Sunil Gulati discusses U.S., Bradley, World Cup bid
Sunil Gulati, president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, addressed a wide variety of topics Monday morning.
On the process of assessing Bob Bradley:
"I have known Bob for a very long time, I have a lot of faith in him and I think the world of him at a personal level. We will make the right decision for the sport; it won't be about the personal level. It's not going to be a snap decision. I want to hear his thoughts about how things went. I have some questions and why we did some things collectively -- decisions that he made along the way. I'm sure he is going to want to hear about some of my reactions."
Approaching potential coaching candidates:
"It's not my plan to talk to people until I have had a chance to sit down with Bob. Bob is our coach. He is the coach through the end of the year. This isn't a question about making a change. We have a four-year contract, the end of the contract is the end of the year. The same was true in Bruce [Arena]'s case except Bruce had an opportunity [in MLS], so we needed to make a decision very quickly. I am not saying we are going to wait six months to make a decision. I would never, ever, ever allow that to happen [laughter, referring to the stalled negotiations with Juergen Klinsmann in late 2006]. I want to sit down with Bob. That is the appropriate thing. I want to hear his views, express some of mine and see what makes sense. I think he has done a very good job, that is very clear."
Considering a high-profile foreign coach for marketing and pr purposes:
"Would we capture some interest and be in the news? Sure. But we capture far more interest by having a good team, and that is the critical element. Would it be nice to have someone who is American, had won a World Cup as a coach and as a player, was charismatic, spoke multiple languages? Yes. I don't know of any such person. We're going to make a decision that is best for the program. The ability to enthuse the American public is part of all that, but the primary way to enthuse the American public is by doing well at this point. That is the number one criteria."
On the World Cup performance:
"Mmixed results and very much mixed emotions, and that is almost within individual games and then reflecting on the tournament. The first goal has to be to get through the first round; we did that ... with two minutes to spare. That is a success, and we helped reestablish the position of the team after the last World Cup. On that front, mission accomplished. Where it is clearly not accomplished is, everyone associated with the program feels it was an opportunity missed -- a game we could have won and probably feel we should have won. It was all in front of us. We started dreaming after the first round. Looking at the brackets and you start thinking about what is possible, and unfortunately we think about what could have been."
Did the team meet his expectations?
"No. I think the team is capable of more. I think the players know it. I think Bob knows it. At that level, we are disappointed we didn't get to play another 90 minutes, at least."
On the missed opportunities off the field:
"It is also a missed opportunity to stay in the American public's eyes for another four, five six days, maybe 10 days, when interest is at an all-time high. I have no doubt there will be people still watching at bars at strange times, the TV ratings will still be good, but what the ratings might have been for a quarterfinal game or dreaming beyond that. We clearly caught something in the last few weeks that we haven't seen before. The job is to try to hold on to some part of that."
Optimism about the 2018/22 World Cup bid:
I am feeling good about things, but not taking anything for granted. I understand the sentiment about 2018 being in Europe and we will do what is in our interests at the right time, and if that means focusing on one or the other, we will do that at the right time. I don't see any reason to do that now. We've talked with the appropriate people at FIFA leadership, and they are comfortable with that as well. ... I don't think we are going to know [whether the USA will win the bid] with any certainty until very late in the game."
Fabio Capello's U.S. interest a few years ago:
"The one time I talked to [Capello] about working in the U.S. was with Bob Bradley sitting at my side [in London]. At that time, he said to me that he was looking forward to a different sort of challenge with less pressure. [laughter] Maybe two months before he took the England job. Bob and I met with him to talk about being involved with our program. Not the national team, looking forward after being at Real Madrid and other places. We were talking about different things, working with youth teams. He is an interesting guy with a lot of interests. It was very exploratory."
*Gulati said the USA has no plans to participate in the 2011 Copa America in Argentina.
*Besides the friendly against Brazil on Aug. 10, the Americans will play at least one friendly this fall.
June 28, 2010; 8:12 AM ET
Categories: 2010 World Cup , U.S. men's national team , USSF | Tags: Bob Bradley, Juergen Klinsmann, Sunil Gulati, U.S. soccer, World Cup
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