In a historic move for U.S. soccer, former U.S. coach Bob Bradley has agreed to become the new manager of English Premier League club Swansea City, SI.com has learned. The 58-year-old Bradley, who will replace Francesco Guidolin, will become the first American ever to manage a team in one of Europe's top four leagues.
According to sources close to the deal, Bradley won the job ahead of former Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs and former Villarreal manager Marcelino, who were both interviewed by Swansea as well.
The decision to hire Bradley was made collectively by three people at Swansea: Co-managing owners Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien and Welshman Huw Jenkins, who has been Swansea’s chairman for 14 years. They felt Bradley’s managing experience in various places gave him an edge over Giggs, who has never been a full-time head coach.
Bradley’s contract with Swansea will run through the end of the 2018-19 season.
Swansea is in 17th place (one spot above the relegation zone) after seven games, with one win, one tie and five losses. The club was taken over in July by a consortium of American owners led by Kaplan and Levien.
Bradley comes to Swansea from Le Havre in the French second division. He took over Le Havre midseason in November 2015 and came within one goal of promotion to Ligue 1 with a 5-0 win in the final game of the season. Before Le Havre, Bradley spent two seasons at Norway’s Stabaek. Despite being one of the most cash-strapped teams in the Norwegian top flight, Stabaek qualified for the Europa League under Bradley.
From 2011 to ’13, Bradley coached the Egyptian national team. During a time of social upheaval in Egypt and in the wake of the Port Said stadium massacre that took 74 lives and caused the suspension of the Egyptian league, Bradley somehow rallied Egypt to within a game of qualifying for its first World Cup since 1990.
Before Egypt, Bradley coached the U.S. national team from 2006 to ’11. During his tenure, Bradley’s U.S. team won its World Cup 2010 group ahead of England and reached the 2009 Confederations Cup final, beating a Spain team in the semifinals that was at the height of its powers before losing 3-2 to Brazil in the final. Bradley was fired in 2011 after the U.S.’s 4-2 loss to Mexico in the Gold Cup final.
Bradley coached three MLS teams between 1998 and 2006. He led the Chicago Fire to the MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup double during his first season in 1998 and the Open Cup trophy again in 2000. He went on to coach the MetroStars from 2003 to ’05 and Chivas USA in 2006.
Bradley got his start in coaching with head jobs at Ohio University and Princeton.