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Sporting News article raises serious questions about Klinsmann’s tenure as USMNT head coach

Juergen Klinsmann


There have been rumblings for some time of issues within Jurgen Klinsmann’s U.S. Men’s National Team, but a Sporting News article released on Wednesday provided some damning detail to the rumors of strife and unhappiness with Klinsmann’s squad.

The article, written by Brian Straus, contains comments from several unnamed U.S. Men’s National Team players, and people in the U.S. Soccer community, who have taken issue with Klinsmann’s approach to handling the team, and whether he is leading the team down a good path, or down a path to failure.

Questions about Klinsmann’s ability to coach the team, and perceived lack of tactical acumen sounded familiar to similar questions raised by Bayern Munich players after Klinsmann’s failed stint as head coach of the German powerhouse. The story also alluded to divisions within the team, and doubts about Klinsmann’s non-traditional methods.

“We do all this stuff. OK, it’s good for us and it’s scientifically proven. But in the end it’s a round ball. The Pelés and the Maradonas in the world weren’t doing all these things,” a U.S. player told the Sporting News. “I think we spend more time worrying about gyms and nutrition, and we don’t do enough of what we need to do on the field.”

That is just a sample of the behind-the-scenes accounts laid out in the Sporting News story.

What to make of the story? It is clear there are some players  aren’t sold on Klinsmann, and while there may be a case of sour grapes from players who have seen their roles with the team either diminished or not established under Klinsmann, there is clearly something going on behind the scenes that isn’t in line with the happy facade Klinsmann has tried to put on his tenure with the national team.

Give the Sporting News story a read and let us know what you think. Does the story have you even more concerned about the national team’s chances of qualifying? Think it’s just a case of some sour grapes? Will you wait to see how the team does in the upcoming qualifiers before putting too much stock into these revelations?

Share your thoughts below.



  1. Let be honest here. Of course the players are pissed off after the Honduras game. That was the most lifeless I have seen the US since getting creamed at Costa Rica in the last cycle. They looked confused and tired for 90 min. Klinnsman has a lot of work to do… However, qualifying for the World Cup is really the minimum that he will need to accomplish. Any of the top MLS coaches could qualify this team, they only have to finish top 3 or 4 with the playoff. A US team that steals points in Mexico City or consistently wins on the road in qualifiers, now that would be something.

    • I suspect this has been building for a long time. JK openly disrespects players in the press on a regular basis and that is not a management style that is ever successful with US pro athletes. If you look at other US professional sports, you will see many recent examples of this (Bobby Valentine is the most recent failure that I can think of). If you’re going to publicly call out your players in the U.S., you’d better win a lot and you’d better keep winning or else discontent will boil over pretty quickly. I don’t know if the attitude in Europe is different and managers do this a lot or if this is an individual quirk with JK.

      • I can name you a very successful US coach who routinely criticized players through the press: Phil Jackson – to the tune of 9 championships. I’m more in line with those who think the players need to step up and get used to the more cutthroat competitive environment JK is fostering. That’s why he was hired, and that’s what he feels is necessary. It isn’t easy to be one of the best and still face tough criticism, but guess what that’s life. Anyone in any demanding field faces similar issues and to be among the absolute best you have to accept and learn from it.

        I don’t mean to keep responding to you TomG, I appreciate your posts.

      • I’m not in L.A. but I don’t remember any comments Phil made bashing his guys. I def don’t think it’s been as consistent as JK, but please give me details if I’m incorrect. Phil also had so much early success that that gave him credibility and leeway that I don’t think JK has. Phil is also a master psychologist and seems to know exactly how far he can push guys where I don’t feel JK has proven that yet. Thanks for the response, though. It’s an interesting debate. Bill Parcells comes to mind as well. He criticizes players publicly as well, but he’s got a sense of humor, a rapport and championships to back him up.

  2. Good Article just hate the National Inquirer feel to it with all of the unnamed sources. Could be perceived as false accusations.

  3. When asked by a reporter what he told his Barcelona team before the UEFA Champions League championship game vs. Man United, Pep Guardiola said on live TV “I just told them they are beautiful.” There you have it. Nothing wrong with vague final instructions before a big game.

    • Exactly. If you need to be all pumped up before a WC qualifying game by the coaching staff then you are already not in the right frame of mind to play the game.

      Pretty disturbing that there are so many whiny USMNT players in the player pool.

      • I was being somewhat sarcastic, cause I forgot to remind you that Guardiola had Messi, Puyol, Alves, Pique, Xavi, Ibrahimovic on the team. Here’s another quote. Arsene Wenger: “My job is not to motivate players, my job is to help players who are already motivated.”

      • I think the biggest issue raised by the article is that the team lacks a tactical understanding. I dont have a problem with coaches saying “express yourself” but it has to be in the context of a system of play that the players UNDERSTAND and HAVE TRAINED UNDER. If the article is saying that the tactics are unclear or untested, that is a problem. Huge.

  4. So there is some internal strife; oh boy no team has ever had that before right? (sarcasm).

    1. Man up players stop griping to a media member.
    2. We all know Klinsmann isn’t a tactical genius.
    3. Man up players. You play on the field not the coaching staff.
    4. What absolute poor timing for this article, but hey Sporting News is in the biz to sell news.
    5. I don’t know who is whining about the German-American influence, but man up if you aren’t playing well then another player will take your spot.

    What I got out of this: There are a lot of whiny, legacy type of USMNT players(disturbing you earn your spot on the team, it’s not given to you), and that Klinsmann isn’t a tactical genius(which we all already knew).


    • I agree that it was in very bad taste for the Sporting News to publish this article right before a huge game for us. Especially since they are quoting anonymous players and people “who have reliable connections.”

      We have no idea who they even spoke with for this article.

      I hope the players don’t read it.

    • I pretty much disagree. When players are asked to perform in situations that are difficult at best, they will react when they do not get support form their coach and their teammates. It is not always pretty how they react, but it is not surprising that when the coach makes public criticisms of the team that they will retaliate someway (but players are not the ones in positions of power, so of course they do not disrespect their boss in public, unless they have had enough and are ready to quit, they do it anonymously, or even they may even exhibit malicious compliance, hurting themselves and the team in the process).

      Klinsmann’s public statements are a big problem, anyone who did not see that from the start just hasn’t been paying attention.

    • Man management is a huge part of managing. Why do you think Sir Alex is so renowned and successful? Certainly not for his tactics which are nothing special. The ability to get the best out of your players and motivate them is probably THE most important aspect of managing.

  5. Why is this piece dropping now in the Sporting News and not a few weeks ago? I ask because this group has more than enough stress to deal with for the upcoming matches and now this drops. It’s not a desirable distraction for us and if they perform badly Friday then it’s just that much more pressure on this team. Unfortunately, the writer confirms alot of the things that I’ve heard through the Grapevine ranging from training to tactics to not being clear with players. One quote in this article that really bothers me is
    “…It’s not the same routine they were used to before we came on board. And my job is to elevate the program and I can’t do that by doing the exact same of what they did before me,” Klinsmann said. Aren’t a number of the current players those who have gotten more playing time under him due to changes within the team?
    It reads to me that he’s not stepping up and taking responsibility for a team he’s put together. He’s had been the manager since July 2011. This team should have a clear view of what’s expected on the field and how to play under him. I’ve never gotten that impression since he took the job. He has no more excuses, yeah we have players hurt going into the upcoming matches but the lack of clarity in terms of how we play on the field shouldn’t be an issue almost 2 years into his tenure as head coach.

    • Not really. There’s still 21 points left. Last cycle Mexico lost 3 games, though not their first 3, and wound up with 19 points and second in the group. 3rd & 4th were at 16 points. So, 0-3, then 12 points from the remaining 4 home games, then 1-1-1 on the road gets 16. Don’t forget, we’ve already played Mexico & Honduras away at this point.

  6. Some of the players are upset Bocanegra didn’t play against Honduras and then the team lost. That’s actually really predictable. Everyone loves Bocanegra. Klinsmann is paid to make the brutal decisions like retiring the captain. A couple of wins will make everyone feel better. I’m with Klinsmann until he fails. I think the team will qualify and Klinsmann will be the coach next summer and then after the World Cup we can look at a coaching change. Because yeah I haven’t been blown away by the Klinsmann era–but he hasn’t failed yet either. Go USA!

  7. I think this article frames the comments made be Bruce Arena regarding having the German-Americans play for the USMNT. Clearly some of these issues have been discussed behind closed doors by the players to others in professional circles.

    With all of that said, I understand what Klinsmann is doing, I just think it more of the role of a technical director. I think he definitely needs to bring in someone with the tactical ability that has been long questioned by critics of his managing style.

    • The US team under Arena and Bradley were always known for their superior fitness levels. If nothing else, our team could always outrun and outwork the opposition.

      Now, we have this alleged fitness guru, with all his emphasis on fitness, yet the team is so obviously dragging in the last 15-20 minutes of almost every non-friendly (friendlies allow six subs) under Klinsmann.

      How did we go from being so fit to lacking fitness under the leadership of a fitness proponent??

      • From what we can gather the team is over-training when they get together. As a result they have dead legs come matches.

  8. I think this article indicates that Klinsmann is doing exactly what he was brought in to do. Change the culture from hand holding to a real national team where players are expected to execute and are held to that task.

    Earn your spot. Nobody gets special treatment. Be creative. Be smart. You create the game on the field, not in a strategy session beforehand.

    This is what we asked for–a culture change. Is it surprising that players rebel against the cushy environment we had prior?

    • Agree with you, but Mike in Missouri has a point. Players need to show up ready to ball, but they kinda have to know how to play togther. Barca, for example, gets a rep for being an intuitively creative team, but that “intuition” was taught to them, was crafted over years and years of growing up at an academy. A game plan would certainly help.

    • If by culture change you mean no system, no cohesion, stupid motivational speakers, releasing rosters late, handling players poorly, special treatment to germans just to name a few then yes there has been a culture change. Ask bayern how his culture change turned out. I love how people keep reaching to try and rationilize what jk is doing.

    • I think we’re forgetting some basic facts here.

      1. Just 25-30 years ago, the US was on the same level with the likes of Bahamas and Lybia. The US just didn’t exist on anyone’s soccer map of the world.

      2. Soccer is not sport #1 in this country. It’s not even # 2 or 3.

      3. The US still hasn’t produced any world class players. A few decent international level players, but nothing more.

      4. At the same time, this century, the US has already made it to a WC quarterfinal and the round of 16 — something that many countries with the soccer pedigree far exceeding that of the US (and frankly better players) haven’t been able to do. The bottom line, given where the game is in this country and the level of players we produce, the US has overachieved greatly.

      So, why the heck do we need a major culture change??

      • I agree with your post, except so many people on this board and elsewhere have demanded a culture change for years.
        People hated Bob’s “empty bucket” counter-attack. Hated it. They demanded more possession and, I guess, a style they liked better.
        JK is just doing what he was hired to do. My guess is at some point he will be fired and our nats will go back to what we know and are comfortable doing – keeping the score low and trying to find a way to surprise a bigger team.

    • hang on while I try to make sense of this… “This is what we asked for–a culture change”……culture change by itself is good? or culture change for the better is good? you realize they are not the same, correct?

      “nobody gets special treatment”-this mus be a joke to generate replies… what do you call the Timmy Chandler situation?

      “You create the game on the field, not in a strategy session beforehand.”- how much experience in soccer do you actually have? Any? A certain style of play is developed in training, repeated consistenyl and implemented in a game when players are ready to execute it…..Did Total Football just happened on its own, or did someone create it, coach it and find players who could execute? Barca’s style just happened on its own?

      To summarize, it appears that you enjoy listening to propaganda- wrods and phrases specifically chosen to makes you feel good about the message, even if it is completely detached from reality…

  9. Did people actually expect this experiment to work? I agree it was time for a change but its been painfully obvious JK and company don’t know what they’re doing. Hiring vasquez, the same guy who is ruining rsl’s academy, was red flag number one. JK may talk a big game but he has no idea how to run a team. Motivational speakers? You expect grown men who play for professional teams to take a coach seriously when he’s pulling these stunts? There’s no cohesion in this team. No system. JK says playing time is important than turns right back around and calls in players who aren’t playing. He alienated bradley his first couple games until he realized how dumb that was. He sure handled our most inform striker, jozy, very well (sarcasm). I bet Lichaj could sure help this team now but JK shat on that. The constant player turn over has done nothing but create confusion. I really hope gulati has the balls to fire jk before its too late but i know he doesn’t and us soccer will take 10 steps backwards

  10. i hope most of the article isn’t true although we can’t ignore the complaints from the past.

    looking ahead past 2014 i’m hoping the USMNT hires an MLS coach like Olsen or Kries.

  11. In the Honduras game … JK should have started Gomez (plays in Mexico and more acclimated to the hot and humid weather) … Edu (regular playing time in Turkey) … and Boca (experience, communications, positioning, and has played with Cameron several times).

    I believe Williams was subbed out in the 2nd half and we all know what happend to the back 4.

    IMO, not starting Boca was the biggest mistake.

  12. Has anyone ever worked at a company where someone, who had been there for several years, was too stubborn to try a new way of doing things because they were used to doing things the old way? Even if those old ways weren’t efficient? That’s what some of these players are sounding like. Unfortunately that means we will always just be a hard working, athletic and organized team, that can’t actually play soccer instead of a team who values those characteristics along with being more technical and emphasizing possession, and playing comfortably even in tight spaces.

    • Thank you.

      This is grade A whining. I mean come on complaining about not knowing if you’re starting not soon enough to get prepared mentally?

      You should always be prepared to start and if you don’t you work harder next time.

      • I’m glad you see it that way ChiTown. If you ever listen to an international commentator describe the USMNT it’s always “they’ll never give up” and that’s about it. It sounds like some people or players in this country are just fine with that and that’s fine if our goal, as a country, is to only qualify out of the group stages of a World Cup because that’s as far as we’ll go with that mentality.

    • But, would it not be the opposite? The players are complaining that there has been a lot of focus on fitness and less on actual soccer.

      • That’s a good point, Monty. I think there should be little focus on fitness as players should get their fitness through playing. I just don’t like the attitude of what I’m hearing from these players in this article. It just sounds like some of them are saying “this is who we are, and we don’t want to change.” I guess that was my point, but I do agree with you in that players should be taught more on soccer than fitness.

    • On the flip side, have you ever been in a job where everything is a total disaster, and then there is a management change and everything runs smoothly?

      • Actually, White Kix, maybe not completely smoothly, but more smooth than the previous regime for sure. I do see your point though.

        I guess, I would just like to see players pushed in this country to be more technical. To not be afraid of playing in tight spaces, playing in triangles, attacking with numbers instead of attacking with one forward and playing with two, sometimes three defensive midfielders.

      • Christian, I totally agree with you. I just don’t feel like we have seen that with Klinsmann. We gave him plenty of time to at least show progress, but I think Bradley’s and Arena’s teams passed the ball and attacked better than Klinsmann’s.

      • Yes! And the funny thing about learning to play like that is it absolutely requires tactical instruction and development, not fitness/nutrition/motivational speeches. As I’ve said before, I can’t fathom a coach not providing this technical instruction. That should be the primary focus of his job.

        I imagine Klins is doing this work and that the article is grown out of the press feeding the growing fan frustration with the Nats.

    • i don’t know, i’ve been in more organizations where a new boss came in and decided to change things just to show that s/he had made ‘improvements’.

      • Those were my favorite bosses – well at least the ones who swept out the complainers, the lazy, the whiners.
        I had one boss where it was just like a house-cleaning. I have never been so happy to see so many a-holes get unemployed.

  13. What bothered me the most was Bocanegra’s surprise benching, and the fact that Klinsmann can’t trust his players to not leak the lineup beforehand. Seriously? Let them prepare. Instead, he blindsided them.

  14. This article scares me. But not because of anything about Klinsmann. No, Klinsmann is doing exactly what we brought him in to do. He’s changing the culture.

    What scares me is the undercurrent of entitlement in so many the of players’ comments. Boca can be upset about not being selected, but he certainly should not be shocked that he’s playing given he isn’t fit and can’t see the pitch for a very, very bad team.

    But furthermore that the players all seem to be asking for the coach to tell them how to do every little thing on the field and Klinsmann is telling them that he won’t do that–that they need to think on their own on the pitch.

    Soccer is the one sport where the manager may dictate a “style” of play, but the actual play is always on the players. There are no set plays. There are no formations outside of a solid line in the back. Players move around the pitch and they have to read a game and think on their feet. They have to be creative with the passes and smart with their movement.

    When you play bunker ball too long (I like Bob for the record), you lose all that creativity and freedom. Your one job is to stay tight and then sprint down the field as fast as possible. This mentality is still clearly prevalent in the team and it needs to be eradicated.

    It worries me that players think Bocanegra should start because he is Carlos Bocanegra and not because he is their best option at center back. No players should ever think that your position on the field has anything to do with anything other than your current form.

    And jingoism appears to be a real issue.

    It looks like Sunil recognized the culture that had developed–sort of ODP on steroids–and sought someone who wouldn’t care about the press and would handle the player backlash as he told them how it should be.

    • I agree he is changing the culture, but it is not for the better. Better was certainly possible, but it is not the path Klinsmann has taken. As for judging playing form, Klinsmann has had more misses than hits. None of us saw the tiny amount of training camp that caused Klinsmann to pick Cameron over Bocanegra (was there even any competitive training in the 2 days before the match when players were recovering from the weekend and resting for the match?)

    • “Soccer is the one sport where the manager may dictate a “style” of play, but the actual play is always on the players. There are no set plays. There are no formations outside of a solid line in the back.”

      wtf…you’ve got some crazy comments, chitown.

    • I don’t love the article. You make some valid points. But on some I can’t believe what I’m reading. There are no set plays in soccer (check the beautiful designed free kick piece that led to the no pk call for the u20s against Mexico in the Concacaf championship)? No formations?

      The article’s assertion is clear, the coach isn’t coaching. Tactics are absolutely the coaches job and according to the article the coach isn’t providing them. All this talk about the players needing to learn how to become individuals as an excuse for not providing nuts and bolts strategy on how the team is supposed to play is pseudo-psychological bs.

      Now, to me at least, Straus hasn’t proven that this is what Klins is doing. I can’t fathom a coach not providing tactical instruction to his players and no named sources have said this about JK.

  15. It bothers me that we dont know who those player quotes come from. Is it the players who see the field or ones on the bench or ones that dont get the call-ups anymore? I agree with those above who think its cowardly to say these things anonymously. Man up and speak out publicly or shut up.

    Can’t help but be bothered by the parts on Bocanegra. If that part is true, then I lose a LOT of faith in JK as a leader. Is it coincidence that Boca’s club career has fallen off ever since…

    • Or maybe the Boca situation is the other way around? His hamstring failed in Russia, THEN his club career turned south, THEN JK didn’t call him up. Guy is recovering from a hammy and hasn’t played in two months, hence no PT. Not exactly rocket science.

      From what the article says, JK could have done a much better job of putting Carlos out to pasture. I immagine a peppy 1-On-1 would have taken the worst of the sting out of it, maybe even brought Boca on JK’s side. But while JK is clearly a motivator, a savy one he ain’t.

  16. To all of you wanting another outsider to coach us, just remember Klinsman’s failures arelargely due to his not understanding the strengths of our brand of soccer. We are blue collar team with excellent athletes. We don’t have a midfield like Germany, therefore our forwards need to pressure the opponents into turnovers and counter attack. He also seems to me he doesn’t know the talent in MLS. I fear another foreign coach would be more of the same.

  17. The USMNT is a mess. It is painfully obvious when watching them play. I was patient initially because there is always going to be transition problems, but 20 months in those issues should be gone. I think they have gotten worse. I am hoping against hope that these next two games reverse that trend.

    • It’s not so much that the transition issues should be gone in 20 months — these types of transitions can take much longer. But, there should be some discernible trajectory for the transition, some direction that it is clear the team is moving. We don’t have that now. Even the signature victories that we have (Mexico, Italy) or even the tie in Russia, do not seem to be the fruits of a new system coming together, but old-fashioned USA victories like Spain in 2009, the result of hunkering in on defense and hoping to eke out a goal somehow. The only “progress” we seem to be making since Gold Cup 2011 is that the players are more unsettled and confused now. Perhaps one could argue that this is a necessary step toward true transformation, but perhaps it just leads to a mess.

  18. Nothing surprising in the article to me. Actually, it’s what I’ve been saying here for the last few months, and I don’t know any players or anyone connected to the USSF. Some things are just too obvious. Klinsmann is an unmitigated disaster for US soccer.

    • This article is almost a relief, because as you note it’s been obvious for months. I think the most telling item in the article is how he described Howard and Bradley’s post-Honduras quotes as a cry for help. Thats exactly what it was.

  19. I think once a national team coach is hired, it is best that he or she is given the chance to complete the single World Cup cycle that he or she is promised…no more, no less. Then we can reevaluate. Klinsmann has made his choices with the WC in mind. If by the time all is said and over, he fails to succeed in making the team better than it was before, then we move onto the next coach for the next cycle. It feels like a gamble at times, but the risk of transitioning to a new manager at this stage is preposterous. No matter who the coach is, there is always going to be a level of risk that it will not be a good fit for everyone.

  20. Yeah players making anonymous comments is weak but, it is worrying that this is the same thing that happened with Klinsmann when he was managing the German national team or when he was managing Bayern Munich. Everywhere in his managing career he has had players use the media to speak out against him. It is a worrying pattern.

      • No, it isn’t fair.

        It’s the coaches job to speak on the players. The players have no right to speak on the coach.

      • No right.

        That’s not how things work. Players do not speak out about their coaches. Coaches always speak out about players.

      • I wouldn’t say players have “no right” to criticize their coaches, but under these particular circumstances, I don’t think JK has been out of line with his comments to the media regarding players.

        He simply hasn’t sugarcoated the reasons he’s left players off the roster. The whole Jozy incident, for example. JK essentially said, we want to see the same effort for the Nats as we see from Jozy for AZ. Jozy whined on twitter a bit, but then he was back for the next round of qualifiers, started, and earned a thumbs-up from JK for his efforts.

        Also, he’s been pretty tactful about team efforts in defeat. Look at some of Hackworth’s quotes about Philly’s losses. About the worst thing JK’s said is along the lines of “the team needs to give a better effort.”

  21. Like many have said, nothing too surprising. We knew JK’s strengths, and his problems, and we knew some players would be either too green or too old to play regularly in the transition.

    Most surprising to me is the fact that a player or staff member would go to the media with this.

    I’m skeptical about the article in this respect: these “sources” could be two, maybe even ONE “anonymous” player saying these things. An angry waterboy could be “anonymous staff.” The comments with names attached (Howard and MB) were comments each player had made in interviews just after the Honduras game.

    In sum, not exactly like a house divided, more like an angry little boy on time out.

    • Strauss has said that the quotes are from a cross section of players: starters and fringe guys, veterans and young players, Americans abroad and MLSers. It’s clear from the article that it’s not one or two guys.

      • I know what he wrote. I read the article.

        And no, it’s NOT clear when you don’t give names. Straus included the out of context quotes from MB and Howard in his “cross-section.” That fulfills the “starters” and “veterans” quotient. So who are the others? The categories you gave above could easily describe two people: “starters” and “veterans” clearly overlap, as does “veteran” and “fringe player” if you’re Benny F. I could go on. In any event, Howard, MB, and one other person makes a “cross-section” as Straus termed it, and the quotes form the first two (MB and Howard) were given in TV interviews over a month ago… I call shenanigans. Most of you will believe it, because you’re all panicked anyway. It’s what you wanted to hear.

        Oh, and LD got in a bad mood and didn’t feel appreciated… this is “evidence” that Jurgen sucks? News flash: nothing new. Whether it’s Jurgen, Arena, or Yallop, same old Landy.

        Not defending JK either. Everyone knows JK is far from perfect, maybe mediocre on a good day. But I feel that this article is a cyncial cheap shot meant only to generate viewers by whipping up a froth in a way that potentially harms the team further.

        One reason I read SBI more than other sites is that Ives and Co. inform our fandom and serve as a connection between players and fans. Not too many highs or lows, just info and Ives’ analysis. This Straus article is well written, tells a good story, but it’s shite for pandering to the fair-weather and chicken-little aspect of USMNT fandom that irks me. Hate it. Dumb.

      • Well said. Can’t stop being critical/skeptical just because it confirms what you want to believe.

        I haven’t been overly happy with JK’s performance but you pointed out my exact concerns with this article.

      • But then there’s the flip side. straus is a professional soccer writer. For a decade plus. If this is biased or wrong, he will never have access to players again. He just torched his access to USSoccer for a while, players talk, if this isn’t fair,he’s done.

  22. Great news and no need to worry because apparently the US has a Pele or Maradona or both.

    Klins may not succeed but what USMNT does not need is to just ‘fight hard.’ They do not need to rely on the mediocre (by international standard) talents of a few veterans and people who like things exactly as is…namely a plucky group bound to fizzle out early and often. But oh boy think of all the 15 minute ESPN patriotic idol fluff pieces we’ll miss.

    Anyway, can’t wait to tune in to the players who, anonymously, aspire to such heights of mediocrity.

  23. Wow. The scary thing is that many of the questions and quotes from players are the same ones i read on here and in other comment sections. ‘what kind of formation was that… there a bias in favor of the German/Ams?….the players looked confused to me…on and on.

    Wonder if Sunil still has The Bruce’s number in emergency contact list?

  24. Points to take from this:

    1) 23 different lineups
    2) What is going on in practice that is catching the players off guard in games?
    3) Disconnect between Germans/Usa nationals and what will happen if Jones gets armband
    4) Practicing Goodson and EJ???? with the reseves all week before Hon game

    5) not sure what to make of the Boca situation… havent heard much from his club playing so idk if he is a worse choice over an MLS starter, but def some stuff to think about

    • Of these, what I’m least worried about is Jones getting the armband.

      For one, Cameron and Zusi have excelled under Jones as captain before (last January) and Jones is generally among the hardest working players out there. Even when he has a bad game he’s still busting his butt.

  25. Even if the players have some valid points, don’t go the coward route. They need to MAN UP and tell the coach their concerns like adults.

    • How do you know they haven’t already done that? Also, after reading Klinsmann’s responses in the article, do you really think telling him their concerns would do a thing. The man comes off like an arrogant jerk in who, in his own eyes, can do no wrong.

      • True, but I guess we’ll never know. I’m just never a fan of players giving anonymous interviews to criticize others, even if the points are true.

  26. I think this is BS. For the love of god these guys just need to get out and play. You can say maybe Bocanegra should have started but it doesnt solve how slow the midfield looked. We can all blame Klinsmann but to me it says more about the leaders on the team. If its that bad and guys are really so confused call a team meeting gripe it out to eachother then go to the coach griping in the media is a bit@# move. I think 1 thing Klinsmann said was right spots need to be put up for grabs this isnt the supreme court you dont get a spot for life. There is just not enough comoeyetion for these spots. I cant wait for the day when the team is solely chosen on merit and not legacy.

    • The issue with Bocanegra is not that he didn’t start, but the way that it was handled. Why on earth would you practice Boca with the first team all week and then change it up the morning of, and THEN ask your shattered captain to give a motivational speech? If someone is that tone deaf, then the players going to him with their concerns is not likely to be fruitful.

      • Just to play Devil’s Advocate here, suppose JK intended to start Boca all the way up to the day of the game. Again, suppose he was unhappy with Boca’s form in practice, but hesitated to make the call to bench him until the last second.

        I’m not saying this is definitely the case, but it’s as good of an explanation as “Klinsmann has NO IDEA what he’s doing!”

        Even if this situation were true, it’s still a bad decision to handle it like he did. It’s just not a malicious or intentionally insensitive one.

      • Actually JK answered your questions in his comments. He does this to try and throw off his players to build up toughness and the ability to deal with change.

        You can disagree with it, but I think he answered the questions fairly.

    • Agreed, all I hear is “waaaaaaah” – These are grown men who have been playing soccer for most of their lives. A national team coaches job is to find the best players, and put 11 of them on the field. Sure, we could debate if 433 or 442 or some christmas tree formation is preferable, but in the end, we need player who can put the little round ball in the other team’s net with their feet or heads.

      This brings up the main point that many people are missing. While the US has made significant strides in the last few years – other countries are developing even faster in terms of soccer ability. Perhaps the US just doesn’t have the players that it takes. We continue to rely on physical attributes to determine “best players” – how many times do I still hear – oh he’s fast and technical, but he’s too short, or he’s smart and great with the ball at his feet, but too slow. We need players with the technical acumen that just isn’t there yet. The US hired Klinsmann to implement a style of play that maybe the soccer culture is not ready for.

      The plyers need to man up, and realize that playing the tactical game works well until the 2nd round of the World Cup, after that, you need some ammount of flair to break down the teams that have been set up for tactical warfare. Germany, Spain, France, Brazil, the Dutch, all have that missing quality – even in years that they aren’t that good. But that flair can’t be coached – it has to be realized by the players.

  27. Very poor timing of the release of the article for the players (great for Sporting News however). I know they probably discuss these things among themselves a little bit, but it’s no good trying to figure out which of your teammates said what under the cloak of anonymity. Also I hope it was hard for Straus ethically to make the decision to use anonymous sources.

    Regardless of that, the issues raised of the unpredictably nature of call-ups and line-ups is a little nerve-wracking. Everybody else announces their line-up about 2 weeks before qualifiers, we wait until 4 days. Granted we’re experiencing an injury crisis, making the final roster earlier would help settle some players nerves and help them start preparing mentally for the upcoming challenges. That said, Klinsmann isn’t the first to wait until the last minute to make the Starting XI. I understand Wenger does the same thing at Arsenal. What the USA is lacking though, is every player (starting or benched) needs to understand the game plan in order to make that work.

    Klinsmann is right though, a change to attractive soccer isn’t going to happen overnight. And not everybody is going to buy into every manager. Has Klinsmann gotten some tactics wrong? Yeah. But he’s also gotten some right, and gotten some really good results (albeit in friendlies). You would just think by now a consistent roster would be settled on to allow the players to bond, form that chemistry and gain experience playing together.

    • I seriously doubt it was hard ethically to rely on anonymous sources. Journalism depends on anonymous sources.

    • 1.) Bradley only started giving out the XI earlier after players asked.

      2.) The players know they’re getting called up much earlier than the roster is announced. Waiting so long is simply an inconvenience to fans and analysts.

    • Yeah, I have to wonder whether this much anonymous sourcing is ethical. Anonymous sources should be used only when absolutely necessary to gain information that would otherwise be unavailable, not to spread a bunch of gossip that nobody is willing to put their name behind.

  28. Man, this article blows everything out of proportion, and takes many quotes out of context. Every question that is raised about Klinsmann’s approach, he has a reasonable answer for. If we would have won the last qualifying game, none of you would be saying any of this. He is to be judged by our team’s performance in the world cup. Why don’t you hold the lynch mob until then. If we don’t make it at all, then, well, he obviously failed. Nothing can be done about players getting injuries. Nothing can be done about players not liking the fact that their positions are being challenged. Sounds like the players need to man up, in my opinion.

    • Everybody wants our team to be better, to play a more attacking style, to dominate Concacaf, but nobody wants the growing pains that come with it.

      • I think people would deal with the “growing pains” if they believed we were actually on a path towards getting better. I don’t think we’ve seen that yet.

      • Agree. Difference between bringing in new guys to replace Bornstein, Clarkson, Findley, etc. and having 23 different lineups.

      • That’s true. But if you want to completely revolutionize the USMNT do it in September 2014, not in the middle of WCQ!!!

  29. While no one is perfect and JK certainly isn’t the US Soccer Messiah IMHO he is trying to make changes that make a difference. I am surprised that this piece did not talk about his influence on younger National Teams. They are playing with the flair and confidence that our Full Men’s Team can’t seem to achieve. I am astounded that even players at this level whine…ego kills. JK may not be making everyone smile, but he is building the road that takes us where we (I) want our Full Men’s team to go…the players need to shut up and get on the bus.

    • I recall a certain u-20 team back in 2007 that played with more flair and confiidence than any around now. Klinsmann is not the common denominator there.

    • ha-ha. thanks, HoboMike. yes, I do feel vindicated, especially after being mercilessly torched yesterday for asserting that Klinsmann’s inability to settle on a line-up 7-10 days before an important WCQ like other coaches is a sign of massive incompetence.

      And, by the way, I suspect that one of the reasons for the additonal last-moment two-hour delay yesterday involved Klinsmann on the phone begging Timothy Chandler to get on the plane-NOW! Otherwise Klinsmann was going to look like a fool. I was pretty certain that some USMNT players had to be irritated with the prima donna Chandler–wouldn’t you be if a similar situation transpired in your office. And I do suspect Klinsmann snubbed Lichaj all last year even when he was playing for his club and did not call him in even for a little sniff like he did with Alfredo Morales was to keep the door wide open for Chandler.

  30. It’s okay to make players uncomfortable with their position, but they still need stability and still need to know what to expect, not be guinea pigs. No one performs well with instability.

    Bob would never have treated his players like Jurgen does. look at how he treated Rico when he had to pull him vs. Ghana. Dropped watching the game for a few minutes to talk with him. Klinsman throws Dempsey under the Bus in the press and then treats the captain of 6 years like that. How do you not tell him ahead of time after what he’s done? Ridiculous.

    There’s a difference between trying to change things and being a narcissistic, arrogant tool. Klinnsman is the latter.

    • This.
      Building a team is ALL about circling the wagons…and Bob did this better than Klinsy does. If you remember Bob would not speak about players at all…boring interviews but a tighter Clubhouse.

      The GermanAmericans concern me – it’ll be critical for Jurgy to bring them back to the fold and make them feel ‘American’ (time to dust of the civics lesson plans).

  31. I agree with the sacking of Klinsman. I wanted him as the coach but now I wish he disappeared. I think we should look at hiring Kinnear, Yallop, and maybe think about Arena, Ramos, and Ultimately Bradley again. You can’t deny we won games under Bradley. Not his fault we lost games to Mexico and Ghana.

    • Were you one of the people who blamed him for the Ghana loss when he started Clark? When he brought Bornstein into the Gold Cup instead of Lichaj? There were quite a few.

      • The point is, Bradley had logical reasons behind his mistakes.

        Clark played against Ghana for squad rotation… to rest one of the players who covers the most ground in a game. Bradley underestimated how far Clark had been set back by his injury with Eintracht. Clearly he had seen something from Rico to think he was worthy of the WC roster. Also, Howard shares some blame for allowing that soft goal in spite of Rico’s mistake.

        Bornstein didn’t come on over Lichaj against Mexico. Lichaj switched to RB after Cherundolo went out injured. He came on over Jonathan Spector. Bornstein is faster than Spector, and when he was in form during the 2009 Qualifying cycle, was ultimately a much better fullback than Spector. As you can see by the current injury crisis, our fullback pool isn’t especially deep anyway. Yeah, Bob again underestimated just how out of form Bornstein was. That said, who on the roster (or pool at the time) would have done a significantly better job?

      • Bradley played Clark even when everyone said not to and when Edu was playing the better soccer. Bornstein made it over someone like Pearce who deserved a better shot.

        Both were and are baffling.

      • Don’t forget Findley!
        Buddle and Herc were on fire going into south africa and barely saw the field.

        Bob is the opposite side of the same coin. He is too consistant. He was good for USMNT, but we need to set our sites MUCH higher for our next coach.

      • What! Edu was the man out for Clark and Edu did not play the whole prior game. So your logic goes out the window.

  32. HEY, Ives do you have an opinion? Does this line up with what you know or have heard? Is Brian a credible reporter in your view?? I think your readers deserve to hear from you on this.

  33. The anti-German-American comments surprise me somewhat, if only because nothing good can come out of saying things like that. Besides, outside of Klinsmann’s commitment while Chandler waffled, what else can they be mad about? Fabian Johnson is our best left back in years. Jermaine Jones is a Champion’s League player that is extremely skilled, albeit prone to making ridiculous decisions. And Danny Williams has had some very good games when played in his correct position. Terrance Boyd wasn’t even called in for the last round of qualifying games.

    Other than other players being mad that they don’t necessarily all get along like the Partridge Family, what is there to be distressed about, other than losing a job to a more skilled player?

    • I think one thing is that perhaps playing for our country doesn’t mean as much to guys who only identified as an American for a chance to go to a World Cup after being rejected by Germany. I would think they don’t have the same passion that someone who grew up here would. If you don’t have the passion for your country, then it’s just a glorified elite club tournament and, to some, an unnecessary bother.

      Some will no doubt call me racist, xenophobic, for saying this, no doubt. Oh well, political correctness doesn’t always reflect reality.

      • I saw that. Actually posted mine before yours–it just “awaited moderation” for a while. Sorry that your sensible statement was hacked down by the self-righteous PC police.

      • I agree with Mike.

        If you are trying to forge a national playing style, you are not going to be able to do that by training people on the National team who have never lived here and never will. It’s all for naught.

        Even if the US National team is successful, the German-Americans will go back to their homes in Germany and most likely will have no interest in spreading their knowledge of the game with kids in suburban Denver, CO or Columbus, Ohio.

      • Most of those players spent summers here and have family who live her. That statement holds no water considering French internationals, English internationals, German internationals, etc have come from different countries. About the only team who can’t say that is Brazil, whose players play for different countries!

        Plus, we don’t have a style yet – whether it’s from players playing in Europe, South America, or North America, we don’t have a way to play. This comes from our terrible youth teams who don’t teach anything but kick and run.

        There are many things to blame, our German-Americans are not even close to the crux. Don’t use them as scape goats. We are far better off with them playing and they deserve to be there.

      • They have never grown up playing soccer in a country that doesn’t take it seriously. They have spent no time in the us soccer system. To act like these players aren’t viewed differently in the lockeroom is extremely naive. Especially when they can’t even communicate in english

      • Been so much talk on here lately about how the German-Americans are just as American as anyone else….evidently multiple players and people within USMNT don’t think so.

      • Tell me that playing for the US national team means us much to Timmy Chandler as it does Clint Dempsey.

      • If you strictly watch the games and ignore club soccer and pedigree…beckerman deserves to be in the midfield as much as anyone. I seriously doubt he was a source though.
        I think Landon has to be one of the sources, but there appears to be many.

    • It’s all about perception. I always suspected bringing in too many German-Americans was going to be a problem at some point with some US-born players. There’s always going to be a feeling that Klinsmann will listen to the German-born players first when it comes to issues or concerns or that they’ll get special treatment, even if that’s not the case. Not to mention that it will be natural for them to want to hang out with each other since culturally they’re Germans. That’s just going to rub some people the wrong way eventually when you’re a group situation.

      • Speaking as a USMNT fan who previously was always excited about the discovery of each new foreign born American, I know think this search for the, so to speak, Holy Grail has gotten way out of hand and I suspect it is totally irritating to a lot of US-born players who are either sitting on the bench of not getting called up. It was the whole Chandler saga that made me change my mind. And then I keep reading posters on SBI getting all excited and saying how we need to cap-tie this one and that one and get them on the team and….

        quite frankly, I’m sick of it and it has gotten to the point many USMNT fans seem to think that a player born abroad is automatically better than a player born in the USA. if players born abroad who can claim US citizenship want to play of the USA, then fine. et them call up US Soccer and ask what they need to do to get the attention of the coach. But, please, let’s quit these ongoing search for foreign born players which does not help develop the domestic game.

    • I don’t think the problem with the Germans is their footballing qualities. It’s obvious from the article that it’s their real or perceived lack of understanding of what it means to play for your country. And after all their country is Germany, not the US.

      I was born and grew up in a European country and came to the US at the age of 20. I obviously know many of my former compatriots who now live in the US (many of them are US citizens). Yet for great many of them the US is no more than a convenient residence, a place where they can make more money than in their homeland — nothing more. They feel no emotional attachment to this country. In soccer (and other sports) they continue to support the national teams of their countries of birth and have absolutely no interest in the US national team.

      Now, these are people who actually live in the US (and have for many years) and are often citizens of the US. What would you expect from someone who comes to the US just to play a game or two and then goes back home? Any kind of emotional attachment or patriotic feelings? Highly unlikely. And such attitude will upset team’s chemistry on and off the field.

    • I share your surprise.

      Jones & Chandler were both in the picture before Bradley was sacked, and–last game aside–who can complain about Fabian Johnson.

      That said, the excessive minutes Danny Williams has gotten, in particular on the right wing, might have rankled some feathers. Especially given the lack of contribution from that position.

    • I suspect most of that stems from Chandler, who I bet was a very polarizing figure in Moscow and in Honduras. But think of Danny Williams getting several silly starts at right wing. How would you feel as a club attacking midrielder sitting on the bench, or worse yet, not getting an invite from Klinsmann, who is playing a GerMarican defensive midfielder as right winger.

      • People like to conveniently forget that one of the first thing Jurgen did was place emphasis on mexican american players, but keep going.

      • Hahaha and they sucked. Gomez, Bocanegra and torres were at the world cup. Corona was going to be called up by bob bradley before he was fired. How has jk “integrated” mexican-american’s better than anybody before?

      • Bob also called up omar gonzalez and nick rimando how many more mexican americans should he have called up? How many are playing at the highest levels in europe? None

  34. Re: the same issues popping up that were mentioned during Klinsmann’s failures at Bayern:

    I’m reminded of the old adage “The one common factor in all of your failed relationships – is YOU.”

  35. I think everything in the article has been blazing clear to anyone watching the team. I thought the leading indicator of the depth of the problem was Donovan. His interview with Judy Foudy a while back showed a clearly angy player….but no one asked what he was angry about.

    Donovan is overly senstive, but seen in the context of this article (and the despicable treatment of Bocanegra) it is clear that he was a sign of things to come.

    The only hope JK has at this point is (a) name Bradley capitian for the next two games and (b) bring in a tactical coach who has the players trust – probably Tab Ramos or Claudio Reyna.

    • Everyone is treating Bocanegra like some sacred cow. While he’s due the respect he’s earned, he’s also not able to get on the field for a team fighting relegation in the Spanish second division. While Cameron may not have the international experience, he’s been a regular for Stoke in the EPL.

      • People have a hard time letting go.
        Boca has looked soooo slow in recent games. Is he smarter than some of the others? Sure he has a world of experience. But his days of bossing the nats are over. It’s time to move on.

      • It has nothing to do with not playing Boca (although I would have in the last game). It have EVERYTHING to do with treating him like garbage. JK has no clue how to handle men. as the article said, he was “tone deaf” – and that is probably the kindest way to put it. Can you imagine Bradley or Arena (or Kinnear, or Sigi or Yallop) not taking him aside and telling him to his face?

    • Yea, not super surprised. If anything it gives credence to Lahm’s take on Klinsi.

      A few things that stood out:
      1. The German players showed little heart against Honduras. The only two Germaricans that I think fully appreciate playing for the US are Boyd (his twitter comments when he was first called in and his energy when he’s played) and J Jones whose showed that American grit this squad has always had in abundance.

      The fact Williams, Chandler and Johnson are staying home is due to much more than injuries despite the official reasons.

      2. Who’s the player(s) saying all these things?

      I’d love to here what Landon Donovans take is.

      • Williams has praised his love of the US often and I think has an American GF. So your logic doesn’t make sense. Plus Williams and Johnson have both had great games for the US and has been there for the team. This one off two-game series doesn’t change that.

        Chandler still has a target on his back.

  36. Good article, but nothing new that people didn’t already suspect. That being said one of the biggest problems seems to be Vasquez. His role needs to disappear or be reduced, and the second in command has to be someone like a Ramos or Reyna, who has the tactical awareness and the respect of the players. That way Klinsmann can continue to focus on big picture.

    • He definitely isn’t a Jogi Löw, and the fact that our tactical training falls onto him is terrifying. Vasquez out.

    • same here, nothing there surprised me- only the densest of Klinsi apologists would be surprised…

      although being accessible to media and fans is clearly a Klinsi strength and helps the visibility of USMNT, but no help whatsoever on the field…

      outside of the Klinsi fanboys who apparently have ears to hear his sweet talk about the beautiful game, but no eyesight to actually watch the team play, the clear mismanagement of the talent available today is obvious, because this qualifying team is performing meaningfully worse than in 06 and 10 despite more players playing larger roles in better leagues abroad AND a stronger MLS….

      Why can’t Klinsi do both? Manage the team talent as it is today to get the best out of it (i.e. consistent system that take advantage of strength we have) and develop youth in the pipeline on a 4-3-3-THEN switch when those players are actually ready to contribute. national teams do change their systems with new coaches and players from 4-4-2 to 4-5-1, etc…. it happens all the time….

      If somehow that is an imppssible task and a 4-3-3 MUST be played from now on, at least get players who play those positions (clearly they’d be inferior to current roster, but hey, choose either a system for the players or the players for the sytem, but not neither

      Instead, he fields disjointed lineups- I almost jumped out of my chair about the 4-4-2 Slovenia comments, considering that I’ve been yammering about that forever as well (3 goals, nice pace to the attack, great game)- what is the point of playing central forwards wide and a bunch of defensive mids together?

      The German-American riff is troubling, but I believe that is a function of the team not playing well rather than the cause… Chandler/Johnson are clear, by far upgrades over Bonrstein/Pearce/Castillo and gulp, Beasley, as fullbacks-

      But the clear scarlet letter for Klinsi is the whole understanding what i meanw hen I say it- “that’s the player’s job” which is b.s. pure and simple. A leader’s job is to manage talent to get the most out- and it requires as little or as much effort and communication as needed to get the message across and reach the ultimate goal-it’s up to the leader to be clear, consistent in expectations, not be take platitudes from motivational posters and spit them out…. a leader’s options are two-fold, replace players with those who can actually undestand what you’re saying and who’ll fit the system, or adjust the system and be more proactive about making sure they understand you….clearly the talent is what it is today and we can wait multiple WC cycles of waiting until the pipeline bears fruit-personally I’d rather have revolutionary change in the youth ranks today and evolutionary at the high level and NOT sacrifice WC berths in the meantime

    • I’m not sure if Ramos or Renya would be any better considering they too are coming out of the youth management culture. The fact of the matter is, outside of bunkering, we don’t really have coaches with a deep tactical understanding.

      • ? How do you know the level and degree of our coaches tactical understanding? I am pretty sure that statement is innacurate and guesswork.

  37. This is a really serious problem. Regardless of whether it’s sour grapes or not, I don’t know that a team can succeed with this level of internal strife. It’s really shocking how many sources they found within the team that feel this way. The US over the past 20 years has been at its best when playing together in unity, playing as more than the sum of their parts. This team seems like it’s less than the sum of its parts. Regardless of whether or not all the criticism is warranted, the fact that it exists is really damning for Klinsmann. The players may be partially to blame, but can this team really succeed under Klinsmann (and without a Jogi Low)?

    I am starting to feel like Brazil 2014 under Klinsmann is a lost cause. A lot can change between now and then, but if these next two games don’t go well…

    • The last time a USMNT coach lost the locker room resulted in the USA’s WC 1998 debacle. I am not sure if that was as much the coach’s fault as it was that of a couple troubled players (who probably should have not been called up once it became clear they would not cooperate).

      At present, I have always said Klinsmann says too much to the press and now I can add that while he says too much negative about the players, he says nothing about his own failings. If he had the good sense to say that he does not know everything and maybe some of his lineups did not help the players perform, but he was working to improve on that, maybe he could recover. I see no sign that will happen.

      • In Sampson’s defense, if you don’t call up Harkes or Wynalda to that team, you have a team that isn’t even as good as your average MLS team today.

      • I’ve read that Wynalda begged Arena to let Harkes be part of the team. Perhaps the Wynalda/Harkes thing was the reason Arena kept the team isolated in an out of the way place where there was nothing to do between games but get on each other’s nerves.

      • Harkes has an affair with Wynalda which years later came to light. There were reasons for that fall out beyond the usual.

      • That’s a good point about ’98 and Sampson. The guy was over his head. He lost confidence of players by how he handled the Harkes-Wynalda situation; he started messing around with a midfield of five players in the games right before the Cup; and the players hated their isolation in France.

        This does remind me of Klinsy with mismanaging the handling of the captain’s role on the team. Maybe he is right, maybe not. But it sounds like he handled it poorly. He messes around with lineups that often don’t make sense. And his players feel like they need more instruction and less of other things. A good coach listens and knows when to change his ways for the betterment of the team.

        I’m worried Klinsy is a smiling my-way-or-highway kind of guy. He needs a proper assistant coach who knows when to pull Klinsy aside and give some solid advice.

  38. Certainly doesn’t paint Klinsmann in a good light.

    However, there’s nothing I can’t stand more than “anonymous players” stirring up trouble. Man up and say your name, or respond with a polite “no comment.” The last thing the USMNT needs right now is internal strife boiling over.

    • Maybe, internal strife already boiled over and going public was the only way to end it. Klinsmann sure isn’t taking any blame. No good leader responds to all cristicism with “I’m doing great, it’s everyone else’s fault”, but that’s all Klinsmann says in the article.

      • While I agree with you on the Klinsmann part, going public has never ended any internal strife in any sport. It usually ends with the manager finding out who said what, punishing them behind the scenes, and then another public report comes out, etc.

        Actually it usually ends with the manager fired.

      • Maybe now fans have an excuse for why Jozy will be benched. Yes that statement ends with a wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

        Look at France in 2010: Those who were upset stood up, and as it was the whole team, the captain, Evra, took the fall. England leading up to 2010 had the same problems with Terry. This infighting makes us seem more professional, sniff, sniff.

      • Funny, because that’s exactly what Nowak and Adu did during the 2004 MLS Cup Playoffs. Didn’t they win a championship that year anyways?

    • Jozy was dropped from the roster, for multiple games, for “manning up and saying his name with his comments” like you suggest. Klinsmann set the precedent for players having to go anonymous…

      • I don’t think it is a matter of going anonymous or not… it is a matter of airing complaints in the press. If there is such thing as manning up, it would be demonstrated with concerns/complaints being voiced face to face with the source.

      • Wait a minute- many of these comments from players are “bashing Klinsmann”. If it was just that then maybe sour grapes.

        Many comments are “Nice guy, good motivator, but not sure what he is trying to communicate”. “Feel like we would like more direction on what to do”

        A lot of the CONSISTENT MINUTE PLAYERS are basically say “We are lost”.

      • They are making complaints that very well may be legitimate…. they and the team would be much better served to be directed directly to the coach as an individual or as a group if that is the case. Going through the media does nothing but stir up a hornets nest of drama.

      • And what manager wouldn’t bench a young kid who made statements like that? Just like what business manager, teacher, parent, etc wouldn’t do the same thing. Jozy learned his lesson. IF he’s the one spurting these, than he learned another lesson.

  39. Lets dump Klinsmann now before its to late. Give it to Wynalda, Tab Ramos, Claudio Reyna or Harkes. From the old school give Bruce Arena another shot or Schigi Smith. Klinsmann doesn’t know a damn thing about U.S. Soccer.

    • Please don’t give it to any of those you mentioned. While all great players for us, I don’t think any of them are ready to step onto the world stage. Tab had some good results recently, but that doesn’t mean he is ready to step into the biggest job in the nation.

      • And 2002 was amazingly glorious!

        Ramos as interim boss. While I revive my David Moyes for USA campaign.

      • Haha people couldn’t wait to get rid of Arena in 06 and there were many of the same stories of malcontents within the US camp. People saying he couldn’t coach, couldn’t motivate, ect ect.
        On another note, we seem to have a good group of upcoming young American coaches that could have a future with the national team .Just to throw a name out there I haven’t seen yet..Jason Kreis

        For the record I don’t think its time to throw Klinsmann out the door.

      • Every coach has their nay-sayers. Bradley had his within his ranks, Arena had his, former players have bashed Fergie and Jose. That’s life in the sporting world. I wouldn’t take much from this article.

      • I don’t think you can compare Mourinho and Ferguson to Klinsmann and Vasquez. Both previous names worked their way up to success and achieved a lot. Klinsmann and Vasquez are former players with a poor coaching track record (unless you count Klinsmanns work with Germany and ignore the fact he was basically the “motivator”).

  40. I’m definitely more concerned. I don’t like the vagueness of “you have to make people uncomfortable.” I think he means, “push their comfort zones,” or push the envelope.

    But the lack of consistency in lineups, formations, and tactics is troubling, as well as the perceived vagueness of tactical communication for games.

    • For this qualifying weekend, of course, Klinsmann has no choice but to field his 24th different lineup in 24 games, with the injuries we’ve had. But we’ve had little consistency in the formations used and on field tactics, and some of the players were communicating that it’s frustrating not to know what the game plan expects of them.

      I’d be relatively happy if we’d just do something like play the 4-2-3-1 we used to break Jamaica down at home–that lineup had Zusi, and could have Donovan someday, rather than the defensive CM trio.

      On the road, fine, lapse back to the Williams, Bradley, Jones triangle and play for a draw. It’s not the “we’re going to play to win every game” we were promised, but it might get us through the Hex.

      Hope the players aren’t reading this article and letting stuff get in their heads. Might be a good time for Klinsmann to have a team or private meetings and just ask players if anything’s on their minds, what they would like communicated better, etc. That’s what leaders do.

    • One philosophy of education is that you have to subvert a student’s most deeply held beliefs before he/she will learn something.

      I am disturbed the players’ lack of vision, the fact that they are not embracing the freedom they have been given to play the way they want to play. I see a group of “unnamed sources” who are implicitly whining about the fact that they are not being told what to do. To learn and grow, you have to be willing to take risks and think for yourself. I like how Klinsmann is constantly destabilizing players, taking away their leaders, forcing them to stand on their own as they build a team relationship.

      The most challenging students are those who constantly need to be told what to do. A great teacher needs time usher these students through the painful process of learning to think critically, take initiative, and take personal responsibility.

      Maybe Klinsmann’s biggest mistake was not understanding that Americans want everything now.

      • There’s something to be said about individualism, but when you puch that too much with a soccer team you get 11 guys playing as individuals, not a single unit. Players can be over coached or under coached. There has to be a balance so they can play as a cohesive unit.

      • Soccer, more than any other sport, necessitates individuals to act without constant coaching. Once the game starts, the manager has very little input, much less than a football coach sending in plays.

        My point is that if the USMNT is going to move into the upper echelon, you have to develop players who can think quickly and on their own.

        All this stuff about unity is a farce. Look at how players from Real Madrid and Barca come together for Spain. Different systems, rivalry, hatred . . . none of it matters when those guys are on the field because they each understand the rudiments of the game.

        It is sad to hear players on a national team complaining about not knowing what to do. Really? You can’t position yourself as a midfielder? Run a give and go? Play one-touch? Make a diagonal run? This is kids stuff. Children worry about formations, not elite national-team players.

      • I’ll give some examples as to why I think you’re wrong. Defensively are we going to pressure high up the field? are we going to drop back and form two banks of 4? are we going to hold a high line?

        If one player doesn’t conform to the team in regards to all of these it leaves gaps for the opposition to exploit.

        Furthermore, at half time instead of RA RA we’ve got them right where we want them the players would surely appreciate some input on what is working? what isn’t working? what can we look to exploit? and what should we look out for? ect

        Coaching matters.

      • You give some good examples but I doubt this is the type of direction players feel they are lacking. I am sure that if the USMNT is leading 1-0 with nine minutes to play, Klinsmann is telling them whether to pack it in.

        How about a slightly different scenario: I read a post (I think it was a post here) about how MB and JJ cannot play together because when one attacks, the other does not provide cover. Why can’t two players who have played at a high level for a long time figure this out? Why does one have to be told to stay back and the other to attack?

        If Klinsmann is allowed to stay on for a while, maybe two World Cup cycles, I think he could radically improve what has traditionally been a problem for the US: mental fragility. How many games have we lost not because of poor strategy but because of mental lapses in key moments?

        If we are going to produce creative, confident, mentally acute players, we have to stop the hand-holding. Are Spanish or Brazilian players bigger, faster, and stronger? No. So what’s the difference? Absolute self-belief.

      • This idea that Klinsmann deserves more than one world cup cycle astounds me. Most coaches work on two or four year cycles, and then leave.

      • You truly are the definition of CRAZY my friend.
        At the top levels of play, formations mean everything. They can take a good player and make him look GREAT or also make him appear like a very poor. They can do the same thing with teams as well.
        Use of the correct formation accentuates or takes best advantage of a team’s individual talents and/or should negate the opposing teams talent(s).

      • What role does formation play when Real Madrid smashes a team on the counterattack? Zero.

        Does it matter whether Messi plays on the left, right, or in the middle? No. Great players almost never stay within a formation; they look for a match-up that gives them the advantage.

        Klinsmann is trying to change the mental attitude of the team and yet some unnamed player complains about not using a 4-4-2. I just don’t think they get it.

      • Your use of Spain as an example seems to me an especially poor choice. Spain’s national team is almost exclusively made up of Barca teammates who know each other extremely well and Madrid teammates who have been with the national team for a very long time.

        And as unmistakable points out, individual mental toughness is all well and good and essential for a good player, but the nuts and bolts tactics stuff is what a coach is there for. A coach’s primary job is not to be a psychologist or a motivational speaker, it’s to know how to best set up his team to get wins.

        In my mind a national team coach shouldn’t need to develop guys to develop the mental hunger and attitude they need for the game (he only gets them for a relatively small number of days out of the year).

        I’m not saying that’s what’s going on with Klinsmann. I’m just saying if you want to argue the conclusions/implications of this article, IMO the way to do that is not to assert that if the article is true then that’s how a coach is supposed to act. To me it’s ridiculous to defend the alleged behavior of the coach in this article. You’d have to be a blind Klins supporter to do that, because what the article basically asserts is that the coach doesn’t coach at all and is more interested in platitudes, new agey motivational techniques, and fitness/nutrition.

        I’m skeptical that that’s the case. Unnamed sources, “friends” of the team, the sour grapes aspect, and the timing of this article after a loss make me question how accurate it really is.

      • Well said, BBC.

        Very well said. The players response sounds very childish as if they aren’t getting their way. They don’t seem to understand that it is their job to do as the coach says, not continue to do what wasn’t working.

      • That was the Bayern story, where one player said Klinsmann just left the tactics up to the players. Numerous people in Germany thought the criticism was a low blow in the way it was delivered (one player’s book), but no one that I know of from that locker room disagreed with that criticism.

        Freedom and individualism are one thing, but this is a team sport and at the top levels results matter. Youth coaches will sometimes under-coach as a means of developing leadership and tactical thought in their youth players. At the adult level, it’s just not done, at least not often.

      • Yeah, that makes some sense. I find it really stupid that players are airing their displeasure publicly, even if unnamed. In what manner can that possibly be constructive? I don’t think they should be mute, but what possible good comes from sharing this with the press? Why not talk with Gulati instead? Or the manager!? I only see such claims (interesting to read as they are) as an extra source of tension in the locker room.

      • Great point for classrooms, but it doesn’t translate to the U.S. soccer field. The U.S. is too far behind in the sport to treat our players like high-achieving, self-aware “students”. If we are students, we’re at the younger side of a grade school level, running off of sheer talent. We need to be told what to do until a consistant style and system is ingrained in our kids growing up. Right now, we just get by with our athleticism, pride and fighting spirit. And when Klinsmann compromises the latter two with his management style, we’re not left with enough to get good results. Let Klinsmann be a director for U.S. Soccer and bring in Dominic Kinnear for the USMNT until Tab Ramos is ready.

      • If they are in fact too far behind, then they should re-hire Bruce Arena and slap each other on the back when they lose in the quarterfinals in the World Cup.

        I think we have to start somewhere or get used to mediocrity. Personally, I would like to put up with some growing pains in the short or medium-term if it means we could legitimately compete for the Cup during my lifetime.

      • This mentality is fine for five year olds, literal students that are learning the nuts and bolts of kicking a ball or comprehending a sentence or whatever.

        There is no way you can apply this type of thinking to adults who have learned the sport one way and expect them to make some sort of quantum leap in skill and ingenuity. That’s analogous to taking eleven skilled construction workers and asking them to design a skyscraper.

        I’m fine with making changes that will increase a player’s endurance or fitness. Unfortunately, these are 99% characteristics that separate a Rooney from a Ronaldo. Our players need help getting from 50-75% (on average) to 90-99%. Diet, lifestyle regimen, these are changes that belong in Bradenton. Our current setup is too old for it, our national team needs a coach, not a manager.

        Finally, I want to say that I’m happy that things are apparently no longer Jozy Altidore’s Fault ™.

      • They haven’t learned the sport. I don’t get why people think these players are fully developed – they don’t have the tactical awareness or the polishing, they’re usually very limited in terms of their skill set, and have to resort to athleticism to make up for their lack of intuitive know-how. The only player on this team of american descent w a pure soccer brain is michael bradley, before him there was landon donovan. dempsey is a rough and tumble american player who has tremendous work ethic, but is far from a class act. That’s not his style it’s effective, but it can’t get you THAT far.

      • I’m not stating that they’ve learned the sport; in fact, that’s kind of my point. They haven’t learned the sport in the same manner that Klinsmann has. No amount of asking someone to “step up” will change that fact. You have a set of adults with particular skill sets, for better or for worse. There’s not a whole lot of learning these senior players are going to do.

        If we’re talking about U-18 and U-20, fine. Hence my statement about these methods belonging in Bradenton, not in camp before WCQ.

      • Dude, do you even teach? I teach 5th grade math. If I was constantly changing the routine and the normal things the students could count on….it would be chaos. I mean absolute chaos. Every human needs some stability before they can take risks. You have to have confidence in order to take risks. These players are not confident.

      • You defend Klinnsmann based on no tangible results. He is an inexperienced coach who failed badly at Bayern Munich and the whole team and management echoed the same complaints as what’s emerged in the Sporting News. This guy is clearly inspirational and says all the right things. But in Soccer, tactics and building a TEAM not just a collection of individuals is what matters. Kilinnsman is clearly not up to this task and would have been fired long ago by a less naive soccer federation — or better yet never hired!

      • This is freaking soccer man, these guys have played pick up and organized soccer for years, under dozens and dozens of coaches in several different countries. This is not Morpheus showing Neo that there is no spoon. It doesn’t look good for Klinsmann, we knew that before he was even hired that there were big questions about if he could actually coach a team.

        I don’t know if your “Americans want everything now” has a tinge of a political taste to it, but I will tell you this (in regards to your comment about Bruce Arena and other US coaches).

        Bruce Arena, Bob Bradley, were nobodies that proved themselves in coaching. They got themselves to the level their at by acheiving through coaching. Klinsmann got to be a coach because he was a good athelete and player. Klinsmann got to coach the two of the best teams in the world. Arena and Bradley (and Kries and Kinnear) proved themselves in a balanced league with salary caps and few star players. Those AMERICANS did things never done. Klinsmann never achieved the great things Germany and Bayern had previously achieved. Bob Bradley developed one of the best players in our history (his son). Klinsmann- to date- has no real accomplishments outside of his playing days to speak of.

    • I’d question the sources, not if they are true, but how many are MLS players who aren’t used to the European professionalism.


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