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Anybody else aboard the “Michael Bradley for U.S. captain” train?

Feb 6, 2014, 8:02 PM EDT


Since we’re into a lot of U.S. national team talk today (with our updated series on the U.S. roster outlook for Brazil … and if you haven’t taken a look, well, let’s get right on that, eh?) may as well extend the conversation a bit.

Because the call is going out from learned voices that Michael Bradley should captain the U.S. team that arrives in Brazil.

Seriously, is there a more obvious choice?

Yes, Landon Donovan seems to perform better as captain. And history has shown us that a highly motivate Landon Donovan is worth having. You could argue that a guy like that shouldn’t need peripheral elements to goose his motivational mojo, but he’s 31 years old, so he is what he is at this point.

Clint Dempsey’s has been Jurgen Klinsmann go-to as captain for the last few months. But that always looked like an ill fit (even before Dempsey began to struggle somewhat as a goal scorer). It was like a great suit handed to a good looking gentleman – and yet the suit just didn’t seem to fit.

Best guess: It was Klinsmann’s way of encouraging Dempsey to broaden his voice around the locker room. Dempsey is more of a “lead by example” type, and nothing wrong with that. But maybe the U.S. coach hoped to goose a little something more.

Either way, Bradley always seemed like the natural choice. Even more so than Tim  Howard, a pro’s pro himself, but not as important to the overall enterprise as Bradley. (Only because Howard can be replaced; Brad Guzan is more like a 1A than a 2nd choice. But there isn’t a player in the pool who can replace Bradley, the midfield brain and easily the team’s top passer.)

There is no one more introspective around the U.S. team than Bradley. There is no one who “thinks” his way around the game more than he does. I still remember listening to the U.S midfielder answer questions thoughtfully about 18 months ago after a match in Kansas City, always with something quite wise to say. And I thought then: this guy is the next U.S. captain.

I haven’t changed my mind.

  1. dfstell - Feb 6, 2014 at 8:27 PM

    I totally agree. Plus….wearing the armband kinda makes it hard for Dempsey to not start and I’m not sure he is a starter for the team right now. If it is down to him or Donovan for that same spot, I want Donovan.

  2. mkbryant3 - Feb 6, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    True. A no brainer.

    When there was a lot of uncertainty early on in JK’s tenure and then Straus’s article came out with many inside quotes questioning JK’s methods. Through all that MB never wavered in his team perspective and commitment. A true sign of a captain.

  3. jay1934 - Feb 6, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    I’m glad others think Dempsey should not be a starter. It’s questionable if he should be on the team. He hasn’t been productive over the past two years.

  4. konmtu - Feb 6, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    Should’ve happened by now.

  5. walling0022 - Feb 6, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    Really?? The back up goalkeeper should be captain?? WOW, nice article….

    • Steve Davis - Feb 6, 2014 at 9:23 PM

      Uh … where did you get that? Michael Bradley should be the captain. Michael Bradley is a midfielder.

    • mlsconvert88888 - Feb 6, 2014 at 9:43 PM

      um, is this comment just a bad joke?

      • midtec2005 - Feb 7, 2014 at 9:48 AM

        Not everyone does well in reading comprehension…

      • tridecagon - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:09 AM

        This comment is the result of a reading comprehension fail. Steve was saying that Howard isn’t irreplaceable on the field, since Guzan is a very strong backup in goal. Bradley’s spot in the starting XI is assured like no one else on the team. He’s irreplaceable as a player for the US.

  6. tonyolekanma - Feb 6, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    The USMNT captainship (controversy)[?] is beginning to look more like a diversion/distraction than anything else. Anybody who knows FIFA FOOTBALL understands that the team captain is not necessarily the best(or most productive) player on the team, nor is it proof of “leadership acumen”. It is more or less a POLITICAL SYMBOL!

  7. danielofthedale - Feb 6, 2014 at 10:44 PM

    I was a little surprised he was named Capt. after Boca was phased out of the team. I really do think he looks like the best leader on the team. He might not have the arm band going to Brazil but I would expect him to have shortly there after at the latest.

  8. rphillish - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:18 AM

    I don’t know if it’s time to give him the armband just yet. I feel like captaincy is a veteran position. I agree that Dempsy has slipped, but why not give it to Donavan or Howard, even though I don’t love a GK captain. I agree all the qualities are there, and he seems to have the respect of the players that a captain should have, but just wait a year or two.

    • danielofthedale - Feb 7, 2014 at 3:19 AM

      They guy is a veteran. He has been playing with the full national team for 8 years now.

  9. mdac1012 - Feb 7, 2014 at 6:40 AM

    I have been on the Bradley for captain bandwagon for a long time, I think they should have given it to him instead of Duece to begin with. Bradley is the best player on the team right now, and the best players done always make the best captains, but I think in this case it works. I don’t like the GK as captain because they are locked to the net, it’s very difficult to interact with the referee and your front line.

  10. rafibomb10 - Feb 7, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    M Bradley is a total boss. Is by far the most deserving of the arm band.

    Back when he first hit the scene, while his dad was the coach, I was one screaming that he only got call-ups because Bradley senior was coaching. I eat those words wholeheartedly.

    Michael is about as sturdy as it gets for the US and to me is one of the best talents the US has ever developed. He might not be as skillful as others, but his demeanor, approach, and his eye and knowledge of the game make him a one in a generation player. Not many should disagree with that.

    #MBradley for US captain!

  11. boscoesworld - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    Sounds good to me! If Clint leads by example then his recent example is flopping all over the place trying to get fouls rather than doing some hard skillful work. I’d take Bradley every time. He is level headed and is the engine that makes the team go.

  12. dmaster82 - Feb 12, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    Bradley should get the armband after this cup. All this talk of Donovan getting the band is crazy he won’t even be starting. Howard or Dempsey should have the band for now.

  13. schmutzdeck - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:58 PM

    The problem with this discussion is no one can tell me exactly what the criteria are for choosing the USMNT team captain and what exactly the job entails.

    I have seen captains chosen by the manager or chosen by the team.

    Sometimes it is the best player or sometime it is the most veteran player and he may not even play that much. Many captains are the extension of the manager on the field so to speak. Sometimes he leads only by example. Some captains are the guy the players can go to when they cannot go to the manager. And sometimes there are vice captains to help the captain.

    Some captains are “permanent” and some teams rotate captains. Some team captains are also the team spokesman, while some captains don’t talk to the press as much as the team’s star player (s).
    One thing I do know is that the manager is the one who usually decides on the selection process, the criteria and the duties.

    I’ve never seen where JK has defined all that for the public.

    Therefore, not knowing the selection process, the criteria for the captain and the duties, it is a little ridiculous to say Bradley would be a better captain and than Donovan, Howard , Dempsey or whoever.

    Besides the captain is for the manager and the team not for the fans.

    What is perfectly clear is that most of you would want Mikey to be the captain for your team. And of course that has nothing to do with the actual USMNT.

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