USA – Father And Son
In the United States, it is certainly not rare for a father to coach his son in youth football. Although US national team coach Bob Bradley never worked with his son Michael, a midfielder, when he was young, since then they have been together at both club and international level.
While there have been cases of fathers coaching sons in club or international football in just about every country in the world, this is a first in the US. Not surprisingly, there has been talk of nepotism, but it is drowned out every time Michael Bradley makes an important contribution for his Dutch club, Heerenveen, or the US national team.
“I don’t get caught up in that,” the 20-year-old says. “The way I see it, I have to go on the field every training session, every game and prove myself. That’s for myself, that’s for the coaches and that’s for my team¬mates. I don’t spend any time at all worrying what’s being written about me, what’s being said about me. It’s not something that I worry too much about.”
As at 1 February 2008, Michael Bradley had made 12 appearances for his national side, perhaps none more important than when he scored the only goal in the 86’1′ minute of a match against Switzerland in Basle on 17 October 2007 – his first international strike.
The win ended a five-game losing streak for the US, their longest since 1994, after previously going undefeated in ten matches under Bob Bradley. It was also the Americans’ fourth triumph in Europe in 23 games. They had last won there in March 2006, defeating Poland 1-0 in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Growing up in an athletic family, Michael soon picked up the game. One of Michael’s uncles, Scott Bradley, played pro baseball for teams such as the New York Yankees, while his other uncle, Jeff Bradley, is a sportswriter and currently works for ESPN The Magazine.
Owing to his responsibilities as head coach at Princeton University, assistant coach with D.C. United or head coach with the Chicago Fire, Bob was unable to coach Michael at youth level.
“He was always around,” Michael says. “He would always come and join in training sessions. He would watch all the games. He would play a lot of times. The different clubs I played for, everybody loved that.”