Bob Bradley's latest trailblazing act has taken him to Norway.
Bradley, the former U.S. and Egypt men's national team coach, has accepted the manager position at Norwegian top-flight club Stabaek, becoming the first American to secure a coaching job in a European first-tier league (new Columbus Crew manager Gregg Berhalter coached Hammarby in Sweden's second division in 2012-13). Bradley interviewed with the Vancouver Whitecaps for their opening before spurning a return to MLS for the chance to coach in Europe.
If Stabaek sounds familiar in U.S. circles, it should. Mix Diskerud and Ricardo Clark both played for the club, which last won the Norwegian Tippeligaen title in 2008, in recent years.
In his most recent venture, Bradley came within a game of guiding Egypt to its first World Cup since 1990, but after going undefeated in the group phase of African World Cup qualifying, the Pharaohs were drawn against continental powerhouse Ghana in the playoff round. A 6-1 defeat in the opening leg sealed Egypt's fate, but Bradley went out a winner in the second leg, guiding Egypt to a saving-face 2-1 win in Cairo -- where fans were allowed to attend a game for the first time in more than two years -- before ending his much-lauded time in charge.
Considering the problems Bradley faced in Egypt -- politically driven violence, a deadly riot at a soccer game, a suspension of Egypt's top flight -- the challenges he faces at Stabaek should pale by comparison. Stabaek recently went through some financial turmoil and had been relegated, but it won promotion back to the top flight after a brief stay in Norway's second tier last season.
A scarf-clad Bradley spoke to Stabek's official video channel about the challenges facing him and Stabek going forward as he continues to break new ground for American coaches overseas: