US Soccer should retain Bob Bradley as head coach, maintaining the status quo.
This is the easiest and safest of all scenarios and when looked at analytically from a business perspective, this scenario makes the most sense.
I know, I know, you’re saying “What!? This guy is crazy. Makes the most sense?” Yup. It does – when looked at from the business perspective. Here’s why.
Soccer is a sport and sport is entertainment. We need only look at the NCAA to understand that sport, even in situations where the moral objective should take precedent, focuses solely on the money-making aspect.
Predictability is the most important aspect of the entertainment business. Why do you think so many movies follow the same formats? Or why popular music only really ever changes once a generation. The answer is because the people who are putting money behind it want to have some sort of model to predict what will happen to their money.
By retaining Bob Bradley, US Soccer will be making the correct decision based on the available information.
First, soccer’s popularity in this country has grown in the past 4 years. That’s not disputable. Maybe it hasn’t grown at a rate that some people would like to see, but it hasn’t stayed the same and certainly hasn’t decreased. TV ratings are up, attendance for MLS games are up, coverage of the sport is up.
Second, this US team is better than the team 4 years ago. There is more depth in almost every position. Bob Bradley has capped many players in this World Cup cycle and in doing so has created a strong US player pool and one that will continually create competition for US team roster spots – which can only be viewed as a good thing.
Finally, Bradley has turned this team into a winner. Gold Cup champions, Confederations Cup runner-up, met expectations of advancing out of their group, exceeded expectations by finishing top of their group. How many people get fired for meeting expectations half the time and exceeding expectations the other half? Not many, but that’s what Bob Bradley has done.
To do anything other than retain Bradley as coach would be seen as a risky move. Bradley offers stability and the knowledge that the program will see continued growth – even if that growth is small and limited.
So it all makes sense. We know what we get with Bob Bradley: steady and predictable growth. I believe, in this case, the old cliche applies: if it’s not broke don’t fix it.