Los Angeles Soccer: TSV 1860 Munich
Michael Bradley took the field, where he was greeted with cheers by Aston Villa's faithful, but was in suit and tie for Saturday's English Premier League clash with visiting Fulham.
The U.S. national team midfielder, whose family lives in Manhattan Beach, had to put off his debut with his new club until his International Transfer Certificate arrives from Borussia Moenchengladbach.
So he instead was introduced the crowd before kickoff, saluting all three sides of Villa Park, and then watched U.S. teammate Clint Dempsey beat former UCLA goalkeeper Brad Friedel to lift Fulham to a 2-2 draw.
“I have spoken to people, and the first thing they always say about Villa Park is the heritage of the ground,” Bradley told Aston Villa's Web site. “They talk about Villa Park being a traditional stadium, with a great atmosphere, and they always say the fans are tremendous, they make loads of noise and they are really loud.
“I can't wait to play to get out there and play now. I am just excited to be here and ready to get going. That's why I have come to play in the Premier League. I want to play at the highest level and test myself in the biggest of games.”
He'll likely make his club debut Saturday at Blackpool and hope to make his first home appearance two weeks later against Blackburn. His goal: Make the kind of impact former Irish star Roy Keane made in the EPL.
“I have watched all sorts of games from when I was little, and watched midfielders, obviously,” Bradley told the Guardian. “The one I looked up to was Roy Keane and the job he did at Manchester United. The way he was able to be the engine and heart of their team and help them be successful was something to aspire to.”