Will Michael Bradley Remain U.S. Captain After Gold Cup?

U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley has been chosen as captain by coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Forward Clint Dempsey had been captain since 2013.dempsey and bradley

Klinsmann is talking like the move is temporary and was done to allow Clint Dempsey to relieve the pressure of being captain and just focus on his performance.

Dempsey has been under a microscope since a June 16 incident in a U.S. Open Cup match where his Seattle Sounders lost to the Portland Timbers 3-1. In protest of the dismissal of teammate Michael Azira, Dempsey was sent off for ripping up referee Daniel Radford’s notebook. He was given a three-match MLS suspension and a fine, and banned from the Open Cup for two years in addition to a second fine. Dempsey’s actions have drawn ire from many on social media sites including Twitter where he tweeted an apology last week for his actions.

The red card was the first of Dempsey’s entire life. Klinsmann understands that and sat down to discuss the incident with his star forward.

After the meeting, Klinsmann shared the following thoughts.

“I think it was just important to take the heat off of Clint. It was a dramatic moment for him. I just saw it on the Internet — I was still in Europe after the two games in Holland and Germany. It’s nothing you want to go through and he knows that. It was his first red card ever. At the age 32, that’s quite amazing. I was at a different number at that time.Things happen. It’s important that you talk through that stuff and try to understand the mindset of the player when he goes through a mistake. Coming up so quickly with this Gold Cup, we thought it was best to pass on the captaincy for the next couple of weeks to Michael.”

Bradley has worn the captain band the last five matches as Dempsey did not appear with the team. Without a doubt, Bradley is honored to be named captain for the Gold Cup.

“It’s a huge honor and a big responsibility, certainly one that I’m very excited about. But it doesn’t change who I am. I’ve said before that I am who I am, whether I was the captain or not. I always will be.”

I think Dempsey feels too much pressure wearing the captain band representing his country when he doesn’t even wear it for the Sounders. If he is upset with Klinsmann for making the move, his words definitely don’t show it.

“No, I mean, it’s cool. Michael is a great leader. He deserves to be captain. And, for me, I’m just excited to be a part of the team and try to push to win the Gold Cup and being a part of the Confederations Cup. I got to experience being captain at the World Cup. For me, that was something special, something I will always remember. It’s never been a big thing for me to be captain, even with the club team, Seattle, I’m not captain. For me, it’s not all about that. It’s just about the team, about trying to win games and about trying to do something special.”

Bradley is 27 and has played professionally since he was 16. Dempsey doesn’t need to wear the captain’s armband to be a leader. Bradley will do a fine job as captain during the Gold Cup and deserves to continue with the honor after the tournament. Klinsmann has every right to go back to Dempsey, but he should say “Thanks, but no thanks.”

And that’s as I see it!

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