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Bob Bradley “was always number one” on LAFC’s coaching list

Club president touts first head coach’s experience.

Bradley and Penn at Friday’s introductory press conference.
Courtesy of LAFC.

LOS ANGELES — Bob Bradley was introduced as Los Angeles Football Club head coach on Friday, and spoke of his excitement of helping the 2018 MLS expansion team get off the ground. At one point he said, “My mind races with ideas.”

LAFC are also happy to get Bradley, a two-time MLS Coach of the Year who led the U.S. Men’s National Team to a World Cup, a Gold Cup title, and is the only American to have ever managed a Premier League team. In fact, they say he was at the very top of their list.

“He was always number one on our list,” LAFC president Tom Penn told Angels on Parade exclusively after the press conference.

“Over a year ago, he came to visit, checked us out in June of 2016, and that was more us trying to recruit him with the notion of coming back [from Europe] early.”

At that time, Bradley was in charge of French club Le Havre, which had just missed out on promotion to Ligue 1 by the narrowest of margins. He ultimately stayed on in France past the summer, but was on the move to Wales to take over Swansea City in Oct. 2016.

“We knew he had this potential opportunity to stay in Europe, end up in the Premier League, and that happened,” Penn explained. “So we started turning the page, like, ‘Argh, we lost our number one opportunity.’”

Bradley’s misfortune at Swansea, with him ultimately lasting just 85 days with the Premier League club before he was fired in December, turned out to be quite a silver lining for LAFC’s hopes of landing him.

“Then we all know what happened there, tough circumstance and so we brought him back,” Penn said.

Penn lauded Bradley’s experience, both in MLS and abroad, and compared it to LAFC executive vice president for soccer operations John Thorrington’s experience as a player.

“What I always wanted was a coach who had global experience and MLS understanding and sensibility. When you can get Bob with much more than that, because he’s got success of winning in those locations. And he’s won the Cup, he’s won the U.S. Open Cup, he’s won in MLS, he’s done expansion and he’s been in all the far reaches of the world, winning everywhere he goes. He’s like John Thorrington – half of John’s career was in Europe, and half of John’s career was in America. Bob’s similar, and that really matters when you’re trying to be a global club.”

While Bradley was LAFC’s top candidate, Penn noted the team still searched far and wide, and got plenty of inquiries for the position.

“We had a list, but other people had us on their list. I was really surprised and humbled by the number of coaches, global coaches, that had interest in this job. There’s a lot of interest in the overall project, so we spoke with some of the best coaches on different continents,” he said.

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