Friday, June 26, 2009

Team USA, Bradley '80 to battle for Confederation Cup

The 2-0 victory of Team USA over Spain on Wednesday afternoon has been called the "Miracle on Grass."

And you can trace it all back to one Bob Bradley '80-- current manager of the U.S. men's national soccer team, and former player for and head coach of the Princeton men's soccer team.

A native of Montclair, N.J., Bradley played for West Essex High School before coming to Princeton in the fall of '76. He would go on to lead the Tigers in scoring his senior year before graduating with a degree in history.

After quick coaching stints at Ohio University and UVA, Bradley came back to his alma mater to coach from 1984 to 1996. During his tenure, the Tigers clinched two Ivy League titles (1988 and 1993) and earned their only bid ever to the NCAA Final Four (1993).

(And Bradley's ties to Princeton don't end there: his brother Scott -- a former Major League catcher for the Yankees, White Sox, Mariners and Reds -- has served as head coach of the Princeton baseball team since 1997).

Bradley then moved to Major League Soccer, where his 124 victories are more than any other coach in league history. He's the only two-time Coach of the Year in MLS history and was also the '03 All-Star Head Coach.

Bradley led his teams to victories in the 1998 MLS Cup and the 1998 and 2000 U.S. Open Cup. In December 2006, Bradley became the 33rd head coach in the history of the U.S. men's national team. The next year, the team captured the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

He'll get a chance to add to that list on Sunday afternoon, when the U.S. takes on Brazil in the title game of the Confederation Cup.

UPDATE: The United States fell to Brazil 3-2 after leaving 2-0 at halftime.