USA – Influence Of Bradley Sr
Michael therefore had the ultimate personal coach – his father. No one influenced Michael more as a player as he grew up talking, living, eating, breathing and sleeping football.
“The way I look at the game, the way 1 play, it’s all been influenced through things that we experienced together,” he says. “I speak to him every day and I always have. I speak to him about training, about the game. Some people ask, ‘Do you ever get tired talking about soccer?’ No. No. Soccer for us is what we love to do. When I was little, we’d go out and play together, he’d work on things with me. He was always coming to watch my practices, the games. Even now when I’m not physically close to him, he and my mom watch the games on the internet when they can. They watch the highlights. I’ll speak to him and we’ll talk about the game as though we were sitting next to each other. Everything I do, the way I talk about soccer and the way I look at it and they way I play, it’s come from him.”
According to Bob, other people have influenced him as well, including respected youth coach Manfred Schellscheidt, former US midfielders Chris Armas and Jesse Marsch and ex-Poland midfielder Peter Nowak (now coach of the US U-23 team).
“Since Michael was young, he’s been around the game,” says Bradley Sr. “He’s been around good soccer people and good soccer environments. For a young kid growing up in the United States, he has had the experience of being around the game and being around good people.”
Bob does not like talking about his son the player publicly, leaving it for writers and the media to comment. When asked about Michael’s development as a player, he speaks in general terms.
“There are good starting points, a good mentality, good understanding of the game,” he says. “A true sense of trying to be a guy to help his team. From there … it’s trying to make steady progress in every situation you’re in. Trying to make sure you’re called in, you earn the respect of the guys you play with every day. When you get the chance to play, you try to do the things on the field to help your team. That’s how it is for all young players.”
Two years ago, however, Bob gave Michael some public praise after he went to Heerenveen.
“I am happy for him,” he said. “To go to a club in Europe and to establish yourself very quickly, earn the respect of the coaches and your team-mates, so that you’re playing and starting in the most important games of the season, that says a lot.”
“He’s got a strong mentality, understands the game. He plays well beyond his years.
I really felt that last year as the season moved along that he got stronger and stronger. And that’s not something you see that often with young players in the MLS, especially with ones who are asked to cover that much ground and be a factor in the centre of the field, where things are really hard.”