US play­ers be­lieve in their coach Bob

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

BIG-NAME Euro­pean coaches were con­sid­ered when Bob Bradley be­came coach of the US foot­ball team, but the vet­eran Amer­i­can men­tor made the job his own and melded a squad in his own im­age.

The pay-off for 3½ years of team-build­ing has come at the World Cup, where the Amer­i­can band of broth­ers bounced back from a 2006 first-round exit and have booked a date with Ghana.

Con­fi­dence shown in Bradley when he took the job for six months on an in­terim ba­sis has paid off with a team de­voted to one an­other, bonded as a group with more con­cern about play­ing a role than in­di­vid­ual glory.

“We be­lieve in what Bob does,” US play­maker Lan­don Dono­van said. “It has taken a long time for some of us to wrap our heads around what Bob wanted from us.

“Now we are un­der­stand­ing why Bob put us through a lot of what he has. He was al­ways think­ing about the long term and some of us were only think­ing about the short term.”

Through tour­na­ment af­ter tour­na­ment, in­clud­ing a 2009

Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup fi­nals run, US play­ers were eval­u­ated but also brought to­gether to form a lead­er­ship core.

“The men­tal­ity and fight in these guys is un­be­liev­able,” said striker Jozy Alti­dore. “Some­times, we want it too much. He’s right up there with the best coaches. He has earned a lot of re­spect from a lot of peo­ple.”

But Bradley passes credit back to his play­ers.

“These guys have taken own­er­ship in how we do things. They get the credit.

“You try to find a way ev­ery time you come to­gether of show­ing what it means to be in that team. You have a chance to pre­pare for what it’s go­ing to be like,” he sasid. “You want the ex­pe­ri­ences along the way to mean that, when you get to the World Cup, things are solid.” – Sapa-AFP

US coach Bob Bradley.

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