Gordon Bradley to be honored by the Long Island Soccer Hall of Fame

Published Mar 10, 2021

Gordon Bradley, who directed the New York Cosmos to their first North American Soccer League championship, is being honored again for his contributions to soccer.

Bradley will receive the Paul LeSueur Ambassador of the Game Award for his contributions to the sport.

He will be honored posthumously at the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame Gala on Saturday, March 13 at 7 p.m. ET. LeSueur, as it turns out, played under Bradley when the latter directed the team.

"Gordon Bradley embodied the spirit of the Paul LeSueur Ambassador Award, as he was the ultimate ambassador of the game on Long Island and across the United States," LISPHOF executive director Jim Kilmeade said. "His impact on Long Island's soccer history is immeasurable. As the head coach of the New York Cosmos, Gordon spread the soccer gospel to every part of Long Island. He gave countless clinics and talks and galvanized with his passion and personality."

Bradley, who was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1996, also made an impact on the local youth level. He helped establish the Massapequa Soccer Club in 1970.

"He not only helped start the Massapequa Soccer Club from scratch, but also the Long Island Junior Soccer League. He was the most humble person and many of us are still in this great game, as a result of the influence of Gordon Bradley."

As first coach of the Cosmos, Bradley directed the team to the NASL crown in its second season in 1972. He also was head coach during Pele's tenure with the club.

“He, and indeed everyone else in the club, spent more time propagating the gospel of soccer than in simply being coach of a pro team,” former Cosmos president Clive Toye told The New York Times when Bradley passed away at the age of 74 in 2008. “If you could take the soccer DNA of many of today’s outstanding U.S. players, you could trace it back to the Cosmos and Gordon Bradley."

While Cosmos fans know of Bradley's background with the NASL, he had an everlasting influence at several levels of the game, from youth to amateur to college to international.

After playing several seasons with Sunderland, Bradford Park Avenue and Carlisle United in his native England, Bradley emigrated to North America to pursue his soccer interests. He played with Toronto Roma and Toronto City in Canada from 1962-64 before moving to New York.

Bradley was a player-assistant coach with the New York Generals in the National Professional Soccer League in 1968 before joining the Baltimore Bays in 1969.

He also was player-coach of the New York Ukrainians, which captured the 1965 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the New York Hota side that won the 1971 Open Cup, while he was coaching and playing with the Cosmos at the same time.

After leaving the Cosmos, Bradley went on to coach the Washington Diplomats from 1978-1980 and became club vice president.

Fifth on the all-time NASL list of coaching wins (114), Bradley coached Pele, Franz Beckenbauer (both with the Cosmos) and Johan Cruyff (Washington) three of the world's greatest players.

He entered the college coaching ranks at George Mason University, directing the team to a 183-113-35 mark from 1985-2000. He was inducted into the George Mason Hall of Fame in 2006.

Bradley also served as coach of the U.S. Men's National Team for five games when he directed the Cosmos in 1973. He even put on a USA uniform in a 2-0 loss to Israel in Beersheba on Nov. 15, 1973, becoming the only man to be a player-coach of the U.S. Men's National Team. Bradley played on a backline that included Cosmos center back Werner Roth and future Cosmos defender Bobby Smith, who then was a member of the Philadelphia Atoms.

Former Major Indoor Soccer League and NASL goalkeeper Alan Mayer, one-time Massapequa SC goalkeeper Lori Walker and ex-indoor soccer standout Michael Collins will be inducted into the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame on Saturday night.

Fans can watch Saturday’s ceremonies via Zoom via this link:

Meeting ID: 872 0594 4471

Passcode: 209371