USA coach Bob Bradley says he is looking forward to the challenge of coaching in another FIFA World Cup™ and part of that process includes getting to know his players better.
"If you don't watch yourself, given your different responsibilities, you can so easily get out there and kind of be in your own little world," he said. "If you let that part get away from you, then your players see that quickly. That is the challenge on the job. But that is the challenge whether you've been on the job four years or four days."
Bradley was speaking one day after US Soccer announced it was bringing him back as head coach of the men's team through the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. US Soccer announced on Monday it had agreed to a four-year contract extension with Bradley. Bradley's current contract was to expire in four months.
US Soccer president Sunil Gulati said on Tuesday he knows he has the right coach. "We're familiar with the statistics of first and second-cycle coaches," Gulati said. "In the end, we came to the conclusion that his experience and record, his work over the last four years, overcame any issues. We think we put ourselves in the best possible position to continue the growth we've had by reappointing Bob."
In four years of coaching the Americans, Bradley has 38 wins, 20 losses and eight draws. The USA won one game at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, beating Algeria 1-0. They were eliminated in the second round, losing to 2-1 to Ghana. "I'm not easily satisfied," Bradley said. "We feel good about what we've accomplished the last four years, but that doesn't mean I think it's all perfect. That's what motivates us and our players, so we'll continue to work at it."
Bradley, who had expressed interest in jobs in the English Premier League, replaced Bruce Arena. Bradley is believed to have been looking at Fulham and Aston Villa. Arena led the USA to the quarter-finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The Americans were eliminated in the first round of the 2006 tournament under Arena's coaching.
"When you begin a cycle, you do an overall assessment. You take inventory of where you are as a team," Bradley said. "Most important is identifying players, beginning the process of bringing those players in. I really believe strongly that our staff did an excellent job of that in the last cycle. We will try to do a better job in this next cycle." Bradley finalised his new deal with US Soccer on Sunday night.