After five years of running the show for the U.S. Mens National Soccer Team, head coach Bob Bradley has been "relieved of his duties." Or fired. Whichever you prefer.
The announcement comes today from the U.S. Soccer Federation after weeks of speculation regarding the status of Bradley's future with Stars and Stripes following an embarrassing friendly-match loss to the World Cup Champion Spanish squad and a less-than-impressive performance by his team at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in June.
During the Gold Cup, Bradley's U.S. team suffered their first group-stage loss in history and failed to win the group as Panama took the top seeding position. While they went on to exact their revenge against Panama in the semifinals, they never exactly looked on form throughout the majority of the tournament.
Those concerns about the quality of 2011 Gold Cup team became much more clear as the U.S. fell to Mexico in the tournament final by a score of 4-2, blowing a two-goal lead in front of more than 90,000 spectators.
The president of the U.S. Soccer Federation sealed Bradley's fate once and for all earlier today:
“We want to thank Bob Bradley for his service and dedication to U.S. Soccer during the past five years,” said Gulati. “During his time as the head coach of our Men’s National Team he led the team to a number of accomplishments, but we felt now was the right time for us to make a change. It is always hard to make these decisions, especially when it involves someone we respect as much as Bob. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Despite the critics of Bradley's style, he did have a successful career with the USMNT, finishing with an overall record of 43-25-12. He also led the men to one Gold Cup Victory, a runner-up finish at the 2009 Confederations Cup and advancement to the knockout stages of the 2010 World Cup.
Whether your feelings toward Bradley are positive or not, it can't be denied that this news signals the end of an era in U.S. Soccer.
Let the debate begin on who should or will take his place.