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Quote Sheet: Bob Bradley on Being Named U.S. Men's National Team Head Coach

Bob Bradley was officially named head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team at a press conference on May 16 in New York. Bradley, who has been at the helm of the squad since December on an interim basis, will lead the team to the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup and 2007 Copa America this summer. After being named head coach, Bradley held a conference call with members of the media.

U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach Bob Bradley:
Bob Bradley: “Thank you, Sunil. I’ve very, very honored. I’m proud, I’m excited to become the U.S. national team coach. The work the past six months, I think, has gone very well. In actuality, throughout that period of time the focus has been on doing the right thing for the National Team, doing what makes sense for the moment, doing what makes sense for the future, knowing that that’s the only way to work. The National Team is special. It’s an honor for players. We’ve tried in every camp to make the point that one should never expect to be in the camp. There’s no sense of entitlement. It’s something that is certainly earned. As coach of the National Team, the decisions you make must be along the same lines. Again, I feel like we’ve been able throughout this period to establish a good way of doing things. I have always considered it an honor. My discussions with Sunil at the beginning outlined a clear timeframe where there were people who he had spoken to throughout the process that needed to be final discussions with those people I understood that and I was able to focus on doing what I believed was best for the national team and I’m excited to be able to continue with that work.”

On whether he feels any European-based players will be at the Copa America as opposed to the CONCACAF Gold Cup despite interfering with their club’s preseason training:
BB: “We are in the process of finalizing the Gold Cup roster. With that, we will also have a pretty good idea of what the Copa roster would look like. Our hope is to have a handful of players play in both events. That would include some MLS-based players and that would also include some European-based players. So, we are hopeful that the discussions that have taken place in the past month have paved the way for us to put two very, very good rosters together for both events this summer.”

On how many younger players will be at this summer’s competitions:
BB: “Throughout the games this year we’ve tried very hard to introduce young players to the national team, we’ve tried to bring back some like Jonathan Spector who had played a little bit under Bruce (Arena). I think that we can continue with that way of doing things. I feel like we’ll see a good number of those young players in one event or the other.”

On whether he feels he has the full support of U.S. Soccer, given the ‘interim’ tag:
BB: “Absolutely. Again, I said earlier that I understood the process really well. I don’t think that (the ‘interim’ title) interfered at all with the work that we did in the first months of this year. I feel that it allows us, going forward, to continue in the same direction.”

On what would be a satisfactory performance at the Copa America:
BB: “We know that we’re in a top group and we would want to start by advancing out of that group. We all know that the greatest success that the U.S. had at the Copa America was in 1995 and that was spearheaded by a great 3-0 victory against Argentina. So, the opportunity to play those kind of games is very special. I think our players understand that. In any event, and we all know this is true right on to the World Cup, the starting point is advancing out of the first round so that you have a chance going forward.”

On what he gauged his chances of getting the job full time:
BB: “As a coach you learn very quickly that you don’t know what’s around the next bend and you must focus on the areas that you can control. I believe my experience has enabled me to follow through on that idea. The ability always on the job at hand, make decisions that are good for the moment, make decisions that are good for the long run, establish a foundation for how to work within the team, all those things, things are all things that I have done in the past and it was very, very easy to step into the National Team and, with the help of Peter Nowak and Mike Sorber, to make sure that we were doing things that we believed it maked sense. I had the confidence that that work would speak for itself. I certainly understood that there were discussions with coaches who have been very, very successful and none of us were going to focus on anything but the work that we were part of.”

On whether he is looking to keep Mike Sorber around and what he has liked about him:
BB: “Mike’s been a great addition to the staff. He played with Peter. I coached him in Chicago. He understands both of us very well. He has great experience. He has a way of providing balance to the staff, a clear honest way of expressing himself, either in discussions internally or with players. We certainly hope to find ways to keep him around in the future.”

On the time-table for the next couple weeks:
BB: “We hope to finalize the Gold Cup roster in the early part of next week. We also need, in that time period, to have a roster that will work for the China game. I think the players come in to The Home Depot Center on May 27. We understand that once we start that camp, it’s going to be a fast, exciting schedule that takes us through Copa America.”

On his impression of the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team game against Argentina on May 15:
BB: “It was a good game. The U.S. created more chances and better chances than Argentina, and in that respect it was disappointing to lose and I know that Thomas (Rongen) felt strongly that the U.S. should have gotten a better result. I’d say the best chances of the game came to Jozy Altidore who physically caused trouble for Argentina, but I think he would be disappointed that he didn’t take advantage of some of the chances that came his way. I think it was a game that showed that we’re capable of playing with very good teams, but also indicated areas that we’ll need to continue to improve.”

On whether there are any players on the U-20 team that will help him in the next couple of years:
BB: “I do believe that there are players on that team who can help, but one of the things I believe very strongly in is not putting the spotlight on guys too early and making sure they develop at the proper speed and get their opportunity when they can take advantage of it. The fact that this group of players will compete in the Under-20 World Cup this summer, knowing the job that Thomas has done and will continue to do to prepare them, and combine that with the development that those players get with their club teams, hopefully we’ll get some players that will be ready to step into the full team within one or two years.”

On what he has heard about Marcus Hannemann’s injury:
BB: “Prior to the injury Marcus and I spoke on the phone, and after a long season for him we both agreed at that point that he would not be part of the roster for either the Gold Cup or Copa America. I ensured him that he is still very much on the radar screen, and that when he gets back next year, we’ll continue to look to him as a possible choice. It was a very good conversation, and I have tremendous respect for the year he had and the year Reading had. In a lot of ways it makes sense for him to have a little bit of a break and he expressed his continued desire to be a part of the team and we will continue to watch him closely.”

On rebuilding the team after the retirement of some iconic players:
BB: “We have talked a lot about the importance at the beginning of this cycle of brining new players into the national team and of challenging players that have been a part of the team in the past to take bigger roles. We’re pleased with the way that’s gone early this year and we’ll continue to think in those terms. Without a doubt, some of the players like Claudio Reyna, Eddie Pope and Brian McBride have set the bar high. There have been great successes with those players during Bruce (Arena)’s tenure as coach and we understand that the challenge for all of us is to continue to be successful, and that’s what it’s all about.”

On integrating the youth national teams and development into the program:
BB: “My philosophy is very simple: we are all working together. I have known Thomas Rongen and John Hackworth a long time. The idea that we communicate and work together at times, that we establish a vision of what’s expected in our national team programs, starting with the U-17s is very important so that our players realize what we think is important. I feel that we have already accomplished a great deal and I look forward to continuing to work with those guys.”

On the goalkeeping situation:
BB: “It is unlikely that Tim Howard will play in both competitions. Kasey is back training this week, I saw him when I was in Europe. As always he has worked hard to rehab and is excited about the events this summer. We also expect that we’ll look at a couple of goalkeepers from MLS. I think it’s an opportunity to both use goalkeepers that have been there in the past, and also include some others that we haven’t seen as much of. I think we’d all agree that Tim’s had an excellent season in Everton and it’s been apparent in both camps that his maturity, his presence, his experience will be important to us moving forward. I’ve been very pleased with the mentality that he’s brought in to camps as well as with his play.”

On his discussions with club coaches about the summer’s upcoming tournaments:
BB: “We’ve had good discussions with the league and in some cases I’ve talked to different coaches in MLS. In other cases, because of travel schedules I have not yet had a chance to speak with some coaches, but we did send out preliminary releases so that coaches are aware of some of the possibilities and we’re now working to finalize those in the next couple of days.”