Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
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.”