Swansea’s 2-1 defeat to Liverpool at the weekend proved costly for manager Francesco Guidolin. The Italian, who signed a two-year contract extension in the summer, received his marching orders after winning just one game so far this season.
The Swans, who currently sit 17th in the table, announced to appoint Bob Bradley as head coach just moments after Guidolin’s sacking.
What’s interesting about Bradley is that he doesn’t have the typical managerial background you would find in the Premier League. In fact, he has no experience of playing professional football.
The American professional embarked on a career in management at the age of 22, taking charge of Ohio University Bobcat’s NCAA Division 1 soccer program in 1981.
Two years later, he joined Virginia Cavaliers, taking up the role of assistant under Bruce Arena.
Bradley’s next move was one close to his heart. Attending Princeton University, he played for their soccer team, Princeton Tigers from 1976-1980 and after a two-year reign as assistant manager at Cavaliers, the 58-year-old was appointed head coach of his alma mater.
It proved to be a move worth taking as he guided the Tigers to two Ivy League titles, not to mention reaching the NCAA Final Four in 1993.
After his 11-year managerial spell at Princeton, Bradley was reunited with Arena, becoming his assistant at Major League Soccer side DC United.
However, It was his next move to Chicago Fire that redefined his coaching career. He was able to put an end to his assistant role, becoming the first ever head coach of the newly-formed American outfit.
Bradley guided Fire to MLS and US Open Cup in Four years in the first season and became fans’ favourite. He was named MLS Coach of the Year for his achievements in the same year. Chicago won the US Open Cup in 2000 again, giving Bob his third trophy.
Bradley resigned from his post following the disappointments of the 2002 MLS season and took charge of Metro Stars, now known as New York Red Bulls.
It’s safe to say the new Swansea boss turned proceedings around. He led them to their first Open Cup final in the club’s history while earning them a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Bradley’s spell was cut short at the end of the 2005 season, though, after a playoff spot looked increasingly unlikely.
His next trip was to California, taking charge of Chivas for the 2006 season. His first and only season as boss ended in promising fashion. After the disappointments of the previous campaign, Bradley lead Chivas to a third place finish, only to see their hopes of silverware slip through their fingers when they suffered a play-off defeat at the hands of Houston Dynamo.
The year 2006 also saw a step-up in Bradley’s career. Appointed as interim coach of the USA national team, he guided his country to impressive results and was later appointed on a permanent basis.
Under Bradley, America won the 2007 Gold Cup and were runners up in the competition twice in 2009 and 2011 respectively. It was 2009 that saw the USA finish second in the FIFA Confederations Cup too with a 2-0 victory over highest-ranked team Spain, ending their 35-game unbeaten streak, the highlight of their tournament.
A year after signing a new long-term contract extension with the States, Bradley made an eye-opening move to the Egypt national side. However, after failing to guide them to World Cup qualification in 2014, he received his sacking letter orders after a three-year reign with the national side.
In January 2014, he joined Stabaek of Norway to become the first American to manage a club in a European top flight. He was also the first from the States to guide a team to Europa League qualification.
France was his next destination, taking charge of Ligue 2 side Le Havre. He guided them to a fourth-place finish during the 2015-16 season, ending just one spot adrift of promotion.
Bradley was in the dugout for Le Havre’s first ten games this campaign, but when Swansea came calling, he couldn’t resist the move.
Despite criticism surrounding the recent appointment, the Swans can undoubtedly expect great things from their new boss in the years to come.