LONDON -- New York Red Bulls center back Tim Ream was given his chance to play for the US national team just months after leaving Saint Louis University when former head coach Bob Bradley featured the young defender in a 1-0 win over South Africa in Cape Town on November 17, 2010.
In fact, Ream earned all six of his US caps under Bradley. On Friday, he paid tribute to the faith show in him by the departing US manager.
“I will echo what a lot of the other guys have said like Charlie Davies and Jay DeMerit over the last 24 hours, who both thanked him, and I would like to thank him too,” Ream told MLSsoccer.com while here in London for the Emirates Cup. “I loved him as a coach. He continued to bring me in and wanted me to develop. I thank him for that.”
Ream’s inclusion into the US squad against South Africa topped off an incredible first campaign in MLS that saw him narrowly miss out on Rookie of the Year honors. His second season has been equally impressive, as the center back earned himself a place in the first eleven for the MLS All-Stars in their match against Manchester United on Wednesday.
“I pinch myself everyday,” Ream said of his blossoming career. “It is something that you always dreamed would happen. But it is not something that I always thought would happen for sure. One minute you're playing Manchester United and then next you are going to play Arsenal. It’s crazy.”
No doubt Ream’s meteoric rise is in part due to his own hard work, but may also be partly down to the chance given to him by Bradley to perform on the international stage. After starting the game against South Africa at center back, Ream was ever present for the US during their early slate of games in 2011.
Ream is certainly grateful for the chance to show what he can do on the biggest stage of all.
“He [Bradley] gave me an opportunity and that is something I will always remember,” Ream said.
As for new manager Jürgen Klinsmann, Ream is desperate to feature in his plans and wants to impress the German coach whenever he gets the chance to.
“Again you start with a clean slate,” Ream said. “Everyone starts with a clean slate. Now it is up to everyone to perform to the best of their abilities to hopefully catch his eye and impress and get in his team.”
You can follow Joe Prince-Wright on Twitter at @JPW8