U.S. Soccer Pioneer Bradley Dies at 74; Helped Lure Pele to N.Y. Cosmos

Article excerpt

Byline: John Haydon, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Gordon Bradley, one of the pioneers of soccer in the United States and the Washington area, died Tuesday in Manassas after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Mr. Bradley, 74, is best known for helping lure Brazilian star Pele to join the New York Cosmos in 1975, a seminal moment in American sports history.

"He was a legend in the sport," said veteran D.C. United player Ben Olsen. "He was one of the pioneers of the sport who made it possible for us to play professionally and I feel very fortunate because of him."

Mr. Bradley moved to the area in 1978 to coach the Washington Diplomats, and helped recruit world-famous Dutch star Johan Cruyff. After the North American Soccer League (NASL) folded, Mr. Bradley became general manger of the Washington Stars. For 15 years, from 1985 to 1990, he coached the men's soccer team at George Mason University, compiling a 183-113-35 record.

"Next to Pele, Gordon Bradley is Mr. Soccer in America," George Mason Athletic Director Jack Kvancz said when Mr. Bradley joined the school.

Mr. Bradley was born in Sunderland in the northeast of England and signed with Sunderland A. …