Monday, July 18, 2011


My article got quite a bit of response, and I've posted a few emails here that are pretty representative overall. 

From M.S.:
C'mon Andrea, everyone knows what a mean and nasty bastard Wynalda is -- he's lucky to still have a job on the air with his bitter criticism of everyone and everything always leaking out all over the place.  And as far as Bradley is concerned, let's face it:  Bradley and Dempsey are the only world class players on the roster.  Their skill and determination stand out against the backdrop of all those others who struggle to even get a game or not get loaned out over there in Europe.  Just take Freddy Adu for example.  What was Bob Bradley thinking?
The guy has to go to a lousy club in Turkey to get playing time.    Anyway . . . it is obviously going to take years to build up a quality roster, and with Michael Bradley doing such yeoman work in the midfield, great
touch, great awareness, his competitive spirit is an advantage, not a handicap.  Nuff said.

From A.F.:
What a bunch of crap. Michael Bradley is the best friggin player on the USMNT. I don't know what games you're watching. The guy goes box to box, starts all the time, never gets subbed. He fights hard, has undervalued offensive and passing skills and never quits! The only reason he's not the captain is the stupid cries of nepotism.
What does Waldo know about playing holding mid? What an arse.

I'd point out that I didn't ever write that Michael Bradley was a bad player in my article. That wasn't the point. In fact, I think Michael is a good player in many ways, but apparently criticizing that one aspect of his personality (his temper) was taken by many to mean I don't think he is any good as a player. That's not the case. 
 Anyway, about half the emails were like the ones above. Others were like the two below.

From C.P.:
Very well written, fair and factual.  As the US public embraces soccer and becomes more educated, closer scrutiny will surely follow.

From B.S.:
Just wanted to compliment you on your reporting vis-a-vis the Bradley-Wynalda incident.  So many in the US soccer media don't seem to be able to report objectively on what goes on.  Thank you and keep it up.  Hopefully more will follow your lead.

 A couple of emails were from people who specifically asked me not to identify them, including one that I've verified is from someone who played for Bob Bradley for years. Below is an excerpt of that email.

 Former Player:
While I found Bradley to be technically knowledgeable about the game, I have never seen a coach suck the life out of a team like that; he took every ounce of joy, not to mention fairness, out of the game.


Dave Hahn said...

It is somehow not surprising that the Michael Bradley supporters overreacted to your piece, since that's exactly what Michael Bradley would do. ;)

I'm definitely in the "keep up the good work" camp. There is little, if any, attempt by American sportswriters to dig into the actual goings-on with the USMNT. Fans are constantly fed the company-line that all is well, but as our men's program continues to decline it is clear that something's up.

Darius said...

Isn't the prevalence of the former player's views a much more interesting story than a tiff that happens fairly often between journalists and the people they cover?

Anonymous said...

Spoken like true fans of Bob Bradley's spawn.

Anyway, yet another reason to kick Bob Bradley out as well as the people who continue to defend him. We have too much talent to be this bad and we should not settle for a such a man as coach.

Save us before you destroy us!

Jared said...

I can't believe someone would use the term "world class player" and Michael Bradley in the same sentence unless it was Bradley is not a world class player. If you don't play at Aston Villa you can't be world class. His supporters need a wakeup call.

I agree with Wynalda completely. He belongs on the team but based on his father's comments if you don't play for your club you shouldn't be starting for the US. If MB90 can't handle mild criticism like that I can only imagine how he must be when he is benched at a club. It's no surprise now that Gladbach want him gone.

A.C. said...

Darius, unfortunately, there's a good reason why the former player (and likely other former players who might agree with him) was reluctant to go on the record. Bradley is very connected in U.S. Soccer, via the national team and his many years in MLS. Going public with any criticism of him is likely to have repercussions. Now, any coach is bound to have players who didn't like his style, so it may not be significant that some feel that way, but the worry about expressing those opinions that keeps them generally silent certainly makes putting together an article on that aspect difficult.
Also, I'm not sure you're right about how common the "tiffs" are between players and reporters. Personally, I've never had one. Players who don't like what I've written about them tend to get their revenge quietly, like refusing all interviews with me and ignoring me in the mixed zone after matches. That's fine, that's their right. The only physical confrontation I ever had with a player didn't have anything to do with what I'd written.
When I was at the Coliseum this weekend, I asked a couple of veteran reporters if they'd ever been taken to task by players and they both said no, not in their long years of covering multiple sports had it happened.
Maybe it does happen all the time, though, to other journalists.

Anonymous said...

As a player who is being looked at for future caps on U-23 and hopefully senior team, i say great job getting this out there. Also i agree with what he said about Bradley. and what the guy above said about freddy adu, Atleast he is getting playing time. Bradley only played two games at villa. VILLA, they had a terrible finish to there season and he couldnt even get on the pitch. so what does that say about his "world class" play?? and when a team sends you on a loan its because of two things. 1 your not going to get enough playing time at your club
2 they dont want you around during that time but might want you back later on.
or 3 which is usally for older players like our jones to get a feel for another league they might want to try to move to.
Bradley just isnt good enough for top flight euro football. im not saying that am i yet . i still have a ways to go but he didnt deserve to be on that team.

john said...

What happens with Bradley's club season will determine a lot. I suspect he heads back to Holland, because the style of play suits him more. Plus, the US soccer public have a highly inflated rating of that league. So any success will be magnified by the US lens.

I'm having a hard time envisioning any team in a top flight league (England, Spain, Germany, Italy) handing over their midfield keys to Michael Bradley. Borussia Moechengladbach tried it and only a miraculous non-Bradley second half saved them from relegation. I think it's a next tier league for Michael and a mid-bottom table team at that. Or, maybe he stays at BM and gets loaned again?

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

There is little, if any, attempt by American sportswriters to dig into the actual goings-on with the USMNT. Fans are constantly fed the company-line that all is well, but as our men's program continues to decline it is clear that something's up.

So true, Dave Hahn, so true.

A lot of that has to do with the fact that sportswriters (reporters, in general) are a tight little fraternity that goes along to get along (to coin a cliche). Rent a movie called "The Year of Living Dangerously," Mel Gibson's first major role. He is a hard-working radio reporter who deals with a bunch of booze-swilling hacks covering Indonesia in 1965 (when Sukarno was cozying up to the Chinese and trying to be a big player in the "non-aligned" movement)

Then again, most American sportswriters are either so cynical that they don't care or so sentimental (Plaschke comes to mind) that they don't want their fantasies disrupted (just see steroids in baseball).

Let me put in good word for Andrea. She gets a lot of garbage from Bruce Arena when she asks questions at Galaxy post-game press conferences. But she handles its professionally. She's gotten more garbage than she deserves. She also works harder than the vast majority of soccer writers.

Anonymous said...

To be honest I wasn't completely on board with the way the article was written, but it's mostly a small quibble. Things like this need to be reported on. Thank you for not being just another fed mouthpiece (can't stress this part enough). The reactions have been interesting, and in some cases, telling.

Fernando said...

We still do not know why Wynalda is going after the players while the responsible parties are left out...Bradley and Gulati mismanagement of out NATIONAL TEAM are becoming a NATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT. That is the area that Wynalda need to work on...My vote for Michael Bradley...The kid have balls...

what'sgoingon said...

How in the world is Michael Bradley considered a world class player? You watch him play alongside Jermaine Jones and it is obvious who is the better player. I would like to see more insightful articles about the inner workings of the USMNT. But good luck on that one. The e-mail by the guy who used to play for Bradley at the club level is interesting. Is his sentiment held by some of the present USMNT player? It would be interesting to find out, but that is not going to happen anytime soon with the level of journalism exercised regarding the USMNT.