As the United States Men's National Soccer Team takes the field for its final tune up before World Cup qualifying begins, one player who has already earned his spot amongst the starters will be fighting as if he hadn't. The hard working Michael Bradley, who is the son of former US coach Bob Bradley, has quickly grown into a well traveled international player and a fixture in the United States' side.
The interesting thing is that his father's firing may have done more to legitimize him as a player than anything. No more can he be accused as being on the squad due to nepotism, not that he ever cared if people thought he was.
"That stuff never weighed on me," Bradley told ESPN. "It wasn't stuff that ever bothered me. When I say that I concentrate on the team and improving myself, part of that is having a mentality that says things that go on outside the team, off the field, you're not going to let bother you."
"I think he took a big step over the last year," says U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. "That move to Italy helped him tremendously. He learned a lot on the tactical side of the game, but he also, his personality, his maturing development made a big step. He's on his way to becoming one of the leaders in this group. He's on a very good path."
Bradley says that whether playing for club or country, he'll never be satisfied.
"As a person I'm more committed than ever to doing whatever it takes to get to the highest level. I've always been somebody who has had big ambitions and has set high goals for myself. I've always given all of myself to try to reach those."
Michael Bradley will take the field for the USMNT tonight against Canada. The game can be seen on NBC Sports Network at 7pm.