Judging from his tone of voice, it’s clear which part of this weekend’s trip to Toronto LAFC coach Bob Bradley is most looking forward to.
On Saturday night, he will face off against his son, Michael, TFC’s captain and do-everything midfielder. Believe it or not, given their widely intersecting journeys in the highest circles of American soccer, this is actually the first time the Bradleys will go head-to-head on opposite sides of a competitive game.
LAFC and TFC played against each other this past preseason, but that’s hardly the same thing as Saturday’s game (8:00 ET, ESPN+), with Toronto fighting desperately for its playoff life and the visitors battling for postseason positioning in the Western Conference.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap
“There will be a whistle,” Bob described to reporters earlier this week, “and 90 minutes, and he’ll fight like hell to try to help his team, and not worry about what anybody says, and we’ll do our best around here to have our team ready to go. When it’s over, we’ll continue.”
When it’s over, they’ll take the rest of the night to decompress. And then Sunday morning, no matter the result, they’ll gather at Michael’s house, which will inevitably result in pickup soccer in the backyard with Luca, Michael’s young son.cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys
As fiery of a competitor as he’s always been and as much as he relishes the fight week in and week out, it’s obvious which day Bob is more looking forward to.
“Sunday morning, win, lose, draw, I’ll get to see Michael, Amanda and the kids,” Bob said. “The way our family works, that’ll always been special. In everything that’s gone on, we have to remind ourselves that the love of the game, the things that we’ve shared, nobody can ever take that away from us.”
They have always been a soccer family. One can argue, given Bob’s success as a coach and Michael’s as a player, they are America’s preeminent soccer family.
Bob’s coaching career began at the age of 22, when he managed Ohio University’s men’s soccer team while also getting his master’s degree in sports management. After that, he spent a brief spell as Bruce Arena’s assistant at the University of Virginia, then headed to Princeton, where he would spent more than a decade and where Michael was born.
Michael was around the game practically from the time he was born. He was omnipresent on the sidelines of teams that Bob coached, from the Chicago Fire to the New York MetroStars — for whom Michael would make his professional debut in 2004.