CARSON, Calif – Michael Bradley was disappointed by the short time his father was given to try and turn Swansea City FC around before being fired as manager there after only 11 games.
There's no time for the Toronto FC midfielder and US national team captain to dwell on former USMNT coach Bob Bradley's short stint in the Premier League, though. The younger Bradley began the US national team's January camp on Wednesday, playing a leadership role as new head coach Bruce Arena tries to evaluate some new and familiar talent – and look for ways to get the team back in the running for a spot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Still, Bradley did address his father's short stint at Swansea in response to a question about the quick firing.
“I’m obviously very disappointed for him and the way that things went at Swansea," Michael Bradley said. "Aside from himself, there’s nobody that believes in him and believes in his ability more than me.I know that he’ll use this in terms of even more motivation and be ready to find the next challenge for his career.”
Next steps for Bob Bradley are rumored to be either LAFC or perhaps the Norwegian national neam, but Michael Bradley didn’t have any specific thoughts about where his father might end up. For now, he's concentrating on the national team's situation under Arena, who took over as coach for the second time after Jurgen Klinsmann was fired in November following an 0-2 start to the Hexagonal stage of 2018 World Cup qualifying.
As captain of the national team, Bradley’s responsibilities include making sure players are focused on the importance of the upcoming friendlies. Players are coming into camp with different amounts of offseason rest, and at this point in the qualifying cycle, there can’t be any wasted opportunity in preparing for the next round of qualifiers in two months.
“Bruce has made that very clear,” said Bradley. “Finding the right balance between getting every guy going and into the season the right way, but obviously with the idea that we have two very important games in March.
“Everybody knows the situation, everybody understands the importance. It’s exciting to get going.”
Identifying players capable of contributing right away is a main goal of January camp, and captains play a role in bringing that out of new talent. When asked about who he saw as potential leaders on the squad, Arena reaffirmed Bradley’s importance.
“Obviously the starting points [for leaders] would be Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones," Arena said. "The rest of it will take care of itself. You’re going to see others step up and play a role as well.”