Stephens joins Bradley at Stabaek

MLSMJ100613182

Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

It always seemed likely that Bob Bradley would bring some American talent with him to Stabaek, and now he has that first player.

Stabaek announced on Tuesday that they have signed former LA Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens. The 24-year-old Stephens joins Bradley at the Norwegian club after leaving the Galaxy and trialling for Stabaek earlier this year.

Stephens, a four-year pro, will be looking for consistent minutes after seeing sporadic playing time with LA in 2013. Stephens played in 21 games last year for the star-studded Galaxy squad, but made just eight starts.

Stabaek begin their new season on March 30 with a home game against Sogndal.

What do you make of this development? How do you see Stephens faring under Bradley? Should Bradley bring over more Americans?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Americans Abroad, Featured. Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Stephens joins Bradley at Stabaek

  1. Annelid Gustator says:

    Almost always liked what I saw when I caught him on the field. Good luck, hope he does well.

  2. Alex says:

    Link attached not working?

  3. Fuegofan says:

    Matt Pickens is looking for a spot. He’s always been a good goalkeeper. Don’t know if they need one, though.

  4. nato says:

    it’s a small club in a 3rd tier league

    good luck BOB

    though hard to say there is no discrimination. He took a US side to the round of 16 in the WC. Remember we’re still an underrated side in the eyes of the Big Boys. Also we topped that group. not to mention a shocking runner-up in the Confed Cup. And he did take Egypt to the play-offs against 1 of the best AFRICAN sides ever.

    lets say if Egypt beat Ghana. would he have gotten PL or Bundesliga offers just on account of guiding 2 teams to the world cup? He’s better than Norway. Surely he would have gotten Championship or Scottish League offerrs

    • Mensch says:

      Not too many teams need a coach whose main strategy is to bunker down.
      As far as Stephens, I remember him for getting totally embarrassed by Chelito Delgado during the CCL semis.

      • Leo says:

        Yeah, you know, only Chelsea, Real Madrid that one time…minnows, really.

      • Increase0 says:

        Tony Pulis is a good coach. He is a bunker down hero. I don’t think much of the style itself but his results are clear. So there are some teams that need the bunker.

        It would certainly work in the English Championship, which is where most of us kinda hope bob would be.

    • GW says:

      nato,

      “though hard to say there is no discrimination.”

      You can always find discrimination if you look hard enough for an excuse.

      I am sure Europeans are skeptical of Americans in football. But you could also look at the other, more objective side of things.

      Bob Bradley could be a successful manager at any high level team in Europe, but he would have to find a club that would be willing to take a chance on him since he really does not have the experience and credentials they look for in a sure fire instantly successful manager.

      Top level clubs ( all of whom face the threat of relegation ) over there expect instant success and have zero patience.

      If you doubt me then just do a little research. Bradley has just enough flaws to make the people who make these decisions worried about him:

      1. His only club management experience is in MLS and he was never a player in Europe.. Yes he won the MLS Cup with the Fire but that was some time ago and more to the point, MLS has a very different format from any Europe league. We can assume that his “club network” of contacts for things like staff and players is next to nothing in Europe, unless you count his connections with American and Egyptian players and coaches in Europe of which I assume there are not a lot.

      Just look at MLS. NYFC have the money and the connections. They could to have brought in a high profile manager from anywhere on the planet but they brought in Kreis. Why? My guess is because he has proven he can win big in this league. He knows MLS. Are NYFC discriminating against non- Americans or more accurately non-MLS guys? The same principle applies in Europe, unfortunately to Bradley’s disadvantage.

      2. Bradley’s claim to fame is national team success with the US and Egypt, two middle level teams at best, with no real recognizable star players.

      In Europe football people see “national team manager” as a completely different job from that of running a big club.

      A national team plays maybe 14-20 matches a year, and only about half of them, if they are lucky, competitive matches that actually count. In 2013 the USMNT had 7 Gold Cup matches and 10 world Cup qualifiers for a total of 17. A club team plays about 30 + such games every season.

      Most national team managers are either former players who are looking to make a name for themselves, established club managers between jobs who are looking to bridge the gap, or older guys looking for a less time consuming retirement gig.

      Bradley can succeed with a top European club but he is far from an ideal choice in a “win now or die” atmosphere. He needs a club that really believes in him and has the patience to give him the time to acclimate to the European club management scene.

      If he does a great job at Stabaek for a year or two then he will be much better equipped to go looking for that top level job.

  5. David M says:

    “…the star-studded Galaxy squad”

    Barcelona is star-studded. So is Real. Maybe Chelsea and Juventus. Not LA Galaxy.

    • nato says:

      it’s more of a star-lacking or Galaxy-deluding

    • Ian says:

      con·text
      ˈkänˌtekst
      noun
      1. The circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.
      “LA Galaxy are a star-studded team within the context of US soccer”
      Synonyms: circumstances, conditions, factors, state of affairs, situation, background, scene, setting

  6. Brain Guy says:

    With BB at Stabæk for the foreseeable future, it’s time for SBI to learn Alt-230 ==> æ.

  7. Gerard D. says:

    Only thing studded about the Galaxy is the bottom of a boot.

  8. Meg says:

    Michael Stephens is a quality player who wasn’t utilized properly by Bruce Arena.

    Happy to see him getting a shot with Bradley’s team!

    • Chris says:

      Truth.

    • whoop-whoop says:

      I’ve always liked Stephens, his workrate. His options/ this move seems about right in demonstrating what he is… a reliable, steady journeyman who will probably have a long career as just that in lower leagues.

    • Helium-3 says:

      Yep +1 he is a good young player. Didn’t realize he already played 4 seasons? For young players (by MLS standards) it’s hard win a starting spot on a team like LA where there is pressure to deliver or else. It’s a good move for an ambitious player; forces him to adapt and compete against guys who live, eat and breathe soccer 24/7.

      He can’t go home and watch Sportscenter and forgot about soccer. Makes you a better soccer player in a short amount of time.

      • Cylo says:

        Stephens is one of many young Americans who couldn’t get any playing time in the MLS. I remember when he filled in for Landon during Landon WC2010. I think in that short time Stephens had 7 assist. The kid has talent.

      • Ded says:

        Um, what? Norway is a worse league than MLS. If he were a good player some other MLS team would havd picked him up. We are reaching a level where our fringe MLS players can get picked up by Europe 1st division leagues. Leagues that Yanks Aboard people use to think were better than MLS only a few years ago.

    • Phil B says:

      I watched him closely throughout his career. For what it’s worth, he was one of the best passers the Galaxy had, great vision.

      I’ll never forget that perfect long ball with the outside of the foot that fell for an in-stride Edson Buddle to bury past the keeper with a one-time shot from about 20 yards out against Chivas in 2010 – his rookie year. He’s had some other good ones since then, but that was the best…

      link to youtube.com

  9. Gary Page says:

    Having seen the vast majority of Galaxy games over the last decade or more, Stephens seemed like one of those unspectacular, but solid players who was good to have around. I was surprised the Galaxy let him go and wish him well in Norway.