America, we have finally infiltrated the world’s greatest soccer league.
Bob Bradley, the former coach of the United States’ national team, has just been appointed the manager of Swansea City, the only Welsh club in the Premier League. Bradley was rumored as the top candidate for the job, after Swansea’s American ownership group decided to fire Francesco Guidolin after a rough start to this season.
The Swans currently sit in 17th place in the EPL table, with just four points from seven games. Their 2-1 loss to Liverpool this weekend sealed Guidolin’s fate, and gave Bradley a massive uphill climb to save the Welsh side from relegation.
This is the culmination of a massive European journey for Bradley, that started following his firing by U.S. Soccer. Bradley started his journey in Norway, with Stabaek, where he took a team promoted to the top division in 2013 to ninth place in 2014, and third place in 2015.
From Norway, he moved to Le Havre, a club in the second division of France, with a famed youth program that produced the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Paul Pogba. While Bradley was unable to win promotion with Le Havre during his first season with the club, he certainly did enough to win the respect of Swansea’s owners.
Thus, Bradley was ceremoniously appointed the first American manager in the Premier League, and has the weight of a nation of coaches on his shoulders, as he attempts to dispel the opinions of numerous European executives, many of whom believe Americans know nothing about soccer.
He has been insistent in the past about how difficult it’s been for him to build a legitimate coaching career simply based on his nationality, which makes it all the more heartwarming that Swansea is giving him his chance. Bradley has been a global ambassador for the growth of American soccer, and now, the world will be put on notice.
Of course, being the first at anything comes with an enormous amount of pressure, and many around the globe believe a failure by Bradley could spell doom for future American coaches in the Premier League. While that is certainly an opinion befit of the copycat nature of the EPL, it ignores the amount of American coaches that hive risen the ranks as top assistants across numerous European leagues. Bradley paved the way for American coaches to find their way in Europe, and his appointment can only help those coaches get full-time managerial roles in top divisions across the continent.
On the field, Bradley certainly has his work cut out for him. Swansea have been undoubtedly the worst team in the entire Premier League this season, and are at dire risk of relegation. They sit just above the drop zone purely on goal difference, and have been unable to find the form from just a few years ago that catapulted the Swans into the Europa League.
Specifically, Bradley will have to find a way to help the Swans score again. Swansea City have just six goals from seven games, the second worst scoring record in the Premier League. If Bradley wants to save his team from relegation, they will unquestionably need more output than that.
Nonetheless, his appointment is a historic day for American soccer coaches. Bradley has the ability to pave a way for Americans in the world’s most popular league, so that American coaches can finally get the respect they deserve internationally. As the beautiful game grows stateside, the American talent pool will demand superior coaching, which is primarily located in Europe. Hopefully Bradley’s appointment can encourage more top clubs to give Americans the chance to show how much the country has grown with regards to soccer.