What to Expect out of US Soccer With a New Manager
Yesterday, it was announced by US Soccer President Sunil Gulati that Bob Bradley has been relieved of his duties as manager of the United States after a five-year run.
During Bradley's tenure, the Americans did have some unprecedented success such as making the 2009 Confederations Cup final, finishing first in the CONCACAF hexagonal during World Cup qualifying and finishing first in their group in the 2010 World Cup.
However, Bradley's dismissal will now lead to a new American manager, most likely German Jurgen Klinsmann. If Klinsmann were to be appointed, he would be the first non-American to coach the United States since Bora Milutinović did so in 1995.
Now that there will be a new man in charge, here are 10 areas that US Soccer will improve on with a new manager.
Honorable Mention: The New Manager Will Be Better Dressed
Throughout Bob Bradley's reign, he was always known for wearing sweatsuits on the sideline. Bradley said that he did this primarily because Nike was a huge sponsor of the national team.
However, the new manager will most likely at least sport a suit on the sideline, similar to many of the top managers throughout the world.
No. 1: Better Preparation
How often have we seen an opposing team get off to a strong start against the United States? Under Bob Bradley, we have seen an image like this one happen too many times.
In every competition that the US was in under Bradley, there were always an early goal given up, putting the Americans into an unnecessary hole to get out of from the beginning of the match.
Without a doubt, the person most at fault from this was Bradley's failure to emphasize how important all 90 minutes of a match are, not just the the ending of matches (which the US usually played their best soccer).
Bradley's successor will certainly look at this as one of the most important tasks he will have when it comes to mentally preparing his team for matches.
No. 2: More International Players Will Want to Play for the United States
Under Bob Bradley, we saw players such as Timothy Chandler and Jermaine Jones choose to play for the United States.
Of course, there are the cases of some notable talent in Giuseppe Rossi and Neven Subotic deciding to leave the US to play for European nations in the 2010 World Cup.
In the coming years, US soccer will have some players such as Conor Doyle and the before-mentioned Chandler that they will be trying to fully commit to join the Americans.
By having a new manager with a big name, we will see these players and others decide to play for the Untied States over European and Spanish nations.
No. 3: We Will No Longer See the Americans Sit Back and Absorb Pressure
Another constant feature that was seen by the United States under Bradley was that whenever the Americans held a lead of some sort, they would sit back and defend.
This tactic hurt the United States and prevented them from fully achieving their goals in their many games.
Now one might say that this might be the best tactic when you are ahead, but for an aging defense like the one that the Americans have, this tactic is one that makes very little sense.
There also is a strong argument that the best defense for a lead is a strong attack, a feature that should be used by the Americans in the future.
No. 4: Player Development Will Be Taken More Seriously
For years now we have seen player development taken more seriously under the leadership of Claudio Reyna, but a new manager would have to look at where the best players can be developed.
According to Jurgen Klinsmann, the best way to get these players is to go into the inner cities and recruit kids from there to play soccer, as he said following the United States elimination in the 2010 World Cup.
No doubt getting more players into the talent pool will definitely help, but also getting more elite athletes to start to play soccer would make the future for US Soccer even brighter.
No. 5: No More Playing Down to Opponents Level
One of the biggest problems of the Bradley administration was weak showings against inferior opponents.
Now this did go on for years, but became fully exposed in this summers Gold Cup, where the Americans were beaten by Panama in the group stage, and put up weak performances against Guadeloupe and Panama (this time in the semifinals).
US Soccer should not have had these problems against inferior opponents, but they never seemed to go away and definitely hurt the American psychologically.
Under a new manager, the Americans should be able to play up to their full potential and not allow these losses again.
No. 6: Less Drama
Don't worry, American fans. Less drama in this slide means no more of these performances that the Americans should not have to perform well in.
This of course refers not only to the Gold Cup, but to games in World Cup qualifying and in major tournaments over the last several years.
By putting as much pressure on the Americans as we saw in these cases, it weakened the Americans for the long run in these tournaments.
This also pertains to American performances to start off matches in these tournaments, a feature that no doubt hurt the Americans from achieving their full potential.
Under a new manager, we should see less pressure situations and better preparation will certainly help out the Americans in these circumstances.
No. 7: Less Questionable Decisions
Bob Bradley's tenure has seen players who do not deserve to be on the national team somehow not only make the roster, but also become full-time starters.
Of course, this includes players such as Chris Wondolowski, Robbie Rogers and everyone's favorite Jonathan Bornstein somehow being on American teams.
There are players that could be selected to play over these players, but Bradley clearly played favorites and prevented these players from playing.
Now, we will see a thorough evaluation by the new manager to correctly choose the future players for the US national team, a team that hopefully will not lose any of those three players.
No. 8: We Will See the United States More Prepared During Tournaments
Without question, the United States were not correctly prepared in the last several tournaments to perform to the most of their abilities.
Now Bradley did do a strong job with the Americans in the tournaments that they were in, but they could have been even better if they were able to fully prepare to advance.
Last summer, Jurgen Klinsmann told American viewers exactly what Bradley should have done before the match against Ghana. Bringing down a team is definitely the most important thing that has to be done after a big win, and obviously Bradley did not do that against Ghana.
No. 9: We Got to Overtake Mexico as the Best Nation in CONCACAF
After failing to win the Gold Cup with a 2-0 lead, it became clear that Mexico are the best nation in CONCACAF.
Under Bradley's watch, we saw the Americans get dismantled in the Rose Bowl and we also saw the Americans fail to keep their claim as the best team in CONCACAF.
Going forward, a new manager was certainly needed, especially with a huge friendly against Mexico on Aug. 10 in Philadelphia, a match that many American fans view as a must-win.
A new approach will certainly be taken in this match with a new manager for the United States.
No. 10: This New Manager Will Be Respected in World Football
Finally, the new manager of the United States will have to be a respected member of the international football community. Who better to do this than a certain German who led Die Mannschaft to third place in the 2006 World Cup?
That person obviously is Jurgen Klinsmann, and it certainly is in my opinion (and the opinion of many American soccer fans) that he is the best person to take over the job as American manager.
Hopefully, US Soccer will make the right decision here and hire Jurgen. It is about time that we see a top manager take over the United States national team.