All of us here at Archers' House of Blogging, Floor Tile and Storm Doors would like to thank each and every one of you who participated in our bi-annual seminar.
I'm sure we all agree that this years' topic: "Resolved: That Anyone Who Thinks Fan Violence is a Bad Thing is a Racist" was our best ever.
Please make plans now to join us in the Spring of 2013 for our next bi-annual seminar. The topic, which our steering committee has selected, will be "Resolved: That Anyone Who Thinks Fan Violence is a Bad Thing is a Racist".
Be sure to mark your calendars.
My personal favorite American soccer writer is the formidable JACK BELL OF THE NEW YORK TIMES.
Bell isn't a man given to flights of fancy or who grabs every last shred of a hint of a whiff of a rumor and runs off like some East Coast version of MLSTumors, so when he says something it generally means there's something there.
So when he quotes Sunil Gulati as saying, in regards to Bob Bradleys' future employment with the USSF: “We’ll have something to say later this week.” it might behoove us to take notice.
He does hasten to add: "U.S. Soccer officials later said that Gulati’s one sentence response was not intended to imply that he was planning to make a coaching change." but, at the same time, Gulatis' comment must surely mean something and I doubt "We're giving Bob a lifetime contract in recognition of a job well done" is anything we need to worry about hearing.
To me, the fact that Gulati dashed out of the building and refused to meet with reporters - he's normally a very gracious and available interview - says as much as anything.
More to the point - linked by BS lifer HectorM - is THIS MARK ZIEGLER PIECE which, among other things, quotes a source close to the team as saying that "the players are miserable", the team has lost it's motivation and Bradley has lost the locker room.
If so, history gives us virtually no examples of a coach who, having lost his players confidence, has succeeded in getting it back.
Just doesn't happen.
I've never been a "Sack the Coach" guy; in general soccer is a players' game. On field leadership is, to me, more important than formation, tactics or pregame "Burn the House Down" speeches.
(Although I'm reminded of the utterly terrific video "Our Way" from the 2002 World Cup where, just before hitting the field, Bruce Arena tells his team that he wants "the first tackle, the first foul, the first shot and the first goal". A recipe for success if ever there was one.)
So much was written about Project 2010, much of it justifiably critical, that we tend to ignore the fact that, imperfect as it was and as unrealistic as it turned out to be, at least it was a plan.
And some plan, even a badly flawed one, is almost always better than no plan at all. Unfortunately, right now the entire plan seems to be "Wait around for the development academies to produce 22 superstars."
It's not a terrible thought but it's a little thin around the edges and, in any case, it pretty much abandons the current generation of top American players - Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley, et al. - to never ending mediocrity.
Which is, it seems to me, a pretty good description of Bob Bradley.