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May 15, 2007

Bradley to be named as U.S. coach

After 10 months of trying to find a head coach capable of building on Bruce Arena's eight-year tenure with the U.S. men's national soccer team, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati has found his man and he didn't have to look very far to find him.

U.S. Soccer will announce Bob Bradley's permanent appointment as U.S. national team coach at a press conference in New York on Wednesday, sources with knowledge of the decision confirmed to ESPN.com on Tuesday. Bradley's hiring comes five months after he was chosen to serve as the interim head coach while Gulati considered other candidates, including several foreign coaches.

Bradley had been believed to be an outside candidate to replace Arena after Arena was not rehired last summer. However, Bradley's impressive 3-0-1 record as interim coach, a mark that including a 2-0 victory against Mexico in February, helped the longtime MLS coach secure a position that counted Gerard Houllier, Carlos Queiroz and Jose Pekerman as candidates.

Bradley will make his debut as the full-time head coach on June 2, when the United States plays China in a friendly in San Jose, Calif.

The decision comes less than a month before the U.S. team is set to play in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, beginning on June 7, and the Copa America, beginning on July 28.

Bradley, 49, spent nine seasons coaching in MLS, winning an MLS Cup title with the Chicago Fire in 1998. He last coached in MLS with Chivas USA in 2006, turning the team from the league's worst into a playoff club in just one season in charge. The 2006 MLS coach of the year, Bradley holds the MLS records for wins with 124.

Bradley's hiring ends an exhaustive 10-month search for Arena's replacement, a search that had appeared to end in December when U.S. Soccer was close to hiring former German national team coach Juergen Klinsmann. After a deal with Klinsmann fell through, Gulati named Bradley interim coach. However, Gulati stated that he was going to wait until the end of the European season to name a permanent hire so he could interview coaching candidates in Europe.

Bradley's task will be taking over a national team in transition following the recent retirements of veteran standouts Claudio Reyna, Brian McBride and Eddie Pope.