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The SBI Show: Episode 103 (with special guest Eric Wynalda)

Eric Wynalda


Eric Wynalda is one of the of the most polarizing figures in American soccer. Beloved by some for his time as one of the best players in U.S. national team history. Hated by others who loathe him for his outspoken ways and highly-publicized attacks on other members of the American soccer community.

In Episode 103 of The SBI Show, Wynalda grants us what winds up being a very candid interview, touching a variety of topics ranging from his new role with the Atlanta Silverbacks to discovering Chris Klute, to his own managerial aspirations, and also some very pointed words at public rival and Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson.

Co-host Garrett Cleverly and I also discuss Michael Bradley’s move to Toronto FC, breaking down why the move isn’t as bad for Bradley as some think. We also discuss the continuing saga that is Oscar Pareja’s divorce from the Colorado Rapids, and much more.

Give Episode 103 of The SBI Show a listen after the jump:

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What did you think of the show? See Wynalda succeeding with Atlanta? Agree with our take on Bradley’s transfer to TFC?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Funny listening to Ives rant about Bradley, “He is as motivated as anybody, he is determined as anybody, he is a pitbull.”

    aaaaaaaannnnnnd, he just signed with Toronto FC negating most of that. The point is not whether people think he will let his game slip, it’s that he will have no choice, it’s not up to him, because the team he is playing for now is not anywhere near the level of Roma, or in Germany where he also could have signed.

    Bradley has the right to do what he wants of course, and if making more money and family is more important that the level of soccer he plays at, then more power to him. But saying that there is no chance his game will slip is just ridiculous. There is a chance, definitely a chance, and there is a chance it won’t of course. But if I were a betting man, I would say he will not be as sharp as he would have been.

  2. Good discussion on Bradley. I am in the group who think this is a bad move—in terms of his potential and growth for American soccer.

    1. He has the potential to be the most decorated American field player in Europe ever. He could be on a Champions League squad in the next few years. I think he is that good. Now we will never know.

    2. When American players prove their worth in the top leagues around the world, future Americans will follow in their footsteps. This is no different than wanting American coaches in the best leagues. Of course, with the best USMNT players playing weekly in front of American children, role models and idols are created, and top-level athletes choose soccer over other sports, leading to a stronger US team.

    Nevertheless, when a $100,000 weekly paycheck is thrown into your face, none of this matters, and MLS is a vastly better league than it was 2+ years ago.

  3. Regarding the bad blood between Paulson and Waldo, please remember tha the club’s ownership is not synonymous with the Portland institution that is the Timbers. The club and fans were there well before Paulson and will be there after he cashes out. Just don’t lump the supporters or the club in with any issues you have with Paulson. There are plenty of Timbers Army like me that appreciate what Wynalda brought to the USMNT and what he continues to contribute to the sport

    • I really dont have any ill will towards the guy- but he does get ultra sensitive. Its frustrating because I don’t understand what he is angry about. He is the one calling me a “buffoon” and an “idiot”. Not the other way around. Timbers Army rocks though. Pretty cool

  4. Outstanding interview SBI. Please don’t ever be afraid to bring on someone who may “ruffle feathers” or offer opinions that may run against the mainstream thinking. Different perspectives are incredibly important to growing our game.

    I really appreciated Wynalda’s opinion and insight on training (early in the interview). I would love to know more about how different managers approach training during the week. It’s not often I can listen to an interview and learn something.

    And props to Eric for putting himself out there and opening the door for criticism. That’s not an easy thing to do. I don’t agree with everything he says, but that’s ok. I don’t really agree with everything anyone says.

  5. The comment made about Oscar Pareja’s never relocating to Colorado is absolutely incorrect. His wife and children lived in Denver,. I met his wife at practice and his son played in the academy. Please get your facts correct. Oscar was definitely dedicated to Colorado and his job.

  6. Great podcast.

    Couple notes to Eric.

    1. Congrats on the USMNT All-Time XI,…no debate.

    2. Enjoyed your comments on Paul and Earnie. Earnie would be on my USMNT All-Time XI and it was nice to hear that you hold him in such high regard.

    3. My three favorite Eric Wynalda USMNT moments:
    – Free kick vs. Switzerland. I was living in England and watching the game alone in my flat. When Eric dropped that bomb on the Swiss I nearly lost my mind. Andres Cantors’ call (I would hear it some time later) was insane. “Waldo! Waldo! Waldo,……Wynaldaaaaaaaa!”
    – USA v. Guatemala,….Eric takes ball down in the box with his right foot and finishes with his left. The Guatemalans were a team of thugs at the time,…and Eric showed them what kind of class the USMNT was sporting.
    – USA v. Argentina in the 1995 Copa America,…I had a bunch of friends over to watch the game and told them that the USA could take Argentina,….believe it or not I noted to my friends that if Wynalda needed to have a good game and take it to the Argentinian defenders. Sure enough,….Eric beats three Argies with one pass, continues his run and gets a return pass from (???) to score a great goal that was a dagger in Argentinas hearts! Great game.

    4. People who have been following the USMNT for 25-30 years appreciate your perspective and honesty.

    All the best!

  7. He hasnt done crap in europe. he didnt win anything. big deal.

    He is in MLS now. good for him he got his payday and stopped challenging himself.

      • It’s going to take decades for MLS to be better than any of the top 5 leagues in the world (BPL, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A & Ligue 1).

      • Thanks for the reply. Great seeing you guys again doing the studio show last Sunday. NBC is great, but I do miss Goals on Sunday. Also miss nightly Fox Soccer Report, but that’s another story.

      • The biggest thing is that the NBC wrap-up show just doesn’t have the personality of Goals on Sunday plus Rob Stone is the best studio host in the business.

      • Good to know. Thanks for the clarification. And great interview!

        I’d love to get more managers & coach interviews on the show. I like to hear their insight and take on players, teams, and the leagues.

  8. Very entertaining interview. I’d like to see Wynalda back on again in the future. I’m sure he’s got a lot more to say about the state of the league, etc.

  9. So wait – at 44 minutes, Wynalda’s stance is that Merritt is a typical MLS owner who knows nothing about soccer, and that’s why he, Eric Wynalda, God’s gift to tactics, is not coaching in MLS. So am I to infer that Eric Wynalda was a better choice than Caleb Porter?

    Stick to your guns, Eric. You go ahead and wait that decade for the MLS to grow up and realize you’re a genius. And by the way, someone who has made demonstrably homophobic remarks is not going to work for the Timbers organization, ever, so no worries there.

    • “So wait – at 44 minutes, Wynalda’s stance is that Merritt…knows nothing about soccer.”

      – Damn skippy. Rich boy inherits a baseball team and stumbles into soccer opportunity. Got a problem with that?

      “Someone who has made demonstrably homophobic remarks is not going to work for the Timbers organization.”

      – Link please. Otherwise, skip the slander.

      • I stopped twitter a year ago for that very reason. The unfortunate instance that this guy is referring to was one of the 5 people who pretend to be me. Hell. ESPN quoted me the other day from one of these handles. I can assure you that I have never made a homophobic comment.
        Look, Merritt doesnt like to lose and when we beat him he hated me for it. He gets upset and sometimes says things he doesnt mean. He’s human. I just wish he would stop with the attacks. I never bashed the Porter hire, never. I made a joke calling him Lane Kiffen and Merritt Al Davis. It was a joke! I would say grow up at this point but I think we all know thats not going to happen. Just let it go people. We all have more important things to worry about, I hope

        The other altercation was his over reaction to the question, “Physical?” in regard to the Valencia injury. Not to mention that I had inside information about the kids knee and was curious if that was the case. His explosion on twitter caused me to make a comment I wish I didnt make, calling him a Lemon. Which was clearly wrong, I apologized immediately recognizing my own stupidity.
        I just want to shake hands and put this all behind us. Im too old for this. This is my last post, good day all

      • Eric – it was not a fake Twitter account when you called a Timbers supporter a “fruit” and then professed surprise when told that the term is associated (pejoratively) with homosexuality. That was back when you were actually on Twitter.

        It was not a fake Fox Soccer News sideshow moment where you became visibly flustered and uncomfortable at Merritt’s characterization of your relationship as love/hate (like in THAT WAY love) and suggested he needed counseling.

        I’ll give you credit for making solid and thoughtful comments in support of the Silverbacks’ LGBT event last year. Perhaps you’ve gotten some sensitivity training. But I think when you’re in the thick of an argument, you take whatever angle will support your side, and if “look how demonstrably heterosexual I am, that means I’m right,” seems like it will work, you go for it.

        To echo what Ryan said, just because you deleted your Twitter account doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I think Mark Burch and Alan Gordon were both genuinely surprised at themselves, embarrassed, and sorry when they used a far worse “f” word in the past couple of seasons. Your “f” word was barely an insult by comparison, but you know what’s troubling? You weren’t sorry at all. You’re just a straight guy who’s misunderstood.

        That’s my white knighting quota for 2014 sorted out. Best of luck in Atlanta – I genuinely hope you find success.

      • Let’s not forget about the Jim Rome thing. I find Jim Rome to be awful, but Eric said “Jim Rome can suck my D**k.” when asked how he felt about him in some interview. I think they both worked for espn at the time, which made it all the more stupid.

      • I agree. Guess what, (not that I saw the tweet or care) but “pansy” could perhaps carry the same perjorative meaning. Or perhaps, it could just mean weak or soft, like a pansy, or a piece of fruit (tomato, banana) -pulling up from tackles and playing scared. Are we all supposed to refrain from using food and vegatation as examples of the type of play we see because somebody might interpret that as something it isn’t and create a b.s. p.c. campaign against them over a misunderstanding, disallowing any other possible interpretation?

        We have enough PC police in this country, this is a moronic line of questioning. I think it’s kind of fruity, sorry, I think it is a weak angle you are pursuing when we could have been talking about soccer with a professional soccer commentator and pretty damn awesome (historically awesome for the u.s.) player in his day.

        I should probably end there, but it just strikes me wierd that you think the Timbers soccer organization would base their coach hiring decision on a coach’s use of the term “fruit” rather than ability or competence. And obviously I don’t think Wynalda has proven he is a better coach than Porter, that isn’t what I’m saying. I am responding to your comment that the only reason he would never coach for the Timbers is because he called some guy (I don’t even know who or what context, it doesn’t matter) (really, it doesn’t) a banana. Get real.

      • Not to worry, the only reason Paulson would ever hire Wynalda is for the pleasure of firing him publicly. He was never in the conversation after he started the critical twitter sniping (“it was a joke” = famous internet last words unless you use official sarcasm fonts) with Paulson.

        Personally I think Wynalda is a little full of himself. He sounds like a guy who just knows he has it all figured out. Cal FC eating an overconfident and very bad Timbers team was pretty embarrassing to be sure, but that one win in a tournament that has a lot of upsets certainly doesn’t prove that Wynalda is correct. If he was correct his rag-tag bunch of cast offs and never-beens would have easily won the following game too and run the table (where they were demolished by Seattle).

        I don’t mind new thinking … that is fine. If Wynalda comes up with something that works and revolutionizes soccer management in the US then great – more power to him. But his need to sling mud not once but twice at Paulson in this interview and then do a “he started it” all while being supremely cocky about his plan and annoyed that nobody will hire him when he insults his potential future bosses at every turn is laughable. I suspect that if things go badly in Atlanta all of the praise he heaped on ownership now will also turn sour and he will take no responsibility – it will be their fault.

  10. Wow!! Awesome show!

    Wynalda is awesome. Seattle sure has this their Zigi replacement when they are ready

    His comments on the league are great. I hope the two come together at somepoint

  11. Great show, guys. Best one yet. Wynalda deserves a chance in MLS. Why didn’t you push more on his conversation with Kreis? He never really says why he wasn’t interested in the Real Salt Lake job…

    • OK, so I went back and listened to it again and he said he thought RSL was scared to bring in an outsider. But why not ask him what the conversation was about with JK? Was he interested? Did he at least have a chance to interview?

      • News reports at the time said he was a contender for the RSL job. (Of course he was interested.). One of the issues is the fact that his current Fox salary is in top 20% of MLS coaching salary range, so he’d have to be brought in at a substantial pay rate or take a big cut.

    • Wynalda probably didn’t want to take a pay-cut from the salary he makes at Fox and I’m gonna guess that RSL wouldn’t be down with him being a part-time coach.

  12. Do you think that maybe the reason Bradley Sr turned down the chance to return to the MLS is because knew that his son was returning?

    • No. That’s total nonsense. Bradley Sr has always said that his career goal is to become the first American to coach a 1st div Euro club. Now he is. Besides I’ve heard Bradley Sr talk about Jr and there is clearly a great deal of fatherly pride and love.

  13. Garrett, the fact that Donovan has played so well for the US does prove the fact that players can play in MLS and still be excellent for the national team. But no one is arguing otherwise. The argument is that Donovan would be EVEN BETTER if he played in better leagues. Is that argument valid? I don’t know. There are a lot of variables and it’s all speculation anyway.

    • Mr. Frog,

      Donovan is one of a kind. Is there another USMNT player who has never played outside this country and had a USMNT career equal to Donovan’s? As far as I know, not yet. The only guy who comes anywhere close would be Eddie Pope.

      The Everton loans convinced me that LD might have become a lot better player in Europe if he had found the right situation, the right club and manager, like Moyes for example. What would Landon have done if he had gone to Everton a few years earlier? Well, we’ll never know. It’s a shame because he had enough talent to be the US first legitimate “world class” player who was not a keeper. Obviously, Leverkusen and Bayern Munchen were not the right place.

      Without that however, he would have been an unhappy camper and an unhappy LD is not a very good player. Plus, unlike most he had alternatives. He simply went home tore up the league and two years later tore up the World Cup. Ever since then his primary focus has been the USMNT and the World Cup.

      At the end of the day I think it worked out for the best for all concerned.

      • I’m not disagreeing with any of that. I’m just saying that no one is arguing that “you can’t be the best player in USMNT history without going to Europe”.

      • Why weren’t Leverkusen and Bayern Munich not the right place? I don’t think he was good enough to get consistent PT at Bayern and he got home sick when he was at Leverkusen.

  14. hey, Ives. What are your thoughts on Colorado signing John metgod? His resume sounds decent, but maybe he might not have time to do his research prior to the draft?

  15. Excellent show. The Wynalda interview was the best so far in shows 1- 102. How about that nugget of information that Kreis reached out to him to see if he was interested in the RSL coaching gig? The Klute story was fantastic and I liked how he tied it into the story of him showing Seabiscuit to the players.

    Also kudos to Ives and Garrett on the well balanced analysis of the MB transfer. Lot of layers to this move from the perspectives of MB, MLS, Toronto and USMNT. Slam dunk for MLS and Toronto. Great for MB’s financial future, but the question remains of how the move will impact MB’s development and future contributions to the National Team. Only time will tell.

    • Klute, the guy was hardly forgotten. He was scouted and appreciated enough by US Soccer to be invited to the US Residency program as a U17 and to be named to U20 teams and Wynalda tries to take credit for finding him? And bashes US Soccer and MLS in the process? If he had stayed another year or two in college, he likely would have gone directly to MLS. I used to have a lot of respect for Wynalda but it’s pretty much all gone. Unfortunately, traits that make for an excellent striker often make for a self-centered jerk of a person.

      • c’mon man, really? If thats what you got out of this then you might some issues yourself and if you think I am taking credit for Klute youre wrong, just glad he didnt get forgotten. Wood chip? hmmm, Timber fan maybe?

      • Hey! If you don’t mind clarifying a point: you said that a very high number of players failed to answer some “simple questions” because their managers were afraid of tough conversations.

        Could you explain a little bit about what you meant?

      • yeah- that needed an explanation- but these guys complain all the time. I would ask “what did your coach say” they would say “Nothing, the guy never talks to me”
        I guess my point by saying the process needs to be simplified is that players really only need two things: Where do I stand? Where are we going? Your job as a ‘Manager’ is to keep them happy and healthy and always prepared. Some of these guys just dont know what their Manager really thinks of them. My guys always know exactly where they stand and what we are doing. You have to know what you are doing but you have to have the willingness to tell them, like a man. They might not like it but they will respect you more in the end. That help? 🙂 Not much of a secret but I’m astounded at the lack of communication from player to coach.

      • I read an interview with Arsène Wenger where he says something very similar. The question was about how to manage top flight talent and make it work. His response was that you have to make sure the players know what the advantage for them personally will be working within the team’s system. That means clear and frequent communication, and making sure there’s a common vision for how a team’s goals reflect the personal goals of the players.
        Funny how successful relationships of just about any type use similar strategies 🙂

  16. Wynalda said that a very high number of players failed to answer some “simple questions” because their managers were afraid of tough conversations. Could you guys reengage about that? I would like to understand what he means by that.


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