Bob Bradley has been unveiled as the new head coach of French side Le Havre AC.
The second-tier side are currently battling for promotion to Ligue 1 and under an American owner, Vincent Volpe, the ambitious team currently sit in fourth place in the standings and Bradley, 57, arrives with everything in place to succeed.
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In a statement on the club website, the former head coach of the U.S. national team had the following to say about his arrival in Normandy on a two-year deal.
“Becoming head coach of the HAC, France’s oldest football club, is a new challenge in my career,” Bradley said. “In the past I have already noted this type of challenge, particularly in Egypt and Norway. The leaders at Le Havre have demonstrated a real motivation, which I share, to build over the long term. I will put all my experience and my expertise to HAC’s service to help the club return to the elite of French football and lay the foundations for an ambitious and solid project. “
Volpe added that he was delighted to get Bradley on board as Le Havre have been searching for a new manager since September.
“First, we are proud to welcome Bob Bradley to HAC,” Volpe said. “Throughout his successful career, marked by success, Bob has demonstrated his management skills in the United States, Egypt and Norway. Undoubtedly, he is a natural leader with strong international experience and we are confident that his management skills and experience will bring much to Le Havre Athletic Club.”
Pierre Barrieu will join as a strength and conditioning coach, while Oswald Tanchot has also been appointed as Bradley’s assistant in a new-look coaching setup.
Bradley has spent the last two years coaching in Norway’s top-flight, leading newly-promoted Stabaek to a ninth-place finish out of 16 teams in his first season in charge and then a hugely impressive third-place during the 2015 season which only ended on Sunday. Stabaek had one of the smallest budgets in the Tippeligaen and Bradley worked wonders to have them challenging for the title and reach the Norwegian cup semifinals in each of his two years coaching in the suburbs of Oslo.
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The New Jersey native previously managed in MLS with the Chicago Fire and the MetroStars before taking over the U.S. national team from 2007-11 where he led them to a Gold Cup title in 2007, a runners up spot in the 2009 Confederations Cup and a last 16 finish in the 2010 World Cup. Since being replaced by Jurgen Klinsmann in 2011 he has traveled the world on an incredible coaching journey, as Bradley lad the Egyptian national team — at a time of huge unrest in the nation — to within a playoff of reaching the 2014 World Cup finals, before then working miracles at Stabaek and leading the tiny Norwegian club to Europa League qualification.
Many may say that leaving a top-flight club to coach a second-tier team who hasn’t been in France’s top-flight since 2009 is a gamble, but with Volpe (an American who made his money in oil and gas) purchasing the team in July and the side playing in a hugely impressive 25,000 capacity Stade Oceane stadium, everything is in place for Le Havre to return to the top-flight.
Now, it is up to Bradley to lead them there. If he does he will become the first-ever American coach to manage a team in one of Europe’s top five leagues.