US players believe in their coach Bob
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.