It was long overdue
If U.S. Soccer wanted to be rid of Bob Bradley, it should have done so after a disappointing 2010
When most national teams would have switched managers, the U.S. extended Bradley's contract through 2014 and must have expected a different coach.
Instead, Bradley stuck to his practices of depending on his guys and the same conservative strategy that produced a few great moments — beating Spain — and way too many defeats — losing to Mexico in June.
Now the U.S. has a big name in Juergen Klinsmann to lead the team toward 2014. It looks good on paper, but the problems go well beyond the coach.
Soccer still second fiddle
Bob Bradley had his time and needed to go. Juergen Klinsmann is a smart hire — the U.S. almost got him a few years ago before a snag over salary demands.
Upside: Klinsmann knows international soccer. He did a fine job pushing Germany to third place in the 2006 World Cup. He also lives in California and is familiar with American players.
Downside: The U.S. soccer talent pool is limited. Young, athletic talents in this country, like Derrick Rose and Aaron Rodgers, turn to big-money sports, while soccer remains a second- or third-tier pro sport in America.
Expect Klinsmann to squeeze the most he can out of the U.S. team, but it's not ready to compete with Spain, Brazil, Germany, Argentina and other elite programs.
Change for the better
The U.S. men's national team could use an injection of life and Juergen Klinsmann might be the right man to provide the spark.
Five years after first pursuing Klinsmann, the U.S. has its man. He clearly was the top choice of U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, who never seemed excited by Bob Bradley.
Truth is, Bradley probably was not as bad as his critics said, but his approach seemed to run its course. It was time for a new voice, a new style and a new face on the sideline.
Gulati finally has a guy he believes in. It's time to see if Klinsmann can turn the U.S. into an entertaining, successful program. He deserves the job, and Gulati deserves a chance to see if his instincts are correct.
Baby step in right direction
I might be the last Bob Bradley supporter left, and I'll turn out the lights when I leave. The U.S. program needed a jolt, and sacrificing Bradley was the best way to provide it.
Juergen Klinsmann will be judged by how the senior team performs, specifically in Brazil in 2014.
But his biggest task will be to transform the entire U.S. soccer culture and development of players. That won't happen quickly.
It's likely the payoff of hiring Klinsmann will come long after he leaves as the national team coach.