Los Angeles Soccer: KV Roeselare

EUROPE: Bradley ready for Chievo start

September, 7, 2011
Michael Bradley has been getting acquainted on and off the field with his new teammates at Chievo Verona, and he hopes to make his Serie A debut when the club opens the Italian Season on Sunday at home against promoted Novara.

Bradley, 24, moved from Germany's Borussia Mönchengladbach at the end of the summer transfer window last week. He had been searching for a new home after Aston Villa declined to extend a loan deal from the last half of last season and 'Gladbach reported he was no longer in its plans.

The son of former U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley -- considered a frontrunner for the open Santos Laguna job in Mexico -- has evolved into the most important central midfielder in American soccer and was among the most influential U.S. players at last year's World Cup. He had been linked to Italy all summer, with reported interest from American-owned AS Roma. Word of interest from Chievo Verona surfaced last month.

“We had heard for a few weeks that they were interested in finding a player in my position,” Bradley, whose family is based in Manhattan Beach, told U.S. Soccer's website. “They had watched me over a period of time and gotten to know me as a player. My situation was such that I was looking for a new challenge, and at the end of the day the people at the club showed a great amount of interest and that they were committed to bringing me to the club.

“I had discussions with the coach, the sporting director and the president, and I had a good feeling about what they are trying to build here. I’m excited to be a part of it, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of playing in Serie A for Chievo.”

The Serie A season kicks off this weekend after the first round of games was wiped out by a labor stoppage. An agreement between club owners and players was reached this week.

Chievo went 11-14-13 and finished 11th last season, 36 points behind champion AC Milan and 17 points out of a Europa Cup berth. Bradley believes the Flying Donkeys, as they're known at home, can compete for a berth next season in Europe.

“We can have a good team this year,” he said. “There’s a good mix of veteran players who will provide experience and some young, talented players. The mentality seems really good, which is important in any team. Because of the strike, there were no games [the last weekend of August], and you can feel that everyone is really excited to get going.”

ARMENIAN SURPRISE: Look who's suddenly in the Euro 2012 race.

Armenia, needing victories to stay alive in tight, tough Group B, on Tuesday stunned Slovakia, romping to a 4-0 away victory to climb to third, just two points off the lead -- and an automatic berth next year in Poland and Ukraine -- with two qualifiers to go.

Pasadena's Yura Movsisyan started the rout, scoring in the 57th minute, his fourth goal in seven Euro 2012 appearances.

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