NEW YORK – US manager Bob Bradley on Tuesday said the timing of his reappointment to the post at the helm of the national team had no connection whatsoever to Aston Villa going another direction in their managerial search.
Bradley's signing on with US Soccer for another four years came less than 24 hours after the English Premier League club revealed for the first time that they were seeking a coach with EPL experience. It was a statement that categorically ruled out Bradley from the job.
“That would actually be wrong,” Bradley said in response to whether the timing of the two events was related.
At one point, Bradley was even the bookmakers’ favorite in England to be the next boss of the Villans.
Bradley’s interest in taking over the Birmingham club was very public. It was flashed as “Breaking News” on Sky Sports News and he was on BBC Radio talking about his desire to coach in England.
However, the media campaign did not help convince Aston Villa. For the first time on Sunday, they stated that their next manager would be EPL-tried and tested. Bradley does not necessarily agree with their definition of experience.
“It is understandable given the way that top clubs in Europe operate that they look for that type of experience,” Bradley said. “But I do think that coaching in big tournaments like Confederations Cup and the World Cup is also an indication of experience.”[inline_node:317297]
Bradley confirmed on Tuesday that despite all the rumors and reports linking him to Fulham and Aston Villa, there were never any real negotiations.
“People would ask me whether there is interest,” Bradley said. “I would say yes, there is. But I would also say very, very definitively that I didn’t have discussions with either club.”
But the former MLS coach also acknowledged he had preliminary conversations with clubs from other leagues as well as some foreign national teams.
He attributes the Confederations Cup and the World Cup with getting him on the map and the arrival of big names to MLS only helps. However, there are still hurdles to overcome.
“Whether it’s American players or American coaches, as much as we continue to grow and as much as people see the work and kind of payers we have, it’s still a challenge for all of us,” he said. “That’s just the way it is.
“Until somebody does get an opportunity, that first one is probably the most difficult one to get.”
Bradley pointed out how a club like Arsenal took a chance on Arsène Wenger when the Frenchman moved to the Gunners from Japan and he feels it could happen for an American coach. His window is not closed. In fact, on more than one occasion on Tuesday, Bradley reiterated that his feeling out of Europe in the last few months was not only about current jobs, but future ones as well.
“On my end, it was simply assessing different opportunities and trying to have a feel for what might be possible going forward whether that is now or later,” he said.
So although he says that his vision for the USMNT is a four-year plan, count on his name being part of international coaching rumors in the not-too-distant future. And if anything every materialized, it would be tough to see US Soccer president Sunil Gulati or anyone else standing in his way.