Bob Bradley reflects on World Cup, U.S. future
It was a melancholy Sunday morning at Irene Farm, the U.S. team's home for the past month and the U.S. media's temporary work quarters. We'll miss the cows, chickens, roosters, sausage rolls, exotic pate, super-fresh milk, picnicking families, patio cafe, abundant sunshine, long winter shadows and soft breezes carrying the scent of, well, a farm.
The American players have begun going their separate ways. Some are flying out today, most on Monday. Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle will return to the Los Angeles Galaxy, Robbie Findley to Real Salt Lake and Jonathan Bornstein to Chivas USA. How soon they will return to MLS play is unclear, but next weekend seems plausible.
The European- and Mexican-based players will enjoy vacation before rejoining their clubs for preseason training. The next time the American lads get together: Aug. 10 vs. Brazil at the new Meadowlands stadium in New Jersey. Although it's an international fixture date, the impending Euro seasons will impact squad selection.
Said USA Coach Bob Bradley: "When one game ends, you start thinking about the next one. You start thinking about that game, is it a fixture date, how does it fall into the calendar of different clubs. So a lot of those thoughts have already been running through my head."
Which brings us to the big question: Will Bradley continue as national team coach?
For more on his status and Bradley's thoughts upon the Americans' elimination.....
Bradley's contract expires Dec. 31. Have talks commenced with USSF President Sunil Gulati about his future?
"At this moment, there have been no conversations. There is always a process with any situation where both sides probably need time, and we go from there. I have always enjoyed new challenges, but I also, from Day 1, have said and considered it a tremendous honor to coach the national team. ... It's too soon after the final whistle. I'm sure in the future there will be more discussions."
Gulati is in Cape Town for non-U.S. meetings today and is tentatively planning to meet with reporters in Johannesburg on Monday to assess the national team and Bradley's status.
Would he consider pursuing a European job?
"I have always enjoyed new challenges. I encourage, whether it's players or my children or kids [who he coached] in college, I believe that is what life is all about. I have enjoyed the opportunities along the way, the different challenges, and so as I move forward, there will always be an open mind in that regard."
On the need to develop goal-scoring forwards: "It's especially important up front because goals decide matches. That is still the greatest challenge in the game -- to have someone who can consistently score goals. It's an area where we do need to improve. ... Jozy is an example: a young striker who has come through our system, tremendous potential, part of the residency program, moves on in MLS, goes on to Europe. He has covered a lot of steps so far. But that doesn't necessarily mean when we get to a World Cup, it's going to fall right into place. You can see that with the best strikers in the world when they come to World Cups."
On being eliminated in the round of 16: "There's a lot that they can feel very good about and, yet at the same time, there is a pretty empty feeling right now because coming out of the first round, we felt there was a real chance to do something bigger. We responded well in each of the first three games, that we were improving game by game, and the opportunity to take that further was there."
On Oguchi Onyewu, who started the first two matches but sat the next two: "Gooch has worked incredibly hard to be ready for the World Cup. He is a man of great character. When you watch, sometimes tough decisions are made simply based upon the fact of, at this level, even when you have worked hard, if you haven't had games, where is the player? You balance that with the opponent and the needs in that game, and balance that with your other choices. It would be impossible for Gooch to be at 100 percent given the time that he was out and the fact that there's not been that many games since he got back. Nonetheless, he showed that, even when he is less than 100 percent, he is a player who can help our team. The last two games, playing Carlos [Bocanegra] together with Jay [DeMerit] and using Johnny Bornstein on the left made sense."
June 27, 2010; 10:17 AM ET
Categories: 2010 World Cup , U.S. men's national team | Tags: American soccer, World Cup
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