USA Soccer World Cup Profile: Midfielder Michael Bradley
Michael Bradley is an outstanding midfielder and most likely one of the best Americans playing anywhere at that position. Bradley is a hard worker on the field with a strong motor and a nice passing touch. He has extensive experience playing with the local league and overseas, and will be one of the United States men’s national soccer team’s leaders at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
World Cup Experience
Bradley almost played in the 2006 World Cup in Germany but was considered too young at the time. He was invited to practice and spent most of his time in training camp with the US squad, but ultimately wasn’t on the roster. Right after the 2006 World Cup, Bradley did join the team and helped the US with two friendly games against Latvia and Venezuela.
Bradley played every minute of the USMNT’s games at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. In that tournament, he scored the tying goal against Slovenia, a game which ended in a 2-2 tie. The US team reached the elimination round that year under head coach Bob Bradley, Michael’s father.
Bradley was originally drafted in 2004 at 16 years of age by the New York MetroStars (now called the New York Red Bulls). He spent most of his rookie year sidelined with a foot injury. Bradley earned himself a starting spot the following season and shined as a consistent presence in the midfield, helping the MetroStars reach the playoffs.
After the season, Bradley was sent to play in Holland for SC Heerenveen. He was the youngest MLS player to be sold to a European team at the time. His career continued to flourish in Holland; in 2008, he set a European first division single-season record for most goals scored by an American.
After his stint with SC Heerenveen, he moved on to Borussia Mönchengladbach in Germany, Aston Villa in England, Chievo in Italy and finally AS Roma in Italy as well. Each move, ending with Roma, one of the most popular teams in Italy, seemed to boost his career. And his strong play was the key reason why.
Bradley accomplished a lot as an American playing in Europe. He was seen as part of a new school of midfielder who ran hard and played with energy. Bradley helped Roma reach the Coppa Italia Finals, where they ultimately lost to rivals SS Lazio. After a season and a half with the Italian club, he came back to North America.
Bradley currently plays for Canadian club team Toronto FC in MLS. The Canadian team recruited Bradley from AS Roma in January of 2014 for $10 million. Part of the contract involves one friendly game a year between the two clubs for the next six years.
Bradley is the field general and top midfielder for the American squad. According to head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Bradley is the best midfielder the US has right now. He will have to be one of the team’s play-makers if the USMNT is to have any success in the World Cup.
J.L. Herrera is a huge fan of football and has been following the Raiders since the 1980s during the LA era. J.L. is also a freelance writer and copywriter on the web. He taught English for a little more than a decade in Los Angeles at the secondary level. While writing for web-based news outlets, J.L. enjoys reading, creative writing, and watching sports. His work can be found on Examiner.com.