Bob Bradley has been ousted as the coach of the U.S. men's national soccer team, U.S. soccer president Sunil Gulati announced Thursday.
In a statement, Gulati said it was time to "make a change."
"We want to thank Bob Bradley for his service and dedication to U.S. Soccer during the past five years," Gulati said. "During his time as the head coach of our men's national team, he led the team to a number of accomplishments, but we felt now was the right time for us to make a change. It is always hard to make these decisions, especially when it involves someone we respect as much as Bob. We wish him the best in his future endeavors."
Bradley's tenure included a wide range of highlights and disappointments. In his first year, he led the U.S. to a Gold Cup title, followed by two years later steering the squad to a shocking second-place finish in the Confederations Cup in South Africa. That tournament featured an impressive upset of Spain, a team fresh off winning the European championships and poised to go on to win the World Cup in South Africa the following year.
The World Cup seemed to sum up Bradley's reign. While the team started the tournament with a surprising draw with England and ultimately won its group following a last-gasp victory over Algeria, the U.S. was sent home after an extra-time defeat at the hands of Ghana, a result that left many fans disappointed.
The final straw for Gulati appeared to come at this summer's Gold Cup. The U.S., playing on home soil against a weak CONCACAF field that featured few quality teams aside from Mexico, never hit its stride in the tournament. A shocking loss to Panama in the group stage led many fans to call for Bradley's ouster. And when the team blew an early 2-0 lead in the final against Mexico en route to a resounding 4-2 loss, the cries for Bradley's departure grew even louder.
Gulati made today's announcement following a meeting with Bradley and U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn in California. U.S. Soccer said it would make "a further announcement" Friday.
Now, the talk will turn to who will succeed Bradley at the helm of the national team. Jurgen Klinsmann, the legendary German player who was in the mix to take the job when Bradley was hired five years ago, is one name sure to be bandied about in the coming 24 hours.
Whoever takes over the national team will face a challenging job. Many of the team's veterans such as Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Carlos Bocanegra and Tim Howard will be well into their 30s by the time the next World Cup rolls around in 2014 in Brazil. While the chief U.S. regional rival, Mexico, has managed to launch a resurgence with young stars such as Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Giovanni dos Santos, the U.S. has a far older team.
Up-and-coming Americans like Juan Agudelo, Jozy Altidore and Bob Bradley's son, Michael, provide many U.S. fans with hope for the future, but making the transition to a fresh young squad will be no easy job.
Fans may find out who will get the job as soon as Friday.