PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) — Before talking about his soccer team and the World Cup, U.S. coach Bob Bradley wanted to discuss the death of a family friend since childhood and point out what it means to travel representing the country.
Army Col. John McHugh, who had known the three Bradley brothers since their youth in New Jersey, was killed this week by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, the coach said at the start of his news conference Wednesday.
"As we go through this whole lead-in, we keep trying to find ways with our group to not only talk about soccer but talk about how special it is to play for your national team, how special it is to represent your country," Bob Bradley said. "And things like this absolutely bring it to light."
McHugh, a former West Point goalkeeper, played American Legion baseball against Jeff Bradley, a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. He also played youth sports against Scott Bradley, a former major league catcher and outfielder.
Bob Bradley said McHugh, who is survived by a wife, three sons, two daughters and a grandchild, had recently taken a U.S. Soccer goalkeeper course "to keep himself sharp and active."
"You hear news like that and when you think what it means to represent your country, you think about obviously how important the soccer is, but how it's not even close to what it means to be somewhere else in the world defending everything," Bob Bradley said.
The Associated Press reported from Afghanistan that a suicide bomber struck a U.S. convoy in Kabul, killing 18 people, including five American troops and a Canadian.
Army spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver said Wednesday information on this week's casualties had not yet been released.
"He was a catcher in baseball ... a goalkeeper in soccer. He was a born leader," Jeff Bradley wrote on his website.