Tim Howard says he understands Jurgen Klinsmann’s job was to unearth new talent, but the U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeepeer says the team became too reliant foreign-born players that didn’t bring the passion required to represent the national team.
Speaking to USA Today, Howard was critical of Klinsmann, who was fired in November after losing the first two games of the Hexagonal round. According to Howard, the USMNT lost its identity under Klinsmann, and the goalkeeper believes it will be rediscovered under new boss Bruce Arena.
“Jurgen Klinsmann had a project to unearth talent around the world that had American roots,” Howard said. “But having American roots doesn’t mean you are passionate about playing for that country.
“I know there were players that came in that it didn’t matter as much to,” Howard said. “If you get enough of those players, one or two can get found out, but if you get enough of those players you lose sight of what you are all about. While it was a good idea in theory, it had its flaws. Bruce will 100% get that back.”
Howard went on to state his belief that “80 percent” of the next World Cup roster will come from MLS. The goalkeeper says there has been ” this rhetoric that has been spewed out over the last couple of years” about players heading to Europe, something which he sees changing over the coming years.
The change in attitude is widely expected under Arena, who is almost certainly going to look at MLS harder than Klinsmann. The latter consistently encouraged players to head to Europe in order to test themselves at the highest levels the game had to offer.
Now, following the change, Howard is glad the USMNT has a fresh voice to help guide them through World Cup qualifying and, in hindsight, he believes that voice should have come years ago.
“I think that internationally coaches should probably get a four-year reign,” Howard said of Klinsmann. “It is not club (soccer) where you get to spend $150 million on players, you essentially have the same core of players. You can trim the fat and bring some rookie in or a guy from college or someone who had a good season. But you can’t revamp it too much. What you need is fresh ideas, fresh voices.”