A powerful midfielder, mature beyond his years, Michael Bradley has become an indispensable member of his father's USA national team. An imposing figure in the holding midfield role, the brawny destroyer is also capable of threading the occasional slide-rule pass and even scoring a goal here and there. Michael, still just 22, was raised on football, first in Princeton, New Jersey where his father was the head coach of the local University team. Then he spent time watching from the sidelines as his father coached the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer.
In 2004, at just 16 years of age, Bradley was signed by the MetroStars (now the New York Red Bulls), who were then coached by his father. After a slow start and a serious foot injury, he broke into the team in his second season and proved a force to be reckoned with among far more experienced professionals.
In 2006 the eager and ambitious young player headed to Netherlands to join Heerenveen, then the youngest player to be sold by Major League Soccer. While in the Dutch top flight Bradley proved himself more than just a midfield bruiser, scoring 16 goals in the 2007-2008 season to become the club's top marksman. Bradley's impressive star turn in Holland led to another move at the start of the 2008-2009 season, when he headed for the glitz and glamour of the German Bundesliga and Borussia Monchengladbach, where his footballing education continues to this day.
After putting in his time with the U-17 residency program in Florida, Bradley turned out for the USA at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada in 2007, only days after helping the United States senior team to their fourth CONCACAF Gold Cup. He earned his first full cap in 2007 in a friendly with Guatemala, but had been called up the year before for training camps ahead of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ in Germany.
After his curtain-raiser, he became a constant fixture in the US midfield, playing a critical role in the 2007 Gold Cup campaign, though he did show his lack of maturity when he was sent off for a rash challenge in the semi-final with Canada. A busy man, Bradley also lined up for the United States at the 2008 Olympic Football Tournament in Beijing, where the Americans were unlucky not to advance beyond the group stage. Since then, Bradley became a fixture in the USA side in qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and played an instrumental role as the United States surged to their first-ever global final at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa.