News flash: Bob Bradley, the new coach of Swansea City, is an American. He has a New Jersey accent and uses American words for things.
That seems pretty irrelevant in terms of how anyone should feel about Swansea’s performance lately (which, it must be noted, has not been good) — but it’s caused quite a bit of a stir in the UK, particularly when Bradley has used terms like, gasp, “PK” to refer to a penalty kick.
But how American-sounding is Bradley in the way he discusses soccer? According to the Wall Street Journal, not that much — at least not as much as purists of the sport’s origins may make it seem. The WSJ watched every pre-game and post-game press conference of Bradley’s since he joined the Swans, along with his appearances on BBC’s weekly highlights show, and kept track of his Americanisms vs. Britishisms.
All in all, Bradley stuck pretty close to British lingo. He never once called the sport “soccer” in favor of “football,” and likewise stuck to “clean sheet” (not “shutout”), “training” (not “practice”) and “dressing room” (not “locker room”). He did once use “PK” but the other five times he spoke of a penalty kick, he used “penalty.”
The word usage where he most favored his American background came in referring to matches as “games.” He called them matches 35 times but games 93 times.
The other area where he sounded most like an American came down to his accent, which is pretty understandable, as he has pronounced the Premier League’s name as “pre-MERE” rather than the British “PREM-ere.” Somehow, he did use the British version once, despite 19 times pronouncing it the American way.
The WSJ’s analysis should probably just reinforce how silly it is to worry about how American he sounds rather than on Swansea’s soccer — er, uh, football. But as long as the Swans keep struggling and look at risk for relegation, the criticism of Bradley won’t stop — relevant or otherwise.