Bradley excited to push barriers at Roma

Michael Bradley (Getty Images)

By FRANCO PANIZO

Michael Bradley started hearing whispers about clubs being interested in acquiring him from Chievo Verona while with the U.S. men's national team earlier this summer. There were plenty of options from both inside of Italy and out, but as soon as he learned Italian heavyweights AS Roma were serious about signing him, he needed to hear nothing more.

Bradley signed a four-year deal with AS Roma this past Sunday, completing a move that has been in the works for weeks now and one that further solidifies the U.S. men's national team midfielder's place in European soccer. For Bradley, the decision to join the historic Italian club was easy even in spite of him being a regular starter for Chievo, because, after all, these chances don't come around too often.

"It's been my dream to one day have the chance to play at one of the biggest clubs in the world," Bradley said via a conference call on Wednesday morning. "To be here now and to have the chance to play for Roma, it's something that means an incredible amount to me. To be here at a club with so much tradition, so much passion, so much history, this is what I've always dreamed of. Now that I'm here I'm determined to give everything I have to help make this team and help make this club the best it can be."

What made the decision to sign with Roma easier for Bradley was the club giving him a good sense of how much they valued him. New club head coach Zdenek Zeman rated Bradley's tireless work ethic, his ability to link the defense with the offense, and his nose for goal and that was made clear.

"They value what I bring as a player, they value what I bring as a person," said Bradley. "For me now on the field, to be a midfielder who in all parts of the game, in attack in defense, can help win battles, control the game, help the team play, help the team move forward, help the team score goals, and at the same time is then able to run and chase and close down and tackle and win headers, that's what I'm about as a player.

"Whether that is a little bit more an incentive or whether I'm playing on the right or left, I don't know. Only time will tell. But for me, that doesn't change what I'm about as a player."

As would be expected, Bradley had constant conversations with his father, Bob Bradley, about potentially joining Roma. The elder Bradley gave his son plenty of advice as to what it would take and how much Michael would have to push himself in order to be a constant figure in the team's lineup. 

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann did not give Bradley the same kind of advice, at least not in the same capacity. But Klinsmann was one of the first guys to congratulate the 24-year-old on his move to one of the biggest European clubs and he is eager to see how his important central midfield cog fares in one of Italy's biggest teams.

"Since Jurgen took over with the national team, he's encouraged every guy to challenge themselves on a daily basis, whether it be with the national team or their club team," said Bradley. "He's pushed every guy and then in turn pushed the team to improve. Did he directly have any [influence] in me coming to Roma? No, but he was one of the first to call me and congratulate me and tell me how excited he was for me and what a great opportunity this was. Obviously, he and I, as he does with all the players, are in contact on a fairly regular basis. In all ways, he's excited for me and excited to see how this develops."

Finding minutes at Roma will be among the toughest things the steadily-improving Bradley will have to do in his career. The club is stacked with talents like Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi and David Pizarro, and is as deep as most in Italy.

Bradley, however, is up for the challenge. After all, he moved out of a comfortable spot in Chievo to sign with Roma to push himself more than he has ever been pushed, the hope being that it will make him a better player both for club and country.

"If you're going to play at the highest possible level, to become the best player you can possible be, then you have to be ready to take these kind of challenges," said Bradley. "To have the mentality and determination and commitment that says 'Listen, no matter what, I'm going to go there, I'm going to fight every day, I'm going to show every person there that I'm a guy that has to be on the field in important moments,' that's a challenge. But it's an exciting challenge and the rewards can be big, so I've always enjoyed these kinds of challenges, and this one is certainly no different."

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32 Responses to Bradley excited to push barriers at Roma

  1. Taylor says:

    can’t wait to see him in the CL one day, should be real soon

  2. Dinho says:

    Nice write-up Franco. Looking forward to seeing him play.

  3. George3000 says:

    Good read. Have to credit the guy. Despite the obvious allure of joining a big club, he seems to recognize that playing time is no sure thing and that he will have to go out a win a spot.

    That being said, I’m not sure how much of a choice he had in the matter. Probably would have been very awkward to nix the transfer.

    If he is able to nail down a starting spot, it’s nothing but a good omen for future yanks abroad.

  4. RLW2020 says:

    talks and plays like a champion. Hope to see him starting soon and bringing success to Roma.

  5. George3000 says:

    By good omen, I mean it may kill off a lot of the stigmatism that seems to be attached to American players abroad. Yes, it has already decreased to a large extent, but I sense that it still lingers in some corners to varying degrees.

    My two cents.

  6. kurgen99 says:

    Good Luck Michael!!

  7. Mingjai says:

    If only the US could have a team full of Michael Bradleys and Clint Dempseys–guys that are truely fighters…

    Though I can only imagine the comments on this board about how half the team disappears in matches while the other half plays out of nepotism! :)

  8. THomas says:

    I think he grew up watching Serie A when he was younger, I thought I read that somewhere. Not a surprise given his playing style.

    Also kind of funny that M’Gladbach is in the Champ League this year and Roma isn’t. They should be again soon though.

  9. SD says:

    Hopefully a good number of people will come out to see Bradley play on Roma’s preseason tour. Especially with him making a trip back to the NY/NJ area – great opportunity for him to play in front of some of his old fans from his MetroStars days.

  10. zayss''fr/ewa says:

    If Roma play to their strengths they will be in the CL next season. AC Milan is weak with their best players having left. Inter is still topsy-turvy. Juventus though is the challenge.

  11. Really hoping to see him play for Roma on Sunday here at Wrigley. Anyone going?

  12. Felix says:

    I think he’ll do well at Roma, he’s got the talent and desire to succeed. He similar to Dempsey where he’s got that inner fire to push himself.
    I still can’t fathom what Aston Villa were thinking when they let him go and barely played him.

  13. Rebeldes says:

    Imagine: it wasn’t too long ago that Alexi Lalas was our (token, circus act) player in Italy. How far we’ve come — it’s quite clear that Bradley has earned loads of respect all over the country for his complete play.

  14. mwc says:

    When will people stop hyping this guy up?! The only reason Michael Bradley gets a move to Roma is because his dad is the coach. Fact.

  15. zayss''fr/ewa says:

    I thought it was because Obama was his uncle?

  16. bryan says:

    good luck bradley!

  17. danny says:

    +1
    Bradley is true professional. He want to help his team win in every way possible. While he might not be stellar at any one thing (thus the reason he’s often underappreciated by casual observers), he helps his team win. That’s his M.O. and anyone who plays soccer loves to have a guy like that on your team.

  18. Dennis says:

    I know his dad liked the play of AC Milan of the early 90s, just when Michael was growing up, and that he did see a Serie A game(s) while on a trip as a youngster.

    He has said that he watched them while growing up (and in NJ except for spanish language stations the only soccer on TV was RAI’s broadcast of a weekly serie A game).

  19. Michael F. says:

    Funny, how? Does he amuse you?

  20. sam says:

    I’ve forgotten most the backstory of Lalas in Italy, if I ever knew it. What was the deal? Did they overestimate him as a player when they brought him in, or was it always a PR ploy?

  21. F. Totti says:

    I love Zeman. Last time he coached Roma he was quoted as saying something to the effect that we do not need to be defensive, we just need to score at least one more goal than our opponent.

    Zeman is legendary for not giving stars any breaks. His Tuesday practices no one touches the ball– he wants a well-conditioned team working on fitness.

    He has a good track record of developing young players, especially ones hew wants attacking midfielders. So, this could be a great opportunity for Michael Bradley to learn from one of the best at developing talent.

    One thing MB must avoid is squabbling with Zeman. If MB becomes a regular, I see Zeman as one of the few coaches who could really help him develop. This is an area where he always shows commitment as coach.

  22. Michael F. says:

    Why would you rip on an American player who was a damn good defender in his prime and reached Series A when no one thought it was possible? Please note Lalas also chose to LEAVE Series A to help launch MLS (along with Ramos, Harkes, McBride, Wynalda, Balboa, Sorber, Klopas and Wegerle,) pure class and a class act.

  23. Will says:

    This is unrelated, but the recent addition of pop-up ads to this website is maddening.

    That is all.

  24. Jamie Z. says:

    AdBlock Plus. Sorted.

  25. Bump Bailey says:

    He chose to leave Padova? Ha ha! Nobody chooses to leave Serie A to play in MLS. He came back to MLS because it was the only place he would get paid to play. He was never more than a marketing GIMMICK. Please.

  26. Bump Bailey says:

    Hater! Yeah he sucks. C’mon take off the blinders. Top 5 American talent at least.

  27. SilverRey says:

    That begs the question Ives: do you get income from the ads or do you only get paid from clicks on the ads?

    I have yet to find an internet ad that enticed me to click on it.

  28. Jim Morrison says:

    Now I know what mwc stand for:
    MORON WITH COMPUTER

  29. Bump Bailey says:

    LOL!!!!

  30. brooklyn_jai says:

    if i was a fan of another serie a team, i’d be scared just looking at the photo. seriously, who would want to bet against an american android soccer player?

  31. mwc says:

    Oh, dear.

  32. mwc says:

    Jim Morrison: While I respect the effort, I suggest it is completely misguided. You and others have completely missed the point. Have a re-read of my post and lighten up.