I would like to take this moment to issue a public apology to Bob Bradley.
Back when I was watching the NY/NJ Metrostars coached by the aforementioned coach, I was one of those fans who laughed hysterically at the stats when I saw he had awarded the teams most starts to his 17-year-old son, Michael.
I, to be blunt, reamed him, from ear hole to ear hole, in every conceivable way. And when I heard that he was the new team USA coach, I had visions of epic failure.
Whoops. Fast-forward to today, and here I am talking about Michael Bradley being the next American wonderkid.
But he earned it.
Sold to Heerenveen by MLS for a non-disclosed fee, the then 18-year-old learned Dutch very quickly, and featured almost immediately in the first team, including Heerenveen's UEFA Cup-clinching 5-0 victory against Twente Enschede.
All along, Bradley was overshadowed by Danny Szetela, Eddie Gavin, Jozy Altidore, and Freddy Adu.
Now, a year and a half later, the man can't be stopped. His total for the year has risen to 16 goals in 30 starts. That's a little more than 0.5 goals a game, which for a attacking mid with defensive responsibilities, is pretty darn good.
This has not gone unnoticed in Europe with Everton, and Blackburn hot on his trail.
Since the Alfonso Alves sale to Middlesbourgh for 11.5M pounds, attention is only rising, especially with his contract set to expire in 15 months.
Bradley has made it very clear to Manager Gertjan Verbeek that he has no intention of staying past the expiration date, leading to a first for American soccer: a potential 30M USD transfer fee, as soon as July.
If all goes well, the US could field its best team ever for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, with depth all over the park, a good balance of youth and age, and the always solid goalkeeping.
I can't wait.