U.S. Men's National Team

Klinsmann on USMNT staff changes: "It's about what's best for the entire group"

US Men's National team

Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com


TEMPE, Ariz. — A day after coaching changes within the U.S. Men’s National Team were announced, Jurgen Klinsmann shed some light on the unexpected situation. Just not enough light to offer real insight into why he essentially demoted his top assistant coach just two months before the World Cup.

Klinsmann met with reporters at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium on a sunny and hot Monday afternoon prior to the U.S.’s training session ahead of their Wednesday friendly with Mexico, and the head coach gave a bit of details as to why he has appointed former German World Cup winner Berti Vogts as a special advisor and moved Martin Vasquez from his post as assistant coach on the team, replacing him on the coaching staff with U.S. Under-20 coach Tab Ramos.

Klinsmann did not specifically elaborate on why the moves were made about two months out from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but stated that it is something he had wanted to do for quite some time.

“It is something that goes almost 10 years back because I wanted (Vogts) as a technical director in Germany when I coached Germany towards the 2006 World Cup,” said Klinsmann. “With Martin, it’s simply a professional shift. I have to make decisions with my staff to put them in the spots where I think they are the best in order to hopefully do well this summer in Brazil.

“Sometimes it’s a shift that doesn’t please everybody, but this is part of the head coach’s role. You’re not there to please everybody. You are there to put people, hopefully, in the best positions and get a job done. The job is getting out of the group stage this summer.”

When asked if the players had expressed any frustrations with Vasquez’s coaching methods, Klinsmann responded with an emphatic no. He also added that there is no concern from his end on the timing of the moves affecting the Americans as they prepare for a difficult World Cup group that includes Ghana, Portugal and Germany.

“Not worried at all,” said Klinsmann. “There are moments (when) it’s not about the timing, it’s about doing what is best for us as an entire group going forward. If it comes half a year before or year before or two days before the first game, if you have to do something you’ve got to do it and that’s my job.”

Michael Bradley shared his appreciation for what Vasquez did for the U.S. in recent years, but agreed with Klinsmann in that the changes will not have an impact on he and the rest of the U.S. players.

In fact, Bradley downplayed the notion that assistant coaching changes could harm the state of the squad.

“Look, we all have a great respect and great appreciation for what Martin brought to our team over the course of a few years,” said Bradley. “On that level, I think we’re all sad and disappointed to kind of hear that he’s moving on within U.S. Soccer. But having said that, if Jurgen feels that this is something that is going to put us in a better position come the summer and make our group that much stronger then we have total faith and total trust in that.

“Things like this aren’t really what’s important. The foundations have been laid, the big work has been done, and now it’s about making sure that come the first game of this World Cup, we’re fit and we’re sharp and we’re in a good mindset to make sure that we’re giving everything we have to do well.”

  • Chris

    Ramos is a huge upgrade. His U-20 team moved the ball better in their recent tournaments then I’ve see the USMNT move it in any game in recent memory.


  • Tork

    I continue to be impressed by Bradley’s professionalism, especially in light of his Dad’s situation.
    Hard worker, great player.


    • Duke

      In a way, it has helped Michael. By removing his father, it removes the constant question of if he deserves to be here or was here because of his dad. I don’t think this is even in question anymore but it was earlier on. Also, other players dont have to be so careful around Mikey if they say something negative about JK or other coaches.

      It’s a better place now for Michael and I really hope JK makes him captain tonight and from now on


  • +bottlcaps

    Th fact is that Klinsmann will leave no stone unturned in search of points in the WC. Hardly anybody gives us a chance against Germany, but a result may be needed if the USMNT want to move into the knockout stages.

    It’s a “know your enemy” plan, that if Germany has a weakness or a player that can be exploited somehow, Klinsmann with the help of Vogts may find it!.Having TWO of the former WC coaches from the German Team is a good start.

    Ramos has shown he can be a creative influence as well as a defense minded coach. He wil be a god fit.

    I’m just sorry JK didn’t pull the trigger earlier on this change.


    • Paul Miller

      Four points could potentially get us out of group. We have to beat Ghana in the first game. A tie against either Portugal in the second or Germany in the third could then do it.

      Ideally Germany would have six points going into the game with us. It would be nice to catch them in a game they didn’t really need.

      But it would be great to get a result from Portugal. I hate to sound like an untactical neanderthal, but we maybe ought to look at playing a 4-2-3-1 with one of the DMs just man marking Ronaldo. Otherwise, assuming we’ll only have one quality cornerback, Ronaldo will just keep putting himself in position for one-on-one against the other corner. I don’t think odds are good for a result in that game. (Of course the probable choice for that assignment is just as likely to also give Ronaldo his share of set kicks in dangerous positions…)


      • Increase0

        But we can have a Free safety just spy Ronaldo the whole game. We don’t need to use a center(midfielder) for that. How is a big 300 pound guy gunna stay with Ronnie anyway.

        =D I know what you meant when you said corner back.

        But yes I almost think 4 points is the best we could hope for, but I don’t think we can just have Bradley chase around Ronaldo. But then again he is really their only threat up front….

        Nani is bad. Postiga is on a Bench in Italy. 4 goals in qualifying came from Bruno Alves and if there is one thing Omar does well its be tall and win headers. Naw Portugal is beatable.


      • The Garrincha

        One would put someone like Jones on Ronaldo, not Bradley, You waste Bradley by making him chase aimlessly like that.
        Anyway chasing and defending is what they want to make CR7 do.


      • Bac

        Unfortunately, the best cover corner of all time has retired… but Prime Time will live in our hearts forever


      • TheFrenchOne

        you lose a fair amount of credibility when you talk about a “cornerback” on a soccer site…


      • The Garrincha

        Not necessarily French One,
        particularly if there is a game connection which enables one to see and understand the playing field and what we are talking about.
        Having a cross section of sporting analysis helps to greater understand all the tactical and physical implications of the game.
        This in the end will be the American advantage, once we understand how to incorporate all these pieces together.


      • Paul Miller

        Well, I wouldn’t want to upset French sensitivities so I guess I should have said outside backs. Lord knows pleasing the French is always the highest priority for us Americans.


      • Eric

        There would be no America without France. We shouldn’t walk on eggshells, but we should know our history.


  • Bac

    How long will it take Vogts to Technically advise JK that Evans will not be playing right back in Brazil?


    • Joe

      Ramos’ appointment got me thinking…Admittedly, this has nothing to do with the article, but how great would it be to send this group to Brazil?


      Wynalda, John O’Brien, and Bacon off bench

      Does this team make it out of the group stage?


      • keithbabs79

        It’s hard to take you seriously when your dream team includes Beasley at LB


      • Joe

        haha.. I had a hard time settling on a left back… go figure. I chose Beasley in his prime, not current form Beasley. Not sure we have a better option in USMNT history.

        Bob Bradley would start my lineup, but he’d sit Beasley in favor of J. Bornstein…..


      • Bac

        O say it ain’t so Joe… you were doing so well till I saw a guy at LB…


      • Horsewhistle

        WC 2002 called and they want that roster (sans Beasley) against Germany 2014, with goal line AR for those Frings balls.
        Kahn was this difference in that match.


      • 1st Time Caller

        I would replace McBride and Ramos and obviously Beasley (as much as I love run DMB since he was with my Fire, it just goes to show you how vexing left back has been for us over the years!)

        Going along with my Fire reference, I would have Carlos Bocanegra at left back actually. He was always stellar from that spot in Chicago, obviously he didn’t burn up the flank, but his long balls and service from the spot were special and an aspect of his game that I think is often overlooked. And when he moved abroad and really started playing with the MNT I was always surprised he never got more of a look there (considering how terrible the guys Bruce and Bob would trot out there were.) Keep Pope in the center and team him up with Gooch, Stevie out right of course.

        Definitely Friedel in goal. But I’d take a healthy John O’Brien over Ramos, although Tab would be #12 man for sure. Also, and most people will tune me out after I say this. I would start Jozy over McBride, (his current form be damned.) Claudio, Bradley and Landon no doubt. Dempsey.

        So McBride, Waldo, Aron Bacon backup strikers doesn’t sound bad to me. I’d also throw Cory Gibbs, Tony Sanneh, Benny Feilhaber, Earnie Stewart, Pablo Mastroeni, Stuart Holden and Beasley on my bench. Timmy and Kasey Keller backing up Friedel. Is that 23?


      • petit pont

        Reyna was a center midfielder and Ramos was best on the right.

        John Obrien played at left back for Ajax.


  • beto

    I like these moves a lot! Cant wait to see JK, Vogts, Jones, Fabian and others celebrating after they elimate Germany!


  • MikeG

    I think this is a focus on tactics. We may see a basic different overall approach to the USMNT more inline to what many continental European teams are doing. I think we will see more compact movement with and without the ball. I think the get it wide and cross it approach will be minimized (I’m all for crossing with numbers in the box). There will be a lot more running to stay compact with the ball and staying compact to pressure the ball when there is a loss of possession. I am predicting a major change to our game. I believe there will be more emphasis on getting players in the penalty area. We may not see much in the first half against Mexico with this change, but it should gel well in the second half. $.02


  • petit pont

    I think, even with this team, they make it out of the group only 3 times out of 10. With the current team it’s 2.


  • DC Josh

    So is Vogts joining the team full-time once the world cup camp begins? As far as I read in reports, he will only serve as an adviser and scout while remaining as Azerbaijan’s full-time head coach.


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  • Luke

    Good move by Klinsmann. He’s been missing his Yogi since the 2006 WC. Vasquez was never going to be the tactician Klinsmann needed.


    • Duke

      Maybe that 3-0 A$$ kicking by Ukraine convinced JK that Vasquez simply didn’t have it. How many times have we started slowly, looked bad then got better after adjustments? The point is that who ever made the starting lineup or made the game plan, consistently got it wrong. Was that MV? Who knows. We’ll see how we look on Wed.

      I still wish JK had a true play maker. Dempsey is not a 10 and never will be. I suspect we will stink on offense and Im sure Mexico will be sky high to beat us down. We must survive the first 20 in order to have any chance


  • Catamount

    This is an interesting move on several fronts. Having coached against Vasquez at the youth level, I always felt that he depended upon superior players. His tactics were pretty simple. “I have better players than you do so I’m going to put them in their strongest positions and beat you all over the pitch.” We knew what his team would look like and we knew they wouldn’t do much exchanging of positions, or tactical wrinkles. He fine-tuned the system and recruited great players so that it became very difficult to beat them.

    I’ve seen evidence of that effort to chose a formation and fine-tune in the past four matches, but it hasn’t been successful. The US simply doesn’t have the players to play a static formation and beat people all over the pitch. The inclusion of Vogts doesn’t surprise me because he and Klinsmann won a World Cup together. Vogts will be able to lend insight into the teams the US faces. The staff also has Herzog, who has a superb soccer mind.

    The inclusion of Tab Ramos is the most interesting part of this for me. Tab was a creative player that needed freedom to express himself on teams that were very static and defense oriented. The U-20’s tried to play that way against very difficult opponents. I think Jurgen and Tab have the same instincts and ethos about the game. Whether Tab is ready to establish the tactics for this World Cup team is another question entirely. I guess we’ll find out.


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