Guus For Thanksgiving?

TSG Note: Catching up on comments this morning, a few of you were wondering why we hadn’t mentioned Guus Hiddink. So…here you go.

Plain sweatpants (Bradley) or Monogrammed sweatpants (Hiddink)?

With Russia getting bounced from World Cup contention last week it has been widely speculated that super-coach Guus Hiddink could be back on the market. Furthermore, it has been suggested by some American soccer “pundits” and fans alike, that Mr. Gulati should have Hiddink on speed-dial should that happen with an offer handing over the keys to the USMNT kingdom.

Let’s put aside the facts that

a) Hiddink’s ties to Chelsea owner and Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich may not be severed anytime soon,

b) Sunil Gulati has categorically stated that Bob Bradley will coach the USMNT through the World Cup, and

c) Hiddink said in an interview in the past few days that he would make a decision on his next move (Argentina? Chelsea?) within the next few months.

Let’s also assume that Hiddink actually rang up Soccer House and offered his services, but only through the 2010 World Cup.

What should US Soccer do? More specifically, what is best for the US squad seven months away from kick-off at the World Cup? And since we haven’t asked this question directly on TSG, why bounce Bob Bradley?

The Phone Call

Say “thanks, but no thanks” to Comrade Hiddink, even if the coach suggests a technical director position. The US isn’t Argentina with a head coach that is clearly in way over his head, a Bradley-Hiddink combo is doubtful to work.

What is best for the US squad?

With the USMNT struggling to field a team of eleven international-quality players who are fit, adding a new head coach to the mix at this late juncture would be, to quote commenter Kaya, “ridiculous.”

Consider that in Guus’ two most recent World Cup finals stops (South Korea and Australia) he had at least a year to work with the squad. Also, subtract two months from the available time-frame as Hiddink wouldn’t get to work with the team until January leaving less than six months to put together the USMNT squad.

Bringing on a new coach at this juncture would be risky at best and have implications beyond South Africa ’10.

Right man for the job?

Why bounce Bob Bradley?

From what I can tell by cruising around the ‘net, one is either on the Fire Bob Bradley bandwagon or labeled a Bradley Apologist. There doesn’t seem to be an in-between. Not sure why that is, but perhaps I will put myself in a country of one.

Bob Bradley has his struggles (specifically, in-game management), but he has also done some good things with the talent available and turned a collection of individuals into a team.

Bradley’s familiarity with entire player pool and the bonds developed through triumph (Spain / Honduras) and tragedy (Charlie Davies) are important heading into the World Cup with a most uncertain squad. He has performed admirably enough to carry the USMNT, his team, through the World Cup.

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The stark reality of firing a coach is that you have to hire another one that is only guaranteed of “looking good on paper.” Every coach could be better, especially one of an inconsistent team, but there is no reason to blow-up a to-date successful program seven months out of a World Cup…even if Hiddink was available.

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12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Matt B on 2009/11/23 at 11:59 AM

    I don’t really have a problem with Bradley. Most of his haters seem to think we have the talent to be a top 10 team in the world. I would definitely love to see Hiddink coach the US for the 2014 cycle though.

    Reply

  2. Posted by kaya on 2009/11/23 at 1:20 PM

    Fair points, but I still wonder if Klinsman excused himself from being considered for the coaching position due to lack of control. I know there’s something to be said for a slow and steady development, but I still think the USSF needs to figure out that they haven’t been capable of developing big time talent domestically, ergo, maybe they need some outside blood to move things to the next level.

    Reply

    • Are you insinuating that they need outside blood at the Senior National Team level to move us into the next echelon of footballing nations? If so, I disagree.

      While Hiddink has been known for doing more with less, let’s face facts. South Korea was the host nation in ’02, and Australia wasn’t exactly in a power-house group in ’06. Either way, Hiddink could probably do great things with a squad for the whole cycle (assuming he figures out US Soccer’s nuances) but the possible success of Guus would be short lived for the development of our nation as a whole. Gulati and USSF more than likely will not rid themselves of the Bradenton Academy anytime soon, because there sadly isn’t a better alternative at this point. And our youth development pyramid is where we need some fresh ideas and possibly some outside blood. Moving us to the level of a perennial Second Round team at the WC will take much more than one coach’s fleeting 4 year affair with our senior squad.

      Reply

      • Posted by kaya on 2009/11/24 at 3:15 PM

        I wasn’t insinuating as much as saying straight up ;)
        However, I’m not trying to say we need Hiddink. i’m not even neccessarily saying it needs to be at the coach level.
        Soccer is way too technical of a sport to will your country into making itself “good”, so why spend 50 years trying develop youth programs, etc on your own when you can hire foreign talent that grew up in that environment? I’ve gotta think it would’ve already saved us a lot of mistakes.
        Or maybe the experience of the (orginal) NASL scared us away from that.
        I know very little about the USSF, but it seems pretty insular to me. I guess they all are, but I’d like it if we could wait for the “FA politics” until after we win a WC.

        Reply

        • I agree that we should wait until we’re on par with the Englands of the world before out “FA” starts playing the political bs games. While on some levels the NASL failures may preclude some from wanting more foreigners involved in our National Team setup, I think most knowledgeable people are only concerned with overpaid primadonna types who wouldn’t do well over here (see Gullit, Ruud) simply because they don’t want to learn our idiosyncracies. Most knowledgeable soccer fans will also look at what Wilmer Cabrera is doing with our U-17s and know that foreign blood can be a good thing.

          As for spending 50 years to develop youth programs, regardless of who is manning the wheel of the senior side…we don’t want to be the Florida Marlins or a one-hit wonder. It would be great if some big, sexy name coach took the team to new heights for the 2014 World Cup, but what happens if we crash and burn the next time around? We’d be even more of a joke than we already are.

          Reply

        • Disregard the above, i just re-read your comment and completely misunderstood it.

          Foreign blood within our youth development system would be great as long they can teach some of us Yanks along the way so we can build a better infrastructure.

          Reply

  3. Posted by sfshwebb on 2009/11/23 at 4:37 PM

    Hiddink will be the next coach of Scotland…you heard it here first!

    Reply

  4. Posted by Sãoldinho on 2009/11/23 at 7:17 PM

    I like Bob Bradley. When we blow through some o’ those mid-level, Charmin Ultra Soft Eurotrash sides like the global behemoth that we are, I want to see an all-American, sweatpants clad bad ass patrolling the touchline like a US infantry squad patrols the streets Baghdad. Vigilant and proud. Freedom ain’t free, people. USA, baby. Watch out, Eurotrash, cuz here comes Uncle Sam.

    Reply

  5. Posted by pckilgore on 2009/11/24 at 5:16 AM

    People who think bob Bradley does ok. Army of two.

    Reply

  6. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/12/12 at 5:37 PM

    Finally got around to this article.

    I’m in agreement that there are no grounds on which to either fire Bob Bradley or employ Guus Hiddink.

    That being said it would be wise if possible to merely consult with Hiddink as it would be wise to gain as much information, data, and experience as possible from whoever for the US coaching quiver before RSA.

    Hiddink has ties to US players, knows the competition and his record speaks for himself.

    In terms of Bradley, which appears to be everyone’s favorite topic. He’s won. He’s won through injuries. He’s won through tragedies. I’m not quite certain the US has enough skill to inflict a certain type of play on others….when they do then yes, maybe it’s time to look around — that’s not 2010.

    Reply

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