Who is new Swansea boss Bob Bradley?

3 Oct

Ben Bradley

In April, Bradley said he felt he was as good a manager as Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola

When Americans Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan became majority shareholders at Swansea City they vowed to do things the “Swansea way”.

The sacking of Francesco Guidolin on his 61st birthday and the appointment of Bob Bradley show that may not totally be the case.

Bradley’s long and mostly successful career in management has mirrored the game’s development in the United States, over nigh on four decades.

Indeed the 58-year-old’s only forays outside the States have been his most recent and have proved mainly successful.

His two years in charge of the Egypt national side were played out against a background of violent civil unrest in the North African country.

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Despite civil unrest in the country, Bradley took Egypt to one game away from the 2014 World Cup

Bradley’s arrival to live in Cairo in October 2011, with his wife Lindsay, coincided with the Egyptian Revolution and the American was praised for choosing to remain in the country when a match erupted into violence leading to the Port Said Stadium riot which killed 70 people in February 2012.

Despite the Egyptian Premier League being suspended as a result, Bradley took the national side to within one match of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. The Pharaohs eventually lost to Ghana in a play-off.

After departing Egypt, Bradley headed north. In January 2014 he took over at Norwegian outfit Stabaek, becoming the first American to manage a club in a European top division and then was the first to guide a club to the Europa League.

Then it was to the club from whom he joins Swansea, France’s oldest, Le Havre, where it seemed, again, history beckoned. Last season, under Bradley, they went as close to promotion to Ligue 1 as is possible.

They missed out by just one goal scored despite beating Bourg-en-Bresse 5-0 in their final game of the campaign and hitting the woodwork four times.

As he arrives in Swansea, supporters will be hoping their new manager’s luck has at least improved since then.

But despite his recent foreign excursions, Bradley’s career has mainly been stepped in Americana.

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Bob Bradley and his oldest son Michael, who is now USA captain, celebrate after beating Algeria at the 2010 World Cup

He attended Princeton University and was top scorer for the Princeton Tigers whilst completing his degree in history. But despite his exploits on the pitch it was in coaching and management young Bradley’s future lay.

He took his first head coaching job aged just 22, at Ohio University whilst studying for an MA in Sports Administration at the same time.

Bradley then rose through the US college system, eventually taking the head coach job at his alma mater, Princeton, leading the Tigers to two Ivy League titles.

As the MLS expanded, so Bradley’s coaching career took off.

Starting as assistant at DC United, he eventually became manager at Chicago Fire, the MetroStars, who have since transformed into the New York Red Bulls, and Chivas USA, who are now defunct.

There were plenty of accolades for Bradley along the way, including twice being named MLS Coach of the Year.

But it is an incident during his time in charge of the MetroStars that illustrates Bradley’s quick-thinking.

In a game against DC United, Bradley exploited a rule that allowed for a fourth substitution in a match as long as it was a goalkeeper.

He switched shot-stopper Tim Howard to an outfield position, brought on midfielder Eddie Gaven between the posts and then swapped the two 10 seconds after the restart. Gaven went on to score the winning goal.

Bradley took over as USA boss in 2006 and led them to a Gold Cup win the following year and a runners-up spot in the Confederations Cup in 2009.

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Bob Bradley led the US to the knockout stages at the 2010 World Cup

But it was in South Africa at the Fifa World Cup in 2010 that Bradley made his name outside of his homeland, guiding them to the knockout stages where they eventually lost out to Ghana.

However, after a series of poor results, he was sacked as national coach in July 2011.

So it has been a long, glamorous and at times troubled road to Swansea for Bradley.

But one thing about him Swansea supporters might notice is a distinct lack of modesty.

Back in April, Bradley said he felt he was as good a manager as Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola.

“When I have a chance to observe different managers, the ones that do good work,” Bradley said.

“I mention Pochettino, Klopp, Tuchel. We haven’t even spoken about the Guardiolas and Ancelottis.

“But I’ll tell you what, maybe I’m stupid, but I think I’m a manger in and around that level.”

Bradley is about to get his chance to prove that in the Premier League and Swans supporters will be hoping that all-American confidence is not misplaced.

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