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dolcem
Post #1
Monday January 6, 2014 7:17am

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,805
Yes, this deserves its own thread, and I can't believe that days later no one has posted about it. [Edit: sorry about the typo. It's spelled Stabaek.]

This is a big moment in the history of American soccer. It's the first time an American has managed a first-division European side. If he succeeds, it will open doors for more American coaches in the future. At this point, European scouts have a certain amount of trust in MLS players (some can make an immediate impact in the EPL), but not yet in coaches. This is normal: Korea and Japan, similar to the US in terms of stature, history, and resources, export players to Europe but never any managers. The same goes for Africans. Mexico has also sent very few coaches to Europe, and you don't see many Brazilians in Europe, either, particularly after Scolari's debacle at Chelsea. Argentina is the only non-European nation to have a good track record at sending coaches to Europe.

Why? The first reason is the level of play: since the Bosman ruling, the best leagues are in Europe, and to a certain extent coaches are limited by the quality of the system from which they came. You won't see some manager from the Armenian league take over at a top European club because the gap in the level of play is so high...the Armenian wouldn't have the proper understanding of the players and tactics at such a high level.

Second would be that the European leagues are now miles ahead of the rest of the world, tactically speaking. Generally speaking, the European style of play has always been very organized and conservative and now that their money has made it the center of the footballing world, the game has become increasingly tactical, and only managers who have been groomed in these leagues have the tactical acumen to succeed there.

Another reason would be a combination of culture and psychology as well as footballistic issues. The style of play is everything in soccer, and players and coaches unfamiliar to a certain football culture always face a struggle in adapting. While most Brazilian players and coaches would struggle in the EPL, likewise, English players and coaches would fail in the Brazilian league, even if they are accustomed to a higher level of play. Part of this would be the lack of familiarity with the new football system, but part of it would be cultural as well. How could a Korean or American coach properly understand the European player and what makes him tick? How could they relate to him and what he has been through, growing up in such a strong football culture, going through a youth academy system, playing under the extreme amount of pressure and scrutiny that comes with European soccer? American and European players, psychologically and footballistically, are very different, and so would coaching them be.

For these reasons I'm not too optimistic about Coach Bob's chances. He is pretty old to be learning a totally new system and I'm not sure how well he'll fit into Norwegian soccer. I think he'd be a great fit in Scotland or a lower-tier Championship or even Premiership club. His strengths are instilling grit and professionalism in his players, and his teams usually defend and counter well. He has a very Scottish attitude and of course footballistically, his teams naturally have a very Anglo-style because he is the prototypical product of NCAA soccer from that era. I think someone like Greg Berhalter would have a better chance of success in Europe and I'm very disappointed that he failed to get Hammarby promoted last season (one point short). Berhalter is young and has been exposed to the European game: he is more familiar with the system and the culture of players there. I see coaches like him (and Cherundolo in a few years, who I believe will be the first really successful American coach) as having much more upside than, say, Jason Kreis, who is totally unfamiliar with European (ie high level) soccer. In a few generations we'll have lots of coaches who, as players, learned from the best (European coaches) and can pass that knowledge down to young American players and coaches.

But I digress. What do you guys think about the move?
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recycledhumans
DFWTX
Post #2
Monday January 6, 2014 3:33pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,467
Good to hear, but I kinda wish it were at a club a little higher in the European pecking order. I'm glad that it's at a club with recent European play, though they never make it past the qualifying rounds of the Europa League so they're right on the door step of showing what Bradley can do when he takes the reigns. Next stop, the Netherlands?

2tone
Ten-Towns
Post #3
Monday January 6, 2014 4:14pm

Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts: 10,574
It's cool he was hired, but it's not really some kind of watershed moment.

MSantoine
Post #4
Monday January 6, 2014 4:47pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 3,723
Since American soccer is so different from European soccer, with the transfer market and pro/rel it is very difficult for an American to walk into that. I think handling the transfer market will be the biggest challenge facing Bob, or any American to go to Europe. Its a huge animal that MLS doesnt deal with in reality with all the drafts and allocation methods. Also club soccer is much different from national team soccer as in club soccer its all about the year your in while international soccer is building towards a 4 year goal. Im hopeful for the best as he always seems to get his teams to over achieve.

recycledhumans
DFWTX
Post #5
Monday January 6, 2014 5:05pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,467
@MSantoine, good point but since Bradley hasn't been in a league in 12 years plus, that should ease his transition. He's focused more on the on-field tactical/squad-building side of it which translates to any league. He'll just need a primer on the schedule and the history of the club/league and he should no issue adjusting to the European model.

And unlike his past 2 previous posts, he'll actually be able to get rid of players he doesn't want or like, and bring in those he does, within the club's price range of course.

Jzaval01
Post #6
Monday January 6, 2014 6:59pm

Joined May 2013
Total Posts: 3,315
Bob is being looked over for what he has accomplished. It would have been nice if he went to the championship or a league like France or Spain. But unfortunately Thats the Ceiling that Europeans have for coaches that learned in the USA. Anyways from what was stated there is a youth movement in the club so it will def be exciting to follow what Bob can do and maybe take take Staebek to top of Norwegian football. It would be exciting if bob can bring some youth player from the USA with potential that might not be getting time or want a European move to make a name for themselves.

dolcem
Post #7
Monday January 6, 2014 8:34pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,805
Original post from 2tone

It's cool he was hired, but it's not really some kind of watershed moment.


Yeah it is. It's the first time an American coach has managed at a first division side outside of the MLS. It's massive. And if he does well, European teams will start looking at the MLS as a league that can export coaches. Guys like Kreis and Porter could make the leap too.
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oldkeeper
NY, NY
Post #8
Monday January 6, 2014 8:39pm

Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts: 165
Original post from 2tone

It's cool he was hired, but it's not really some kind of watershed moment.


Agreed. It's a nice thing for US Soccer but it's not like he was hired for the EPL, Serie A, or La Liga. I'm sure he took the job instead of another MLS job because it it a better stepping stone toward a major league though. He can cut his teeth in the European transfer market and get a better handle on how to manage vs. just coaching. A good and smart move for him, but not an earth shattering event.

Congrats to BB though. And good luck.

dolcem
Post #9
Monday January 6, 2014 9:03pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,805
Original post from oldkeeper

Agreed. It's a nice thing for US Soccer but it's not like he was hired for the EPL, Serie A, or La Liga. I'm sure he took the job instead of another MLS job because it it a better stepping stone toward a major league though. He can cut his teeth in the European transfer market and get a better handle on how to manage vs. just coaching. A good and smart move for him, but not an earth shattering event.

Congrats to BB though. And good luck.


The Tippelagen might not be the best league but until this point, no one in Europe has thought an American coach could even make it there. No one even wanted Arena, our best coach of all time. Coaching and playing the game are totally different, and countries like the US might send a lot of players abroad but never coaches. This is a big deal. More importantly, it matters for what comes after. If Coach Bob does well, it opens the door for MLS coaches to go to Europe, something that's never happened before and ultimately would have huge implications for the NT. Once guys like Jason Kreis can go abroad, the MLS will have proven itself as a legitimate league, one that can export players and coaches, and the knowledge they will pass on to American players and coaches afterwards (when they come back to MLS) will be invaluable. We're at the point now where European experience should be a prerequisite for the job, and so until the MLS starts exporting coaches to Europe, we won't have any American options. This is a very important moment.
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2tone
Ten-Towns
Post #10
Tuesday January 7, 2014 12:54am

Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts: 10,574
Original post from dolcem

Yeah it is. It's the first time an American coach has managed at a first division side outside of the MLS. It's massive. And if he does well, European teams will start looking at the MLS as a league that can export coaches. Guys like Kreis and Porter could make the leap too.


Sorry don't agree it's not massive. It's Norway a league that I rate below MLS.

It's cool that he was hired, and it's nice to see a first division team in Europe hire an American, but for me a watershed moment would have been if he would have been hired by an Eredivisie team.

EKneezy
Atlanta
Post #11
Tuesday January 7, 2014 1:05am

Joined May 2013
Total Posts: 3,292
I think it's a move that'll move him towards a big club in a few years. Do well and go on to a better league and he might even become manager of a Champions League team in one of the top four leagues.

hamsamwich
Post #12
Tuesday January 7, 2014 3:47am

Joined Oct 2013
Total Posts: 3,322
Original post from Jzaval01

It would be exciting if bob can bring some youth player from the USA with potential that might not be getting time or want a European move to make a name for themselves.
+1

dolcem
Post #13
Tuesday January 7, 2014 3:55am

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,805
Original post from 2tone

Sorry don't agree it's not massive. It's Norway a league that I rate below MLS.

It's cool that he was hired, and it's nice to see a first division team in Europe hire an American, but for me a watershed moment would have been if he would have been hired by an Eredivisie team.


But it's never happened before. We can say we think the MLS is better than the Scandinavian leagues (though that depends on how you measure them) but no one has felt confident enough in an American coach to hire one.

More importantly, it's not the 'caliber' of the league, however you measure it. Maybe the MLS has better teams and its best players are better (and certainly has better athletes) but that is totally different from coaching. Most of our coaches, Bob included, came from the stone age of American soccer. Considering the system that Bob came from, it's almost a miracle he can coach at such a high level. And I guarantee you that has something to do with the reason behind American coaches getting overlooked by European clubs.

As far as coaching goes, it's much more about the culture of the league than just the teams and players in it. Norway has a small population and has winter weather, so they can't produce enough quality players to make a good league, but let's not forget that they've been doing this for generations and have the know-how that we don't quite have yet. This is why they have produced players and coaches that have reached heights Americans never have, even if we are at the point now where we have a better league and NT than Norway.
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Jesse Marsch has claimed a personal accolade as he's been named Coach of the Year in Austria.
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