Le Havre coach Bob Bradley 'wide open' to right MLS option
Former U.S. national team manager Bob Bradley said he remains wide open to a return to Major League Soccer -- even though he loves the challenge of managing abroad and isn't necessarily finished pursuing opportunities with bigger European clubs.
Speaking to the "ESPN Soccer Today" show in Dallas (103.3 FM), Bradley added that American managers -- not unlike players -- often must work harder than their local counterparts to prove themselves in Europe.
He also said that he continues to keep a close eye on MLS since leaving the league in 2006.
"I stay very connected with what's happening there," said Bradley, currently managing La Havre in the French second division.
"And if the right opportunity comes along, I still think about clubs that have vision, clubs that want to do it right, where there's a real identity, where there's a connection with the city, where there's a connection between the academy and the first team, where you make sure that the way players are trained from the time they're young to how they're going to be asked to play when they're older.
"I have strong ideas and, if the right situation came up where those kind of ideas could be put into action, then it's something I'd think about."
Bradley is in his first full season at Le Havre, an ambitious club in France's second tier which just opened a new stadium and is desperate to gain promotion back to French Ligue 1.
In his Soccer Today visit, Bradley confirmed that he interviewed for the West Bromwich Albion job in the Premier League that went to Steve Clarke in 2012.
He called himself "a product of the game in the United States" after stints managing the Chicago Fire, New York MetroStars and Chivas USA before his appointment as U.S. national team boss in 2006.
"Maybe somewhere along the line the next big opportunity comes in Europe, or maybe someone in MLS is paying attention and it's back on your side, so we'll see," Bradley said.
The 58-year-old managed the United States from 2007 until 2011, highlighted by a trip to the knockout round of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Since then he has managed Egypt's national team as well as Stabek in Norway before the move to France's Normandy region.
"When I left [the national team], I felt good about five years and I felt that I let the next group go to work and not have anything to say in terms of what they're doing and how the team's playing," said Bradley, whose son Michael remains a fixture under successor Jurgen Klinsmann.
"I'm not sure that's how everybody's done it in the past, but I felt I would move on and continue to try to improve myself in football and pay attention to the national team, of course.
"Strong opinions, of course, [with] the people I enjoy discussing football with privately and all the ideas I might still have.
"But there's no need for me to use the media or social media or anything else to throw my ideas in at this point. I still wish the national team the best and I let those people continue the work."
Asked specifically about how Americans are perceived abroad in soccer circles, Bradley said: "I think the challenges exist for American coaches and players.
"We've made progress, but at the same time, I think it's a little bit harder. I think we've had some very good American players that have done well in Europe, but they might not all get the opportunities at some of the bigger clubs.
"And certainly on the coaching end you have to do a little more to try to prove yourself and, over time, maybe that will change.
"But I think as much as we can be proud of the growth of the game in the United States, I still think in Europe we have to prove it."
He admits that he's often awake "at strange hours watching MLS games" to keep tabs on his son as well as broader happenings back home.
"I have a pretty good idea what's goes on. I have some really good friends that are still working in the league," Bradley said.
"In many cases, it's guys that either played for me or guys I coached with that I stay in touch with.
"So you know, I enjoy keeping up with what's going on in MLS and of course watching our national team whenever they're playing."