'If the right opportunity arose...': Bob Bradley on MLS, Norway and what's next

'...I’d be on the plane tonight,' Bob Bradley tells FourFourTwo of his eagerness to get back on the sidelines in the right situation after a raw deal at Swansea.

Bob Bradley was ridiculed, mocked and sneered at in his brief time in charge of Swansea City, but he is eager to make a quick return to the sidelines.

Bradley, of course, was fired after just 85 days in charge at the Liberty Stadium, having succeeded Italian coach Francesco Guidolin at a club sitting one place off the bottom of the table.

“I look at my career and I have taken chances and taken jobs that other people wouldn’t have taken,” the 58-year-old said.

The former United States men’s national team head coach could make a return to international management as he is currently being considered for the manager role of Norway’s men’s national team. He he is well-regarded in Norway following a spell at Stabaek.

“I have strong ideas on the kind of football that should be played, and the connection between the first team and rest of the club and the philosophy on how it ties in with the academy and how you move young players forward.”

I had two very good years in Norway and I was very flattered that my name would even be considered,” he said. “I had a good discussion with the people there and now they are trying to look at options and figure out the best way to move forward so we’ll see what happens.

“It was a good discussion, but I’d hope l have some other discussions with some clubs as well because I certainly enjoyed being back with club football where I’m involved every day.”

Should he take on the Norway job, he could end up pitting his wits against U.S. head coach Bruce Arena’s U.S. side, whose appointment he applauds.

But with Bradley citing a love for a club environment, could a return to MLS be on the table? He says he is “open” to it. Bradley distinguished himself with spells as head coach at the Chicago Fire, the MetroStars and Chivas USA.

“If the right opportunity arose, then I’d be on the plane tonight.”

“I would always have an interest in taking my football ideas and experience and leadership and put it into action with people who see things the same way,” he said.

“Before I went to Stabaek, I had a series of discussion with Greg Kerfoot and the people in Vancouver and they were very positive discussions,” Bradley said. “I have great respect for Greg Kerfoot. At that time, I just felt I wanted to put my foot in the door in Europe and see where it would lead.

“I have strong ideas on the kind of football that should be played, and the connection between the first team and rest of the club and the philosophy on how it ties in with the academy and how you move young players forward.”

Bradley never had the chance to do that at Swansea.

“If you go into a situation like I did, with a team in that bottom group, to get things turned around quickly is very difficult.  

“Had everything been in order, then quite honestly, Francesco would still have been in there. He’s a good manager but that was an indication there were things that needed to be improved. I thought everyone was on board with that idea.”

Why a return to MLS could appeal to Bradley

With LAFC starting to take shape ahead of a 2018 launch, there is always the prospect that Bradley may relocate to the California following talks he held with the club last summer.

“It was just a preliminary discussion where I could hear a bit about their ideas and get a sense of their vision, and I was impressed with where they want to take this team,” Bradley said.

“They’re moving forward with a stadium that will be unbelievable and I can see they have an excellent group of investors and real sense of community and a strong desire to connect with the city of Los Angeles which is always important.”

“I have always been very open. I’ve had different discussions over the last five or six years with people in MLS, just to hear where they are.”

Asked directly whether LAFC appealed to him, Bradley confirmed that the nascent club did.

“It is for sure,” he said. “I have always said the opportunity to take my football experience and my football ideas and then put them into place with people who have a similar vision is something that is very exciting.

“I have always been very open. I’ve had different discussions over the last five or six years with people in MLS, just to hear where they are.

“If you look at the experiences I’ve had and players I’ve worked in terms of experienced players and the development of some of the younger players, seeing football around the world, I think that it helps in your ability to take your experiences and put them into a club that has a similar vision.

“That is always something you are excited to discuss. It was an excellent discussion in the summer and obviously I have been continuing work because everyone who knows me knows that focus on what I am doing has always been No. 1. So when you’re stepping into a situation like Swansea, for me, it’s a total commitment to that project so there was no time to be focused on anything else.”

Since Bradley was fired by Swansea, he and his wife took the time to visit his son, Michael, and family in Toronto.

“That part’s great, there’s no two ways about it,” said Bradley. “But all the years I’ve been coaching the periods of downtime have been few and far between. It’s not what I enjoy.”

An eager Bradley hopes that there isn’t much more downtime in his future.

“If the right opportunity arose, then I’d be on the plane tonight,” Bradley said. “You always hope people have watched, paid attention and seen the way your teams play and the way you handle yourself because you try to earn respect with the way you do things. I am hopeful there are more opportunities.”

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