USMNT Daily Update: It is only a matter of time before Bradley is USMNT captain

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As we head toward the new year, and a new World Cup qualifying cycle approaches, it is becoming more and more apparent that Michael Bradley is looking ready to wear the captain’s armband when 2013 gets into full swing.

Jurgen Klinsmann may not be thinking about that transition right now, and doesn’t really have to think about it with no games until February, but with each passing standout performance for AS Roma, Bradley is looking more and more like the best American player on the planet and he looks like a player who is poised to lead the national team when qualifying commences.

Carlos Bocanegra has done an admirable job as captain. He combines toughness with a fiery demeanor and motivating presence for younger players, but at 33 he is clearly in the twilight of his national team career. When he suffered a hamstring injury early in the U.S. team’s recent friendly against Russia, it offered us a good glimpse into the future of the captaincy.

No, Bradley didn’t grab the armband that day (Tim Howard wore the armband the rest of the match) but Bradley played like any team would want a captain too, almost willing the team to a draw with his relentless and high-level work in midfield.

He looked every bit like a captain, something that had to be clear to his U.S. teammates.

Bradley has always had the look of a future captain since he started playing regularly for the national team. He was never afraid to take on a leadership role on U.S. youth national teams, though in his earlier years there were questions about his red-hot temper and how that would work for someone wearing the armband.

Bradley is a much more controlled player now. He plays with passion but generally does a good job of controlling the rage that used to make more regular appearances (a brief flash of anger in the team’s road qualifying win against Antigua & Barbuda the only notable appearance of that temper in recent memory).

Experience, maturity, and more recently fatherhood, have helped to bring Bradley to a great moment in his life and career, and his high level of play coupled with his fearless take-no-prisoners personality make him ideally-suited to be the national team’s leader.

There used to be a time when Landon Donovan was, at least in the eyes of some, was considered someone who might spend time as U.S. captain before we reached the Bradley era, but Donovan never really carried that sort of role with the team and now that his future is uncertain, it makes it even more likely that Bradley’s time to be captain will be upon us sooner than later.

Tim Howard would also make a good choice, but goalkeepers generally aren’t made captains because of the on-field leadership role required and the ease with with a field player can handle in-game responsibilities in that role. Clint Dempsey is also respected enough to carry the role, but he has never really been the captain type. Not in New England, not at Fulham, not at Tottenham and never with the U.S. national team. He has always let his play do the talking. He has never really been a ‘let me lead the way’ kind of player.

Bradley is perfectly-suited for that role because not only does he carry the respect of the younger generation of players who have seen his career blossom, but he has also earned the respect of veterans who have watched him step up in the national team’s most important matches over the past 3-4 years and deliver. His excellent play for Roma has only solidified his standing among his U.S. teammates.

There isn’t likely to be a ceremony, or announcement, no real event to mark the passing of the torch from Bocanegra to Bradley, but there really doesn’t need to be one. Bradley’s captaincy will begin with him walking on the field sporting the armband, which he stands a good chance of wearing for a long time.

That moment will be significant not only because it will mark the latest accomplishment in an outstanding career for Bradley, but also because it will serve as a symbolic marking of a new era for American soccer, one where a new generation of players will be ready to step up, and one where they will have the perfect captain to lead them into their new roles.

We don’t know exactly when Bradley will be given the armband, but with each passing day it becomes clear that the day is rapidly approaching.

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152 Responses to USMNT Daily Update: It is only a matter of time before Bradley is USMNT captain

  1. Scott says:

    My favorite current USMNTer.

    • Scott says:

      I also enjoy how he goes berserk when he scores a goal

    • Mark Feilhardt says:

      I think it was easy to tell he was next in line to be captain. he will run the team eventually. The engine.

      • keith mattson says:

        Can’t think of a more deserving player. Just need to point out that there were many over the years on this site that accused him getting his USMNT spot through nepotism. They should be eating a healthy amount of crow. Best wishes to Michael who endured that B.S. like a true pro and let his play and accomplishments speak for themselves.

    • Weston John says:

      I second that…favorite USMNT player. Bradley is THE MAN. The best part is that he is going to continue to improve now that he is playing with Roma and will have the opportunity to play in Europa or Champions League over the next few seasons.

    • alf says:

      I agree 100%. He plays like an American and I say that as a huge complement! That heart could be contagious and I like it. In saying that he is picking up some great experience from playing with Roma and in my brief encounter with him he seemed humble.

  2. Alex says:

    Iker Casillas

  3. Joe+G says:

    He’s only being considered because of who his dad is.

    Oh, wait…

  4. Ryan Nanez says:

    i think almost everyone agrees he should, but we dont know what jk thinks unfortunately.

    • beto says:

      you think he will name Jermaine Jones captain? maybe Chandler? maybe in a crazy turn of events Jozy Altidore?

      • Josh D says:

        I could almost see Jones due to his leadership on the field. Klinsi may think Bradley is too young and will wait until after 2014. I’d say Dempsey, but unless the conflict involves him, he tends to stay away from them and isn’t really a verbal leader. Jones is always next to a US player who has been fouled and protects players.

        If not Bradley (my choice), I think Jones is next in line.

        Bradley > Jones > Howard

        However, the captaincy means nothing these days on the field. Everyone talks to the refs these days. It’s just an honor which is why it tends to go to senority.

        • GW says:

          Jones captained the team earlier this year for the Venzuela and Panama games that followed the January camp.

          JK stated that as a regular starter for a Champions League team Jones had much to teach the younger, less experienced guys. Jones seemed to love the role and played well.

          • Hogatroge says:

            Jones was arguably the most experienced player in the January camp, was the only member of the senior team included, and needed the burden of the armband to reel in his temper a bit.

            I don’t see JK ruffling feathers and naming a relatively new player to the captaincy over Bradley.

        • Jake says:

          You may be right that JK thinks Jones could be a captain, but I can’t think of a lot of worse choices among those that JK might make. Howard and Bradley would be miles better. Jones is not as well respected on the team I don’t think. He also doesn’t seem to have his temper under control (although it is better). He also shouldn’t be a lock starter in my eyes (although JK seems to disagree).

          • GW says:

            “He also doesn’t seem to have his temper under control (although it is better). ”

            Jones has 3 yellow cards in league play this season; so does Mikey.

            Schweinstieger of Bayern has 4, Pirlo has 4, Scholes has 5, just to give you an idea.

            Cards are not always about temper.They are often about strategy.

            If he is such a crap player how does he keep starting for Schalke? German teams tend to be very unsentimental about playing time.

            If you recall JK’s “nasty” comment, Jones and Boca are the only US players who will do enforcer work. Los is just a bit less obvious than Jones about his Hard man act.

            And if you think the USMNT does not need an enforcer then you should watch closer when things get tight in games that really matter.

            Finally, look up some of those tough German teams JK played on. They were very “nasty”. Just ask Wynalda. The game has not changed that much since JK played.

        • Steve says:

          Jones is extremely overrated IMO. Captain? I dont think so.

          I have yet to see him put in a solid performance for the Nats against any decent oponent. Sloppy on the ball, commits stupid penalties, not to mention he is currently too old to play the physical detroyer mid position and will certainly be too old come 2014. Hopefully the center mids will eventually be Holden and Bradley.

  5. beto says:

    yup in February vs. Honduras; Bradley will be captain.

    Just imagine if this happened during Bob’s regime! the conspiracies would be hilarious. In respect to reality he is a much better player now than he was just 2-3 years ago.

    • Juan says:

      Im glad bob is gone for multiple reasons. One is that we no longer have to wonder if Junior was earning his way or getting a pass. As for captain… Im not so sure. I think maybe in time but i still remember him getting reckless cards and chasing refs down the tunnel. These are not the actions of a captain. Maybe he’s matured? IDK we’ll see

      • Strider257 says:

        Sorry to be harsh, but even if BB were still coach, if you can’t tell that Michael has earned his role on this team you are pretty clueless. Regarding reckless cards, I’d be curious to see how many there have been in the last year. Very few I’m sure. Michael has grown both his game and his self-control over the last several years and would be a very good captain.

  6. Alex says:

    Gianluigi Buffon

    • Alex says:

      Just pointing out that there are a couple of big examples of goalkeepers wearing their nationl team’s armbands. If Tim Howard is the Vice-Captain, it is unlikely MB will get the armband until after the next World Cup, given that Timmy is 1) probably Bradley’s equal and 2) senior to him in age, experience, and on-field verbal organization.

      • GW says:

        Kasey Keller has captained the team and there are numerous examples of other keeper captains.

        That does not invalidate Ive’s point which is that it is keepers are not normally picked as captains because it is a little bit harder for them to function in the role as easily as field players could.

        Frankly, this is a non issue. Mikey will play and behave with his normally white hot intensity, regardless. Dolo, Boca, Goodson, and Jones have all been captains of their teams at one time or another.

        In Europe being named Captain is a very big deal but I think it is less of an issue with us. The USMNT does not lack for leadership, young or old, either on or off the field.

        • Arty says:

          Of course there is 1 keeper for every 10 field players so these high profile example carry some weight. Point is, regardless of whether Howard or Bradley has the band both need to keep doing what they’re doing…

      • Ives Galarcep says:

        I wrote pretty clearly that “Goalkeepers generally aren’t made captains.” Didn’t write “Goalkeepers are NEVER made captains.” A bit of a difference. And of all the national teams in the world how many have goalkeeper captains? Going to go out on a limb and say fewer than there are defender, midfielder or forward captains.

        Also not buying your notion that Bradley won’t be captain soon because there are older players available. Captaincy isn’t about age, it’s about leadership and respect and experience. Bradley covers the three well despite being only 25.

        • Josh D says:

          Back at you Ives: If the odds are slim for Howard because there aren’t many keeper captains around (I agree), I’ll wager there are more international keeper captains than international captains 25 and under.

          • GW says:

            Just as a point of reference, Claudio Reyna was named captain of Wolfburg back when he was about 24, maybe the first American to ever captain a Bundesliga side..

            It’s not always about seniority.

          • dikranovich says:

            well, using the 2010 world cup sample, three countries had goolkeeper captains, paraguay, espana, y chile. two under 25s also wore the armband, ronaldo, and hamsik, from slovakia. there were also several players that were 26 or 27.

          • Mark K. says:

            The interesting wager is to see how many international captains are keepers vs how many international captains where made captain when they were 25 or younger? I did some research with the Euro 2012 captains. Three were GKs (Lloris, Buffon and Casillas). Four were named captains when they were 25 or younger (Ronaldo, Lloris, Kuba, Rosicky). Three more were named captains when they were 26 (Lahm, Agger, Srna). Although this is a small sample, data seems to side with Bradley’s age over Howard’s position.
            Mark K.

            • Josh D says:

              Great research! Thanks! I partly asked because I wanted to know if anyone knew. Based on that pool, I could be wrong. But I’d look at the top 50 clubs (as ranked by FIFA) for a better pool.

              It’d also be interesting to see the average age based on continent.

              • Mark K. says:

                If you take clubs, that changes the dynamic entirely because club players are together for 10 months out of the year as opposed to 10 weekends like international teams. Club careers are in general longer than international careers. So, you might have a captain who is 24, but has been with the club since he was 8.

        • Seriously? says:

          I have no quibble with your statement that keepers generally aren’t made captain (my reading comprehension is strong enough to understand that ‘generally’ doesn’t mean ‘never ever in the history of mankind’), though I would adjust the reason why this is the case. I always thought that part of why keepers aren’t made captain is that the captain is supposed to be the only one allowed to talk to the ref, and this is more difficult for keepers to do since they need to stay near their goal.

  7. Dan M says:

    That goal v. Russia was the most clinical finish I have seen by USMNT since I began following in early 1990s. I won’t say it was the “best goal” or whatever, because the setting was not too significant. It was just the most precision, accuracy, audacity, and swagger. And shooting isn’t even his biggest contribution to USMNT. How ironic that instead of boosting his USMNT career, his dad Bob may have been throttling him and holding him back a little? Regardless, he gets my vote for captain hands down.

    • Benjamin C. says:

      I agree about the captaincy thing. But I think Feilhaber’s goal against Mexico in 2007 Gold Cup Final is at least that goal’s equal, if not better, when it comes to the criteria you outlined. Both are stupendous, though.

      • GW says:

        Benny’s golazo was more important because it helped get us into the 2009 Confederation’s Cup and that tournament helped get the US ready for the 2010 WC.

        Mikey’s golazo was technically better though.

      • Dave says:

        I agree, Benny’s was the best. I like to look at the reactions of the opposing team to tell me how good a goal was. El Tri’s reaction to Benny’s goal was priceless. One of my all time favorite moments watching the game. Or any game.

    • Mark Feilhardt says:

      the most clinical finish was Dempsey vs Honduras

      link to

      • Dan M says:

        good point, he certainly abused his defender and that counts as good technique too, but once the defender is out of the way the ball is on the ground and I would expect most USMNT players to place the shot similarly. I don’t expect most of the USMNT players, with the exception maybe of Dempsey, to hit a volley like Bradley did. That shot was simply audacious and perfect. Getting back to Ives point, I think Bradley and Deuce both have the confidence, but I think Ives is right that the captaincy is Michael’s.

    • Dan M says:

      The goals were similar, but Benny had way more time. Bradley dinged his off the post, so you can’t get any more accurate. Plus, Feilhaber’s role in that corner kick was to prowl and pick up any loose change, so he was waiting for that specific kick and did as he trained. Michael, on the other hand, was in the run of play and could have picked numerous other options, but he chose well and performed perfectly. So, it was clearly the most clinical finish. But good point, Benny deserves mention.

      • PD says:

        one could argue that having more time makes it harder, but MB’s goal was stunning in it’s display of training and technique.

        • Juan says:

          It was a great goal…no question… could he do it again? 2 of 3? Or was it simply take yur best shot and it worked out? Im leaning for the last option

          • ChrisB says:

            Id take the bet at this point. Do you remember his similar volley against Scotland I think it was? Jones chunked a layoff pass to him and Bradley absolutely smashed that ball into the back of the net from even further out. I guess maybe it wasnt as memorable since it was a 5-0 thrashing.

          • Andrew says:

            It’s not too different from his goal against Slovenia in the World Cup, which was also a full volley on the run and arguably an even more difficult shot.

          • GW says:


            If you applied your criteria to most golazos, I’ll bet most of them would fail your test.

    • Shane says:

      In terms of most clinical, I vote for Donovan’s goal v Slovenia when he blasted it into the top of the net. That my friends, is clinical finishing and it was in the World Cup.

      • GW says:

        I don’t know if clinical is the word. It’s more like terrifying.

        I’ve never seen a keeper turn his head away like that before. Of course, if he hadn’t he might have gotten a concussion.

    • Iggy says:

      I think bradleys goal against scotland earlier in teh year was better than the russia goal.

      • Mike in Missouri says:

        If we’re going most clinical finish ever, there’s a Clint Mathis free kick in 2001 that won us the game in Honduras.

    • Jacknut says:

      I generally like your comment, but I have to differ about most clinical finish: Mathis vs. South Korea (2002), Donovan vs. Brazil (2009), Donovan vs. Slovenia (2010), Davies in Azteca (2009) all come to mind quickly before this goal.

      OK.. I’ll admit it, the only reason why I made this post is so we can all have a nice little moment reliving each of those goals. :)

  8. atd says:

    Maybe we should start calling him Capitan Futuro. (Incidentally, I doubt this actually happens until after the World Cup. If Boca’s out, the captaincy will very likely pass to Steve Cherundolo. Available evidence suggests Tim Howard is next in line should ‘Dolo get hurt or lose his form/get beaten out by Timmy Chandler.)

  9. skyward says:

    What a player, really. The fact that he plays next to De Rossi, and Totti – quite impressive, and unprecedented. I honestly didn’t think he would ever be THIS good, but what a nice surprise. I also think its great that he’s Bob Bradley’s son, a man who was disrespected way too much on this forum.

    • Dennis says:

      Actually right now he is replacing De Rossi due to De Rossi’s unavailability

    • sandtrout says:

      Totally agree. MB has become much better than I ever imagined he would. Could be a truly dominant player in Europe and on the national-team stage for years to come.

  10. Phil says:

    Could not agree more.

  11. The Imperative Voice says:

    Either Bradley or Dempsey because they are playing appropriate positions for the title and seem to be leadership figures on and off the field.

    You would not want Howard as the captain because some referees don’t even want to dignify speech from someone other than the captain, and at some key moment where the ball is in the middle of the field, and play is either stopped or progressing, and a call against us, or overlooked, needs to be disputed, Howard can’t run out to midfield and engage in diplomacy or cajoling. The field players need an advocate, and having had one college captain who felt politicking for calls was rude and beneath him, I ever since have felt it important that a team have a captain situated to protect his teammates. Howard can’t do that.

    • Andy says:

      +1 I was about to post the same thing. Bradley is a better choice. Also, he’s still pretty young and having a constant captain and leader for that long can only be a good thing.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        I generally agree with the youthfulness theory with the caveat that if you appoint a relatively young captain it needs to be someone liked and respected. The co-captain I mentioned earlier wasa regarded recruit picked as a frosh and always seemed to re-earn his spot even though no one I asked seemed to have voted for him. If your young captain is not liked or respected then you develop a field leadership void.

        Bradley and Dempsey seem well-integrated and -liked where my concern may be academic but if you are picking young I think it’s unusually important to get it right. Lest people think this is totally abstracted, France 1998 was part undone by Sampson leaving his previously appointed Captain for Life off the roster entirely after the whole Wynalda-Harkes affair.

    • whoop-whoop says:

      Agree…. the goalkeeper position by its very nature already requires the position/ Howard to be a vocal leader. Armband or not, he is bossing the defense and already a team lieutenant. Giving him the Captains job has the practical restrictions listed above as well as wasting the opportunity to have someone else step up to assume team leadership backed up by formal authority and his managers trust. Its amazing how being given that responsibility can help a player grow. Bradley in his temperament and demeanor as well as quality and work ethic as a player certainly fits the mold.

    • Michael Stypulkoski says:

      For all of Dempsey’s skill he has never been a “leader” on the field. Being a great player and being captain/leader material are two entirely different things.

    • GW says:

      “The field players need an advocate, and having had one college captain who felt politicking for calls was rude and beneath him, I ever since have felt it important that a team have a captain situated to protect his teammates. Howard can’t do that.”

      Maybe you should tell JK this since he doesn’t seem to know it.

  12. THomas says:

    This is inevitable. It makes too much sense not to happen for the many reasons Ives points out.

    The bigger question would be does Bradley ever become captain at Roma, or another major club at some point in his future?

  13. Mike R says:

    He is playing much better since his dad left but I’m sure that’s mostly experience.
    Him and Dempsey are neck in neck since Landon has lost the “Eye of the Tiger”. But if Landon’s former enemy turned friend dies in the ring against Ivan Drago, watch out he might be back in play for the armband.

  14. Tim M. says:

    For those who are interested, Gooch’s missed clearance off a free kick led to the only goal in Malaga’s 1-0 loss against second tier side Cartagena today in the Spanish Cup.

  15. Stateside Supporter says:

    It’s time for this…I think there is a chance Boca doesn’t make the ’14 roster….

    • Alex says:

      You’re definitely not the only one that thinks that. That’s been in the back of everyone’s minds since the end of the last World Cup.

    • chris_thebassplayer says:

      I thought that was sarcasm. It’s been painfully obvious for two years for some of us. The sticking point was there was nobody in line to take over.

  16. 2tone says:

    I agree. He is truly turning into an outstanding player/midfielder/leader before our eyes. I would have no qualms with Bradley being passed the captains armband as soon as 2013 rolls around.

  17. anti rafa says:

    He’s only considered for captain because his dad is the coach!! Fire Bradley!! – Quotes from Idiots 2007-2011

  18. Dank says:

    Tim Howard has a bad habit of cursing his defenders after every opposing chance even if they weren’t at fault. Dempsey can become disinterested if he feels he isn’t getting calls, sometimes staying on the ground to pout. They’re both better players than Bradley, but neither would make as good a captain.

    • whoop-whoop says:

      I freaking love it when Howard gets after defenders. It’s a great outlet that helps me feel so much better… almost as if he is channeling the F-bombs I’m hurling at the TV screen right into the ears of the player. Keep the fire burning Timmy!

      • PD says:

        Yeah… until he lays a brain fart in the waning minutes of regulation (sorry still ruminating over this past weekend)

      • GW says:

        Maybe if Timmy yelled at his defenders BEFORE they screwed up, the mistakes would be less frequent.

        Spilled mlik and all that.

    • Seriously? says:

      Like it our not, keepers yelling at their defenders almost every time a shot is taken is pretty universal in the professional game, Howard is hardly unique in doing this.

  19. C(note) says:

    Remember when BB got canned and everybody crucified baby Bradley cause daddy wash the coach anymore and he would never see the field under JK….memories

  20. anon says:

    I have slowly grown to love Bradley, but what about Cherundolo getting to be USMNT captain for a year or two? Hasn’t he been captain of his Hannover team? He would deserve it based on experience and seniority over Bradley, who’s still a young pup all things considered.

    • PD says:


      So obvious yet I never even thought of it.

      If ever a player earned the right to captain through the hex it’s this guy. What a way to recognize the Mayor of Hannover.

    • Joamiq says:

      I don’t know about a year or two since I don’t know how long he’ll be around, but I’d love to see him get a few games before it’s handed off to Mikey.

    • Seriously? says:

      The only issue with this idea is that Cherundolo is seems to be getting to the point where he is often getting injured, and may be likely to miss MNT games either because he is injured, or because he needs rest and misses friendlies. If they’re looking for someone consistently there, Bradley is more likely to be at more games.

  21. Mingjai says:

    I’ve never liked the Red Wings, but I always respected Steve Yzerman for the way he played and led his team. Bradley has always had a Yzerman-like quality about him–the intensity, the grittiness, the enthusiasm. I say make Bradley captain sooner rather than later.

    • Dinho says:


    • Dan M says:

      Why did you have to bring the Red Wings into it? Next you’ll start praising the Steelers or something. Barfffff.

    • David JS says:

      that comparison came out of left field, but as a Red Wings hater, I always absolutely loved Stevie Y. I think he became Captain at like 20 or 21 but he was just born for that role. I think that’s actually a reasonable comparison regarding their styles of leadership, and I also think Bradley could benefit from getting the armband as soon as the Hex. It’s become obvious over the last 1.5 to 2 years that this team is not only Bradley’s for the foreseeable future, but it’s MB’s team already. The thing I think of when Jurgen talks about playing with our own “American style”, is Michael Bradley’s style. Technical and tactical enough to earn praise in Italy and infused with that distinctly American fire and relentless will to succeed. Mikey can lead the USMNT into this new era by example, I suppose not unlike Yzerman led the Red Wings into 20 years of success.
      P.S. It’s late, and I’m delerious. So to anyone who took the time to read this comment, if it doesn’t make any coherent sense, my bad.

      • GW says:

        David JS,

        All I would say is the Red Wings had their Russians and the USMNT has their Americans from Germany.

  22. H-town Fan says:

    Bradley is a much different player since leaving for Italy. His distribution and composure are far better today. I think those that defended him during his father’s time have a difficult time understanding the difference in his game when talking about nepotism.

    I think his play today warrants 90 minutes every game, but shouldn’t have been such a prominent fixture two to three years ago.

    • anon says:

      agreed – he was still played too much as a youngster – but it’s paying off for him now.

      • Eric says:

        My opinion is that the experience he gained playing so much has helped instrumentally into making him the player he is today.

    • GW says:

      Mr. fan,

      Who do you think should have been a prominent fixture in MB’s place?

    • Andrew says:

      Interesting that you say that. I think Bob Bradley simply played his son in the wrong position until early 2010. Michael suddenly looked a lot better for the USMNT when he was given more freedom to push forward, but this is something that his coaches at Heerenveen and Gladbach knew long before Bob did.

      Also, I’d like to point out that, if some Dutch kid named Michael Braadleij scored 16 goals in the Eredivisie from a box-to-box midfield role and turned out to be eligible for the United States, most American fans would have demanded that he be inked into the starting lineup. US fans underrated Bradley because of the perception of nepotism.

      • GW says:


        I disagree.

        Donovan has been absent for most of JK’s time. Someone had to take over as offensive catalyst. Since Deuce doesn’t do that Mikey was the next most likely candidate, unless you would rather hand the team over to Adu?

        MB is a different type of player and does it differently from Landon but it works.

        I don’t buy that Kid Nepotism is a different player since Italy. He’s just better.

        He’s not doing anything now he couldn’t or didn’t do before. He’s just more disciplined, more self assured and more confident.

        That makes an enormous difference. As boring as that sounds, those variables can be game changers in any sporting endeavor

  23. Older & Wiser says:

    playing regularly — I lament the death of the adverb, but otherwise, a nice piece and “spot on.”

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      Dramatic much? Haha. Wasn’t the “death of the adverb”, just a mistake. Was writing “seeing regular playing time” then switched to playing regularly, only forgot the ly. Glad you liked it though Evan.

      • Older & Wiser says:

        Yea — perhaps a touch of hyperbole . . . Knew exactly what you did because it was precisely the type of error I’d make, so I recognized it immediately as an edit after “regular playing time” . . .

        All in all, like I said the first time, a nice piece.

  24. Frank says:

    Right on Ives

  25. PD says:

    CHERUNDOLO THROUGH 2014. MB afterwards.

    • Bobb says:

      TOO OLD

      Like Bocanegra, there is a good chance he won’t even be starting soon.
      In fact, while we are searching for a Boca replacement (Gonzo, Besler, John, etc), there are already plenty of right backs: Chandler, Parkhurst, Lichaj, Beitashour, Myers, Loyd, Sheanon Williams, Sarkodie…

  26. Shane says:

    When he becomes captain, I hope he makes his dad coach.

  27. euroman says:

    Pretty slow day to do this article. Howard will be captain until he decided to retire.

  28. Dinosaur8 says:

    It may not be the most clinical… but when I think of clinical USMNT goals, I think of Clint Mathis in South Korea circa 2002. link to

    “That’s why he’s here!”

    • chris_thebassplayer says:

      That was one of the sublimely sweetest goals ever produced by an American player. The velvet first touch and nearly simultaneous shot all at speed between two closing defenders. If he hesitates for even a fraction of a second, the moment is lost…

  29. TGA says:

    what about Landon….not fair….obviously JK is just another EuroSnob…dissing the domestic league players…

    • Alex says:

      Yeah, he hasn’t given ANY MLS players a fair shot! It’s so clear that guys like Graham Zusi and Brek Shea should be integrated into the team ASAP, and that young guns like Juan Agudelo should be getting looks, but Klinsmann just hasn’t delivered!

      • BrianSLO says:

        I’m thinking it’s sarcasm. No sane person would even begin to think that Landon was deserving of getting the armband right now…given all his talk about retirement

  30. YO says:

    The arm band did not go to Howard just because after Bocanegra went out.

  31. deepvalue says:

    MB is the most skilled, hardest working guy on the field who can also give or take a hard foul and then walk away with his wits about him. I’ll never forget when Dempsey apologized for stealing a goal from him and Mike just said, “i don’t give a ufck” then touched heads with Deuce. The message delivered was – it’s the team that matters not my individual goal count. That’s the leadership of a captain.

  32. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    No argument here. Michael has earned it through and through. I think it’s cool that Bob bradley certainly took the USMNT and raise our level of play and now here we are a year or two later and his son could well be on hi way to helping us reach that next level. I’m not saying winning the World Cup. I’m just saying it’s undeniable that Bob helped us reach heights never before seen with this team. And now how great it would be for Michael to do the same.

  33. Michael Weller says:

    Dempsey’s head deserves the captaincy for its heroics in the Jamaica game. Of course, you couldn’t really call it the armband if you awarded it to someone’s head, but that’s just a small detail.

  34. Blokhin says:

    it’s been a joy to watch him grow into the player he has become… he was never flashy or spectacular, just always….there, doing solid work- for the U 20’s it was Adu and Altidore and Szetela grabbing all the headlines, but Bradley has had by far the most successful club career of that whole group… (I hope Altidore catches up and does even better)

    • atd says:

      Altidore’s a bright and increasingly mature guy with a ton of ability, athletic and technical both. If he catches a few more breaks with his club situation, in 2-3 years people will be talking about him the way they’re talking about Bradley now.

  35. Fourcents says:

    I like bradley a lot, and I know he’s on the path to becoming a captain. If I had to put them in order of who I think would be the next one though- I’d say Howard, Dempsey, then Bradley. Very happy with where he’s at though..

    • Bobb says:

      Many goalkeepers, including Howard are already pretty much captains. Making him captain is redundant. It should be a field player. And even Dempsey would admit that he’s not the type.

  36. pancholama says:

    Michael Bradley…….he comes from my home town.
    Princeton, NJ…….from the soccer holy lands of central New Jersey.
    We see the truth of the man maturing in our eyes.
    I am so very proud of him, and know that he has yet so much more to give.

    • Brain Guy says:

      Proud to have Bob B. as my college classmate. And Michael B. as captain of of the MNT.

      In the end we’ll agree, we’ll accept, we’ll immortalise.

  37. Fyn says:

    Bradley is the man – even though he looks like an adult version of Calliou

  38. Jason B says:

    You want continuity with a captain and Bradley certainly provides that. He’ll be around for ’14 and certainly ’18. I do think that it might be nice to give it to Cherundolo until Brazil as a way to honor his career.

    Not sure if the USMNT has ever done a testimonial game but maybe, just maybe, they can do a send off game after Brazil for guys like Cherundolo, Bocanegra, and Donovan.

  39. primoone says:

    If I had to choose one person on the team to go into battle with me…better believe I am choosing Howard. Bradley is great however, Tim in goal means more.

    • GW says:

      “Tim in goal means more.”

      I guess that depends on what you are looking for.

      Even the greatest keeper can do no more than hold a tie or a lead for you.

      Barring the very unlikely event of him scoring a goal, your keeper can’t actually win the game for you. Someone else has to score.

      Right now I would take Bradley over Howard because I believe Guzan can do what Howard can but I don’t know anyone else in the pool ( leaving out LD) who can do what Mikey i.e. put the team on his back and drive them forward.

  40. keith mattson says:

    Can’t think of a more deserving player. Just need to point out that there were many over the years on this site that accused him getting his USMNT spot through nepotism. They should be eating a healthy amount of crow. Best wishes to Michael who endured that B.S. like a true pro and let his play and accomplishments speak for themselves.

  41. chris_thebassplayer says:

    I’d make MB the captain sooner rather than later. None of the older players combine all the elements that make up a good captain. Howard can’t set the tone on the field…he can’t issue a hard foul on opponents that take liberties. Dolo or LD aren’t imposing enough to set teammates straight or imposing enough to protect them. Deuce marches to his own beat. The closest player would be Jones, but he’s mercurial with a streaky temperament, not exactly a player to rally his teammates. MB is the North Star, the focal point… he combines all the elements. It would be a bold move, but exactly the kind of move JK is prone to make. No egos to massage due to seniority, or face saving gestures, or short term diplomatic solutions, just a gut reaction for the player he absolutely knows is the one. I think the players can already feel it…it’s a no brainer.

    • DC Josh says:

      I would argue with you about Dolo. He has captained Hannover for a long time. And just because you aren’t scary doesn’t mean you can’t be captain.

      • GW says:

        This little debate would help if we all knew what JK and the players expect from a captain.

        The only time I have heard JK talk about what he looks for in a captain is when he named JJ captain for the Venezuela and Panama games at the beginning of this year.

        He spoke about how JJ was a regular starter on a Champions League team and how that would help Jones set an example for what was a very young and inexperienced squad.

        Jones seemed to really relish the job and he has always spoken with great affection about how he likes getting back with the boys. Fabian and Danny Williams are also like that.

      • chris_thebassplayer says:

        No disrespect to Dolo, I’m sure he’s a fine captain. It’s just a personal preference on my part to have a captain with an edge and some heat. Some captains take the high road. They are more introspective with a cool professionalism… very classy, almost above payback. I’d rather have a captain that would get right in someone’s face, nose to nose, to let the other team know that win or lose, they will have a fight on their hands. That’s MB not Dolo.

  42. Bobb says:

    I have been pushing for MB90 as captain since 2010 despite all the “nepotism” nonsense…
    But how many of these same people were Bradley bashers during the 09 Confed Cup when his temper flared up? 10 WC even though he was our best player along with LD? At Gladbach when they were terrible due to injuries even though he was one of their top three players? At the 11 Gold Cup? At Aston Villa when he couldn’t make it for a mediocre team/manager?

    Where are all the haters now? Were they the same group as the “Lazy Outthedoor” geniuses?

    • Bobb says:

      I forgot one: when Klinsmann was hired, and didn’t call in Bradley, and later said in an interview that his ideal pairing was Jones and Edu. Yes,over a year ago our brilliant manager actually said that in an interview, I remember it well….

    • chris_thebassplayer says:

      Probably a fair percentage. I was never a hater with MB, but I was incredibly lukewarm towards him playing a more advanced midfield role. He wasn’t clean with the ball… sometimes nearly robotic. I will vehemently disagree with anyone that says he is essentially the same player now as he was back then…The exposure to the tactical discipline necessary to play in Italy was a transforming experience. The way he played in the US game versus Italy, his positional sense, was a mindblower. I’ve always thought, and still believe his best, and most beneficial position for the nats would be as a 6. Even back in the day, I thought he had the heart and grit to be a captain…he just needed to continue to improve and harness the fire. He’s done just that, to the point where he is a consensus pick to be the next captain of the nats.

  43. Matt says:

    He will only get the armband if his dad gives it to him. Just kidding, glad those people that always cried nepotism can finally shut up. He is finally getting credit of his own.

  44. Joe says:

    I think G. Rossi, N. Subotic, or potentially even A. Johannsson are all in serious contention for the USMNT captaincy.

  45. Dan in New York says:

    Total B.S. Jonathan Klinsmann deserves to be captain!

  46. biff says:

    Sorry, but it’s a bit silly to be touting Mike Bradley at this time for captain (even though he now is a proud father, definitely a prerequisite for being a team captain :-). Yes, MB has improved immensely during the past year. But after his injury woes in October he has not yet fully settled in at Roma. No need to be putting even more pressure on him with news articles about his fated captaincy while he tries to solidify a starting role on a highly competitive team. Give the guy a break. And I imagine Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey might not fully agree that MB is “the best American player on the planet.”

    Never say never, but I would be stunned to see Klinsmann bypassing Howard, Cherundolo, Dempsey Donovan or even Jermaine Jones to name MB captain. And let’s not forget that the relationship between Klinsmann and Bob Bradley is frosty, to say the least. Klinsmann’s captain has to be someone that he can trust 100% and not worry about the captain sitting across the table from dad at Christmas dinner and telling stories.

    • GW says:

      “And let’s not forget that the relationship between Klinsmann and Bob Bradley is frosty, to say the least. Klinsmann’s captain has to be someone that he can trust 100% and not worry about the captain sitting across the table from dad at Christmas dinner and telling stories”

      What makes you think they have a “frosty” relationship?

      What difference does it make to JK in particular and the USMNT in general what MB and BB talk about over dinner?.


  47. Jamie Z. says:

    I love that since no one disagrees about Bradley being the obvious choice for captain, we’ve found other things to argue about instead. Carry on.

  48. Stephen says:

    I agree with you that Bradley will, and should, be the next Captain. Let’s not sell Boca short. He’s been a stud. They guy has scored more goals than any other defender and has been a constant in the side and generally in form (although that’s been slipping of late). He’s never had character issues and has a GREAT captain for the US. He will be missed. Thanks Blackmouth!

  49. JoshW says:

    What’s the point of a post like this, Ives?

  50. DC Josh says:

    Are you privy to something we are unaware of Ives? Or is this strictly an opinion piece? If you answer I suppose it will take away from the intrigue of the article. Either way, I agree 100% with you. Bradley has the cajones to handle the pressure of being a national team captain. He plays in the perfect position on the field for a captain, easily capable of communicating with his teammates and manager. Plus, he has (or should have) the respect of his teammates and coaches. It’s a no brainer, but I think Klinsmann approaches Timmy first. If Tim doesn’t want the armband, then Klinsi goes to Bradley to lead us towards 2014.