It's been six years since Bob Bradley was dismissed from the U.S. men's national team's head coach job. Yet while the New Jersey native with deep ties to Princeton is now with his fourth team since then, he and many other people in the American soccer community still have scars that haven't healed.
Bradley has said many times that he hasn't wanted to go near the subject in public. But on Friday, he decided it was finally time to tell the truth about how much being fired by his country's national team hurt.
The moment came during his first official press conference as manager of Swansea City, the English Premier League club [albeit based in Wales] that finally gave Bradley a chance to coach on an elite European stage.
Here's a transcript of the conversation that so many people wondered for so long if they'd ever see.
Jurgen Klinsmann gave you a glowing reference. Firstly, what did that mean to you; and secondly, do you think he would be a good fit for another job going over here, as England manager?
That's the trickiest question I’ve been asked so far.
[He paused, offering a smile to the cameras as he measured his words..]
From the day I got fired by the U.S., I have not said one thing publicly about their team, alright? I don't appreciate the way it was done - I think they made a mistake.
I'm glad that Jurgen says some nice things now. When he did commentary on the 2010 World Cup, he was already jockeying for the job.*
So I’ve shut my mouth, and continue to support the team. Because I of course want to see the team do well. Michael’s the captain. So if he has said something in a nice way, I appreciate it. And if at some point he chooses to try to work again outside the U.S., I wish him the best.
[* - Klinsmann was a studio analyst for ESPN in South Africa. After Bradley's U.S. team lost to Ghana in the round of 16, Klinsmann offered some strong criticism of American soccer, including that it didn't know "how to develop players." Bradley was fired just over a year later, and Klinsmann was hired as his replacement.]
Would he be a good fit for England?
Depends on the club.
I mean the England national team.
My honest opinion is this. I think you have some very good coaches in England. And I think there are times that it makes sense to go outside the country for a national team coach. But actually, in England, I think you’ve got to get the right guy from inside. That's my opinion, all right? I think you've got to get someone who absolutely is - it means more to him than anything to take over as the England manager. And to re-establish the identity and do it in a way that all of the people in England are proud of. So I think you need to stay inside your country. That's my opinion.
You can watch video of Bradley's full press conference below. He's asked the above questions beginning at the 16:00 mark.
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