The Bradley’s: Father & Son

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Michael & Bob Bradley

Photo credit to US Soccer.

Did the two of them dream about something like this? Coaching your son is common when you’re a youngster, eating oranges at halftime, wearing jerseys that flip from one color to another, but it’s not something that’s too common when you’re a teenager. At that time, you’ve moved on to other soccer teams and soccer coaches, but this isn’t the case for Michael Bradley, as this is at the highest level of soccer in the United States.

I’m sure it’s something that both lifts up their relationship, as you share incredible moments together, but it also puts a sharper focus on things, as in you’re coaching your son and the pressure is thus higher for him and you. You can’t show any favoritism. What if he’s put in a tough situation and makes a mistake? Fortunately for Bob Bradley, there’s no worry there, as Michael is quickly becoming one of the best American soccer players there is.

Is there any other national team where the coach’s son is a central figure on the team? Bob Bradley’s son Michael has grown into a key figure on the United States national soccer team. Moreover, the youngster is becoming a star, and his dad, trying to lead the United States team to the World Cup in South Africa will expect his son to help him get there.

The two seem to have found a solid working relationship. Michael Bradley was brought on early, at a young age, but slowly and he wasn’t rushed. He wasn’t pushed too soon into the limelight nor did he have to take on the burden of saving the MLS or US Soccer, as Freddy Adu did or was supposed to do in some ways.

Rather, Michael Bradley has come along nicely and somewhat under the radar, plying his trade and establishing himself in Holland before moving on to Germany, where the pressure is now greater. In Holland he gained confidence as well as a solid foundation of sharp technique and style of play to build off of. He was even scoring goals in Holland as a defensive midfielder.

Bob Bradley, the long time assistant coach to Bruce Arena, was at one time just the interim coach for the United States team, but quickly earned the right to run the team after a string of wins and strong performances. The former Princeton coach appears methodical and passionate, intense but rational. He too likes to stay under the radar. He’s no Mourinho let’s say, but wants to win just as badly.

Michael Bradley became a highly sought after target by clubs like Everton in England but it was a German club who ended up signing up and it wasn’t very long before he scored his first goal there. I’m looking forward to seeing him face Landon Donovan in the coming months.

Really, the tale of the two Bradley’s is just beginning. The United States will face Mexico in the next stage of qualifying for the World Cup in Columbus. There’s plenty to play for. It must be a good time for coach and son.

Update: AS Roma midfielder Michael Bradley talks to MLS Insider about growing up while his Dad was coaching DC United and the Chicago Fire, and how that experience shaped his growth into the USMNT star he is today.

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