

        You dislike him with a complete disregard for the facts. You fit the definition of the (otherwise overused) word “hater”.

      • To add to your point, if the counter isn’t a valid strategy then Jose Mourinho is as unfit to be a manager as Bob Bradley.

    • Every level of what exactly? I like Bob. I think he’s a quality guy and a decent coach.

      But in the grand scheme of world soccer–Bob Bradley hasn’t done jack. He hasn’t ever coached a team that didn’t have a league salary cap. Think about that.

      • Well, he’s coached two National teams and done pretty well with them. No salary caps there.

      • A salary cap minimizes difficulty so substantially that management can barely considered comparable.

        It’s why half of the coaches in the EPL are lauded for simply not being relegated.

      • You’re only making yourself look foolish.

        A salary cap creates forced parity. That’s the point. It makes the average coaching job easier in terms of on-field production.


        So difficulty in coaching is diminished. This isn’t a debatable subject. If all teams have set Y dollars to allocate to X number of players, the baseline production for each team will be on average Z assuming fair allocation of money. Add in coaching and minor personnel changes like a DP slot and you introduce a bit more chaos.

        But frankly every team of field players in MLS stripped of its DPs is about on par with every other team in MLS before anything additional.

        That’s why LA Galaxy loses to everyone when they don’t have Keane. It’s a league where teams are so evenly matched that a single higher class player makes a difference.

        That was the point of the DP slot–to introduced chaos into the capped environment.

        It’s literally how the league works to maintaing viewership and excitement.

      • This is gonna be a long one …

        How does making the playing field even decrease coaching requirements? You state this numerous times without providing any in depth logic to back it up. “Forced Parity” merely changes the rules by which coaches must compete. Now, not only do they need to put together the best team possible (this is a requirement of any coach in any league) but also have to do so with further scrutiny. Making key draft decisions and HGP decisions which allow some players to be “off contract”. And with the remaining cap space find talent for the greatest value.

        One could say no salary cap actually makes it easier for some coaches will making harder on most. It allows the richest clubs to land the best players, making it easier for coaches at the biggest/richest clubs to acquire who they please.

        If it really is just “forced parity” how come some teams (who all play under the same rules … to most extents, since MLS transperency is, well, lacking) from small markets have proven the most consistent. If anything RSL, HOU and so on success and the most recent RSL vs KC final is a testament to the “forced parity” you deride. Instead of forced parity, why don’t you call it equal opportunity? True competition begins with equal opportunity. One way to provide equal opportunity is to place a hard cap on salaries that, you are correct penalizes a few rich teams and rewards the remaining teams create a more level playing field. I believe this is a very key staple to a stable and consistently growing MLS. If you have other structural ideas that insure this in place of the salary cap I would be very happy to hear them.

        While specific elements of the current MLS parity rules could be considered over burdensome (player claims for overseas players, holding the rights of players that leave overseas, re-entry drafts …).The LAST thing I ever want is to see the salary cap removed w/o viable alternative put in place. I don’t want the US soccer league to be a carbon copy of all those around the world where the same 2 – 5 teams win the league year in and year out while 15 fight for the other scraps, a cup, at best a CCL spot …

        So to summarize, I think there are many reasons why American coaches have not been given a shot in foreign leagues. The salary cap is NOT one of them.

      • I’m sorry, but I come away from your comment thinking you haven’t quite thought this through.

        Forced parity compresses the league from the bottom AND the top. That means that it only makes a coach’s job easier if the job is to avoid being really bad – like, the equivalent of relegation-worthy bad in England. But if the job is (as I believe most people would agree it is) to excel, then forced parity only makes things tougher.

        Bob has won a championship in a league with constraints that don’t exist elsewhere. I don’t know what that means in “the grand scheme of world soccer”, but it’s certainly not in and of itself less impressive than winning in a non-salary cap league.

      • Before the 2010 World Cup I was watching Sky Sports on FSC and they had Roy Hodgson, before he was England’s manager, talking about the WC and England’s group. He said that they could count on the US defense being well organized. He gave the impression that he thought the US was well coached. Seeing as how Hodgson has a pretty good resume himself, I think his opinion would count for more than yours.

  10. Excuse my ignorance here but do you all think a prerequisite was being able to speak Norwegian? How’s that usually work w/ foreign coaches??

  11. at last, BB will finally be exposed for his lack of any sort of tactical or technical awareness now that he’s in a legitimate soccer continent…

      • Actually, his comment is even less intelligent than that. As it’s laid out here, his arguments proposes that the *professional* teams of a given continent should be judged based on the performance of its *national* teams in World Cups. Thus: a Peruvian Primera División team should be expected to demonstrate good tactics because it shares land mass with Brazil and Argentina.

        By similar logic, the New England Revolution are a powerhouse because, duh, same city as the Patriots.

      • To be fair, I don’t think that Adam was equating national teams with clubs. BB coached a national team in Africa (i.e., not a club) and Adam’s point is that African national teams are not known for their tactical acumen or WC success. Time will tell how BB fares in Norway – it’s not a very strong league (at least by European standards) and his team just got promoted – but at least heat, desert sand and riots will not be much of an issue.

      • Two parts to this comment…

        Think his comment was sarcasm, and no–African soccer is pretty terrible. It’s why they win all kinds of youth tournaments when they have athletic advantages, but get crushed at the senior levels.

    • Ha! Well played.

      Great chance for him to get a feel for how things run over there without having a massive spotlight pointed at him. Hope he does well and moves on to bigger and better in the future.

    • Question is what kind of support will the owners be able to give? This team was playing in a brand new stadium and won a title a few years ago, then poof! Couldn’t afford the rent and were back to a crap stadium, sold their best players and their young players , then relegated.

  12. While I would think some struggling Championship side should have been willing to give him a shot, I’m happy about this. He will do well, and the experience and knowledge of the Norwegian league will only help him when he makes the jump to the championship.

    • give him a shot? This is professional sports, not a youth house league. You dont hire a manager just for the sake of giving him a shot. You hire who you think gives you the best chance to be successful.

      • Give him a shot meaning having the balls to go against the prevailing prejudice in Europe that an American can’t coach soccer. Forget that he has successfully coached two national teams (only lost one match with Egypt in WC qualifying), won the MLS cup, has character beyond reproach. I guess this Princeton educated guy isnt sharp enough to grasp the tactics used in the championship by grammar school grads too stupid to do anything beyond soccer.

      • Pretty funny and unfortunately true. Because of the youth system,. an awful lot of European soccer players don’t get education beyond their 16th year and they aren’t always the sharpest tools in the shed.

      • ” I guess this Princeton educated guy isnt sharp enough to grasp the tactics used in the championship by grammar school grads too stupid to do anything beyond soccer.”


      • Are you aware of the complete morons and idiots that have been given shots in the second league in England?

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