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Bob Bradley is equipped to make his

English Premier League chance count


Martin Rogers , USA TODAY Sports 1:25 a.m. EDT October 4, 2016

(Photo: Caharly Triballeau, AFP/Getty Images)


On Monday morning, former United States national team soccer coach Bob Bradley achieved
something that had never happened before.
He landed a job in the English Premier League, the first American to do so. Indeed, he's the
first to take charge of any team among European soccers biggest leagues.
And now the hard part begins.
Bradleys appointment to the top job at Swansea City was both groundbreaking and deserved
for a man who applies relentless preparation and meticulous planning to his craft, and who
has never feared to tread upon new pastures.
The result of years of toil is that his time in the spotlight has arrived. But he will need no
reminding that such opportunity can be as brief as it is scarce.
Aside from the outlier Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal boss who just entered his third decade in
charge, the longest tenured EPL coach has been in place for less than four years. The average
reign is one year and nine days.

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Former USMNT coach Bob Bradley hired by Swansea

The huge rewards club owners enjoy by being part of Englands top division and the drastic
fiscal penalty that befalls the bottom three teams demoted each season means patience is
thin.
Little time to get things right for Bradley, then.
Now 58 and five years removed from being ousted from the U.S. job, perhaps unfairly given
subsequent developments, Bradley is a thinking man who has never lost his hunger for
education and knowledge, a formula that turned into a global expedition. This is the reward.
Following the U.S. job, Bradley ventured to Egypt, and narrowly failed to take that country to
the World Cup amid a time of great turmoil, both within soccer and Egyptian society.
His next move was to Stabaek, a Norwegian club recovering from a financial crisis, where he
clinched a surprise spot in the Europa League. Late last year came a switch to Le Havre on
the northern coast of France, where Bradley just missed on promotion to Frances top
division. The Swansea job is a short hop across the Channel, but a huge step up in terms of
attention. The EPL is an international monolith and the scrutiny can be claustrophobic for the
uninitiated.
Dont expect him to be cowed, however. Bradley has an unflappable demeanor that masks an
intense desire to succeed, one that has only grown with the success enjoyed on his travels.
He was hurt by his departure from the U.S. job, but there is no doubt that it fueled him.
Hindsight suggests Bradleys time in charge of the U.S. should be remembered more fondly
than it is. He won the Gold Cup against Mexico in 2007 and reached the final of the
Confederations Cup in 2009, beating an all-conquering Spain team in the process. He took
the side to the last 16 of the World Cup in 2010 after topping its group for the first time, all
while earning a fraction of the amount raked in by Jurgen Klinsmann, his replacement.
Klinsmann failed to reach the next Confederations Cup, got to the same point in the World
Cup, and has seen Mexico firmly establish itself as the dominant team in the region.

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Bradley is ready for his EPL chance, that much is clear. The EPL is a tough world and the
honeymoon period for new bosses is often over before the end of the wedding.
Bradleys appointment should not be seen as a precursor to an influx of American coaches
into English or top-level European soccer. Unfortunately, most EPL clubs are still not
enlightened, or courageous enough, to step beyond their usual bounds of comfort. It
is unlikely Bradley would have gotten the call without Swansea having an American
ownership group.
Swansea sits in 17th place in the 20-team EPL and claimed just four points from its first
seven games, enough to see former coach Francesco Guidolin let go.
Bradley will inherit a difficult situation. Newcomers to the EPL rarely get an opportunity to
smoothly take over a scenario that is progressing well.
But Bradley has arrived, an American now situated as one of 20 men to hold a head coaching
job in the most-watched and acclaimed league on the planet.
Though that is a worthy achievement in itself, Bradley has traveled too far, and waited too
long, to be satisfied with that alone.