US Soccer lures James Bunce from Premier League
Written by Simon Austin — February 13, 2017
US SOCCER has continued to overhaul its development programme by luring James Bunce from the Premier League to become its director of high performance.
In the newly-created position, Bunce will be responsible for creating a high-performance sports science and medicine plan for the federation. The move is part of a broader, holistic effort by US Soccer to identify prospects and provide them with the support and coaching they need to become world-class.
“There is incredible potential in US Soccer,” Bunce said. “There are five million kids playing the sport in the US. Our challenge is to build the most robust performance department possible to maximise that potential.
“I was happy at the Premier League and had just been promoted, but the scope of this role was just too big to turn down.”
The appointment appears to be an admission by US Soccer that combining the jobs of coaching the national team and overseeing youth development as technical director, as had happened with former coach Jurgen Klinsmann, was a mistake.
Last summer, US Soccer’s president, Sunil Gulati, acknowledged that the technical director’s job was “a group effort” — one encompassing not only talent identification, but also the youth national teams and coaching and referee development.
Bunce was named the Head of Elite Performance for the Premier League in October, but said he could not turn down the chance to work with US Soccer. He was named the head of elite performance at the Premier League in October, having been the League’s sports science chief since February 2014.