LOS ANGELES — Bob Bradley has been named the first coach of the Los Angeles Football Club, the MLS expansion franchise due to begin play next year.
Bradley is the former coach of the U.S. men’s national team and the most accomplished American coach in international club soccer history. He had long been rumoured to be a target of the deep-pocketed LAFC ownership group, which hopes to make an immediate MLS splash when it enters the nation’s second-largest market to compete with the LA Galaxy, the five-time MLS Cup champions.
LAFC will formally introduce Bradley on Friday at the Natural History Museum in downtown Los Angeles, next door to the site of the club’s under-construction new stadium.
The 59-year-old Bradley has no players just yet on his new team, but he has a lengthy list of coaching accomplishments. He became the first American coach to lead a Premiership team last season, although his tenure in charge of Swansea City lasted just 11 games.
Bradley coached the U.S. team from 2006-11, winning a CONCACAF Gold Cup title in 2007 before becoming the only coach in 80 years to win a World Cup group and reach the knockout rounds in South Africa in 2010.
After leaving the U.S. team, Bradley eschewed MLS jobs and embarked on an international career. He successfully coached the Egyptian national team and club teams in Norway and France before landing with Swansea late last year.
He went 2-7-2 with the Swans, who replaced him with Paul Clement in January.
Bradley also has ample MLS experience, including previous experience with a new club. He coached the Chicago Fire during the team’s inaugural season and immediately won the MLS Cup championship in 1998.
Bradley also has coached the MetroStars and Chivas USA, the defunct club that once shared a stadium with the Galaxy. He left Chivas and MLS in 2006 to take over the U.S. team.
He is the father of U.S. captain Michael Bradley, now with Toronto FC.
LAFC still has no players, but general manager John Thorrington has been active in his pursuit of big-name players from Europe and South America. The club is expected to start announcing signings later this year, perhaps in August.