Former U.S. men’s national team manager Bob Bradley enjoyed a successful finish to his tenure at Le Havre, with the club beating Sochaux on an 81st-minute winner by Jean Pascal Fontaine to take the club into fifth place in Ligue 2, three points off the top spot that is currently held by Reims.
Bradley will be taking on a new challenge now, moving to Swansea City after a historic appointment on Monday, with the 58-year-old becoming the first American to earn a job in any of Europe’s top five domestic leagues. The move comes amid Bradley’s climb, which took him from the U.S. to the Egypt national team, Norwegian club Stabaek and then to France’s Le Havre, and his hire has been received with praise from many of his peers, former players and his past and future bosses. Here’s a selection of what they had to say about Bradley’s move, which will commence with an Oct. 15 match at Arsenal following the international break.
“Bob is extraordinarily intelligent about the game, his work ethics is second to none, and the way he manages teams and deals with people are all outstanding,” U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati told The Associated Press. “You need a number of things to go right to get an opportunity like this (in the Premier League) and to break through if you are not in the regular circle of coaches that are considered for such opportunities.”
Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins added: “He is highly regarded as a coach and has a wealth of experience on the international and domestic front. He is well aware of the club’s footballing philosophy and will provide us with strong leadership qualities and a renewed belief to compete at this level. It is never easy changing managers, but we are looking at a long-term appointment and we are confident Bob can settle us down and stabilize matters on and off the pitch.”
Current U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann, who replaced Bradley in 2011 when he was fired by U.S. Soccer, weighed in as well. During a Facebook Live QA with fans, he responded to a question about Bradley and praised him and his credentials by saying: “I think this is super exciting, because he’s the first American coach coaching in the Premier League, and this is huge. Huge compliment to him, and big congratulations to him and to Swansea City. We keep all our fingers crossed that things go well for him in his new adventure. I think he totally, totally deserves that opportunity.”
U.S. forward Jozy Altidore also offered his thoughts from U.S. camp in Miami, where the Americans are preparing for Friday’s friendly against Cuba.
“I think it’s terrific,” Altidore said. “Anybody that’s been a part of U.S. Soccer for the past 10-20 years … I think you see from the inside how hard everybody has worked, and to have a coach now who I think paid his dues, he’s done well, he’s kind of climbed the ladder so to speak–I think it’s a great moment for U.S. Soccer, it’s a great moment for him and we all hope he does a great job there. “
Some of Bradley’s former players with the U.S. offered their thoughts and well-wishes, too:
Great to see Bob Bradley getting a much deserved chance in England. Great coach. Big for him and American soccer.
— Clarence Goodson (@ClarenceGoodson) October 3, 2016
Wishing Bob Bradley all the best at Swansea City. One of the best coaches I played for and no doubts he will be a success – well deserved
— Stuart Holden (@stuholden) October 3, 2016
Bradley inherits a team from Francesco Guidolin that currently sits in 17th place in the Premier League with one win from seven games. His first home game comes Oct. 22 against Watford. Another notable date early in his Swans career include a Nov. 6 home date against Jose Mourinho and Manchester United.