U.S. men's national soccer team coach Bob Bradley has agreed to a four-year contract extension, ending speculation he might be replaced when his contract expires at the end of this year.
U.S. Soccer announced the deal late Monday, and on Tuesday federation president Sunil Gulati and Bob Bradley answered questions from the media via teleconference.
Gulati said Bradley's experience and success as U.S. coach over the past four years outweighed any concerns about the team continuing to progress over the next four-year cycle leading up the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
"We've talked about that. I think Bob's aware of that concern and we think we can manage that. We're not going to look at simply the last cycle of the U.S. Teams do well and teams go down. It's not just down to (the responsibility of) the coach. Italy and France would attest to that after having been in the (World Cup) final (in 2006). And the progress that we're going to have is not going to be from every World Cup," Gulati said.
Italy defeated France in the 2006 World Cup final and both teams failed to make it out of first round group play at this year's World Cup in South Africa. Under Bradley, the U.S. men finished undefeated in their first round World Cup group for the first time in 80 years. The team was knocked out in the round of 16, losing 2-1 in extra time to Ghana.
While waiting for the U.S. Soccer Federation to decide his future, the 52-year-old Bradley explored options for coaching in the English Premier League. But ultimately he is excited to stay on as coach of his national team. "I certainly believe that the work that went into the past four years, the experiences that we've had, will really work for us as we put one cycle behind us and begin the process of the next four years," Bradley said.
Bradley talked about what is needed to keep the American soccer program moving forward. "The ability as a coach to continue every day, every year, to challenge your players the right way; to know how in some moments to reenergize yourselves, refocus yourselves, and in some ways reinvent yourselves," he said.
Bradley guided the U.S. soccer team into its first final in a major FIFA tournament in 2009 at the Confederations Cup in South Africa. His overall mark in four years is 38 wins, 21 losses and eight draws.
Next up for Bradley's team are two friendly home matches, October 9 against Poland in Chicago and October 12 against Colombia in Chester in suburban Philadelphia.