Michael Bradley: All About the USA National Football Team’s Captain

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Who is Michael Bradley?

Michael Sheehan Bradley is an American footballer who plays as a midfielder for Major League Soccer (MLS) club Toronto FC and captains the United States Men’s National Team.

Personal Life

Born on July 31, 1987, Michael Bradley hails from the family of Lindsay Bradley and Bob Bradley, a former coach of the United States men’s national football team and the present head coach of Major League Soccer outfit Los Angeles FC. He was born in Princeton, New Jersey, and lived in Pennington.

Growing up, Bradley spent his early years in Palatine, and started his football with Sockers FC, guiding them to a third-place finish in the 2002 National Championships. At the time, his father was the head coach of Major League Soccer side the Chicago Fire.

US’ Michael Bradley celebrates after scoring during a Euro 2008 test match between the national soccer teams of Switzerland and the United States at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, Wednesday, Oct 17, 2007. (AP Photo/Keystone, Laurent Gillieron)

He then trained with the United States Under-17 Men’s National Team Residency Program in Bradenton for four semesters, from 2002 to 2004.

Football Career

When Bradley clocked sixteen, he signed a contract with MLS and entered the 2004 MLS SuperDraft. He was a 36th-placed draft pick by MetroStars, where his father was the head coach.

MetroStars’ Michael Bradley #16 during the first half against the San Jose Earthquakes at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Saturday, May 7, 2004. The Earthquakes defeated the MetroStars 1-0. (Photo by Rich Schultz/MLS)

In his first year, Bradley failed to make an appearance for the club, after getting sidelined with a foot injury. He finally made his debut in 2005 and would go on to play 30 out of 32 matches for Metrostars.

He dramatically clinched his debut goal on the last day of the 2005 season, when he headed the ball in for Metrostar’s victory over Chivas USA, sending them into the playoffs.

Bradley soon became the youngest-ever MLS player to be sold when he was transferred to Heerenveen in January 2006 for $250,000.

He played a vital role for the Dutch-based club, as his five starts helped the club to an UEFA Cup spot in his first six months.

The American finally clinched a starting role in central midfield following Paul Bosvelt’s retirement after the 2006/07 season.

Michael Bradley performed superbly as he scored sixteen goals in the league and twenty in all competitions during the following season.

In 2008, he broke Fulham’s Brian McBride thirteen goals record for the most goals scored in a single season by an American across all European first division after he scored eighteen goals in all competitions.

Michael Bradley then moved to the Bundesliga, penning a four-year contract with Borussia Mönchengladbach for an undisclosed fee in August 2008.

Prior to the switch, he was reportedly meant to join Birmingham City, however, the Premier League side relegated to the second division, crashing his imminent move.

Michael Bradley emphatically opened his account for Mönchengladbach against Bayern Munich, as he snatched a 2-2 draw in the 81st-minute on November 15, 2008.

However, he got suspended after an argument with head coach Michael Frontzeck over playing time at the start of the 2009/10 Bundesliga season. The duo later made amends and he re-established himself as a starter with the club.

Michael Bradley secured a six-month loan deal to the English side Aston Villa. He made his Aston Villa debut on February 12, coming on as a second-half substitute after Jean Makoun was sent off.

His stint with Villa was a disappointing one as he made only three Premier League appearances and one in the FA Cup before Alex McLeish declined to sign him on a permanent deal.

Michael Bradley soon moved to Italy, teeing up with Serie A club Chievo in August 2011.

He made his debut on September 18, as a second-half substitute for Paolo Sammarco, and scored his debut goal for Chievo in their 3–2 victory over Catania on April 7. This would ultimately be nicknamed “The General” by the Chievo fans.

Michael Bradley then switched camps in the Italian League, as he put pen to paper on a four-year contract with Serie A giants AS Roma for €3.75 million in July 2012.

He made his debut for Roma in July in their 2–1 victory Rapid Wien and would grab his first goal for in his new team on July 25, in a club-friendly against Liverpool at Fenway Park in Boston, USA.

Bradley returned from the sidelines after a month-long groin injury to grab his first league goal for the Rome-based club in a 2–0 win over Atalanta in October.

His class and form for the Giallorossi earned him praises from ESPN writer, Michael Cox, who said that the Serie A are choosing midfielders like Bradley who “epitomizes the new breed of Serie A midfielder, who’s all about energy and hard running, rather than the typical number 10.”

Return To MLS

In January 2014, Bradley sealed a $10million move to Major League Soccer club Toronto FC. It was reported that both clubs agreed to two friendly matches at BMO Field within six years, and a player development program for Toronto FC players at Roma’s training complex.

He made his debut with Toronto in their season opener at Seattle Sounders FC on March 15, 2014, and opened his scoring account in the United States three weeks later in a 2–0 victory away to Columbus Crew.

He was soon named Toronto Fc captain, leading the team to their first MLS Cup Final in history after defeating Montreal Impact in the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals.

However, Toronto lost the final on penalties to the Seattle Sounders after a goalless draw, and Bradley himself missed Toronto’s second penalty.

On June 27, Bradley guided Toronto to victory over Montreal Impact to clinch the 2017 Canadian Championship trophy for the second season running and they went on to win the Supporters’ Shield with a 4–2 home win over New York Red Bulls.

Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley (4) holds up the trophy as the team celebrates a win over the Montreal Impact in the Canadian championship soccer final, Tuesday, June 27, 2017, in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto FC then defeated Seattle in the 2017 MLS Cup at the BMO Field, and Bradley, once again, led the team to the title for the first time in the club’s history, to clinch their first-ever domestic treble.

However, the midfielder lost a decisive penalty kick the shoot-out against Guadalajara in the CONCACAF Champions League Finals after a 3-3 draw on aggregate.

Michael Bradley’s Individual Honors 

Bradley has received a plethora of individual awards since his move to the United States. He was named the Red Patch Boys Player of the Year in 2014, the MLS All-Star in 2014, 2015, and 2017.

He was also named the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year in 2015, before clinching the CONCACAF Gold Cup Golden Ball in 2017. He made the CONCACAF Gold Cup Best XI in 2017 and 2019, CONCACAF Men’s Best XI in 2015 and 2018. He was also named Fútbol de Primera Player of the Year in 2015

Salary and Net Worth

Michael Bradley is one of the best-paid footballers in the Major League Soccer (MLS). He currently earns $6.5 million-per-year in salary with Toronto FC as his weekly wages are undisclosed to the general public.

Michael Bradley is also estimated to have a net worth of around $9 million.

Michael Bradley’s Physique

The 33-year-old has a very commanding physique which m give him an edge as he powers through any opposition’s midfield.

He weighs 87 kg, coupled with his 6 feet 2 height.

Michael Bradley’s Family and Relationship

In 2011, Michael Bradley got married to Amanda Barletta, a former tennis player who finished from the University of Rhode Island.

The couple is blessed with two kids, a son, Luca, born on September 30, 2012, and a daughter, Quinn Elle, who was born on November 17, 2014.