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USMNT Notes: Klinsmann not concerned with Brooks, Morales committed to USA, and more

John Brooks USMNT 10001
Photo by Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports


BOSTON — Seeing one of your more promising defensive prospects demoted to second-team duty at the club level might be a real cause for concern for some international coaches, but not Jurgen Klinsmann.

John Brooks was recently sent down to the reserves at Hertha Berlin due to inconsistent performances with the first team, and it seems he will remain there for the foreseeable future after manager Jos Luhukay made some less than flattering comments about the 21-year-old centerback’s play in the press.

That decision has forced Brooks to settle for games in Germany’s fourth division, a far from ideal competitive setting for someone who is a U.S. Men’s National Team regular these days. But Klinsmann is not overly worried about Brooks’ situation, convinced that this is just part of the growing process for a professional in the early years of his career.

“It’s typical up and downs of young players,” said the U.S. head coach. “We’ve got to take it the way it is. We won’t change the minds of their club coaches. They go through difficult moments, so we want them to go through it and to prove a point to their coaches.

“If they get the opportunity to play now (internationally) that’s a good moment to do that but also when they go back into training, they start fresh again and hopefully convince their coach to put them back in the lineup. This is just something that is happening in the early stage of your career. That is what John is going through. It’s not an easy time for him, but there’s no other way.”

Since being sent to the second team in late September and before arriving to the U.S.’s camp earlier this week, Brooks started and went the distance in two games with Hertha Berlin II. It is a major drop-off from the level Brooks played at this summer, when he came off the bench and scored a game-winning goal for the U.S. at the World Cup.

Still, Klinsmann believes this test of character can help Brooks in the long run.

“You’ve got to learn how to handle it. You’ve got to go through problems and issues, and it makes you only stronger,” said Klinsmann. “That’s our message to him: You go through that tough, tough moment, then it makes you stronger going forward.

“We know what this kid can do. He proved it already a couple of times with us. He has tremendous amount of talent, but he has to become more consistent, he has to become more stable, and hopefully we can help him doing that.”

Here are more notes from the U.S.’s camp:


Alfredo Morales is not yet cap-tied to the U.S., but the chances he plays for another country seem slim. Very slim.

Morales is eligible to play for Germany, Peru and the U.S. due to his lineage, but it seems unlikely that the reigning World Cup champions call for the versatile FC Ingolstadt midfielder given their embarrassment of riches. Peru, on the other hand, has repeatedly expressed interest in Morales, who has only ever represented the U.S. on the international stage and has two caps with the senior side since 2013.

That has not dissuaded Peruvians from holding out hope that the 24-year-old Morales could switch allegiances, but do not expect to ever see that happen.

“Yeah, of course it’s an option, but not for me, not in my life,” said Morales.


Despite still only being 24 himself,  Jozy Altidore has been around the international game long enough to know how privileged the new crop of youngsters are.

Altidore is entering his third World Cup cycle with the U.S., but never before in his time with the team has there been such a potentially congested schedule. The 2015 and 2017 Gold Cups and 2016 Centennial Copa America are on tap, and so too could be the 2016 Olympics and 2017 Confederations Cup.

The amount of competitions the Americans will play in in the coming years – not to mention the World Cup qualifiers for Russia 2018 – will test the squad as a whole. But with those games come more opportunities to impress, an advantageous scenario that will provide youngsters coming through the ranks experience in top-notch, pressure-filled matches that should only help their development.

“They’re very lucky,” said Altidore. “We’re all very lucky to be here, but they’re taking part in the program in a time – where I don’t think the USA has had this time before – with two Gold Cups, Copa America, maybe even a Confederations Cup, the Olympics.

“It’s incredible to be a part of the U.S. National Team at this moment in time, so it’s a big opportunity for all of us.”


What do you make of Klinsmann’s stance regarding Brooks’ situation at Hertha? Still want the USMNT to cap-tie Morales ASAP? How big of an opportunity do the youngsters have in these comings years?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Seems to me all the Klinsmann chatter is about earlier impressions of him as opposed to his comments about Brooks. His Brooks comments seem spot on.

    I looked at the wiki of the Berlin coach and he’s a classic carousel coach, I can imagine that Brooks might be inconsistent and still has some adolescent tendencies, and when all is said and done the unoriginal coach is applying a unoriginal gambit to a young player with unoriginal professional challenges.

    Brooks gives all indication that he is not going sabotage his talent by failing at growing up, and his coach has given all indication that will not break Berlin’s record for tenure, and if all of that is true Brooks will get through this moment of his career just fine.

  2. On those occasions where Arena or Bradley were faced with multiple international tournaments that overlapped or occurred in quick succession, they chose which to focus on with the “A” team and used a “B” squad for the other. Many faulted them for not using only “A” team all the time when the “B” team underperformed.

    JK will be facing the same sort of challenges in the coming years. I think the present depth of the US pool is better so the “B” squad JK will be able to field is better than those Bradley and Arena could assemble; JK may get off with better “B” results, but the “A” team still needs to win.

  3. it’s crazy how many tournaments are coming up between now and 2018. player management is going to be fun to watch because that’s going to be a hell of a task for the US staff. here’s to hoping we win them all!

  4. Sometimes I think Klinsmann is too forthcoming for his own good. He is prone to making pronouncements — play in Europe, play in a better league, work hard to get playing time, etc. — that sound like rules or requirements that can justify a decision not to call up a certain player (I’m NOT talking about Donovan here, so please hold your fire) but then seem to get ignored in other cases. I don’t think Klinsmann is being disingenuous. I think that multiple factors go into those decisions, but his habit of laying down these ideas as rules or overarching principles hurts him.

    • JK does talk too much but that mistake is compounded by the fact most of what he says is nuanced and comes with many qualifiers.

      But most on SBI don’t bother with those distinctions and just run with what they like to think JK said.

      Bradley had the right idea about saying a lot of nothing.

      • “nuanced”?

        So shifting criteria to suit whatever he happens to want to do is a nuance that I’m missing? So all his contradictory statements about you must be getting playing time, you must play in Europe, you must show commitment, we must play attacking football… unless of course you’re not doing any of those things and I like you anyway – that’s stuff I missed as a “nuance” because I didn’t read his comments.

        Thanks. Here I thought he was just a self-serving stranger to the truth. Didn’t realize it was because I don’t understand nuances.

        Maybe it wasn’t that Bob Bradley kept quiet that was his strength, Maybe it was his being direct and clear.

      • If only the players paid attention to everything JK said the way you do, Tony. Just out of curiosity does everything that comes out of your mouth carry the force of contractual obligation? Does anyone operate that way? Demanding perfect consistency is something you only try to enforce when you have an irrational level of dislike for someone.

      • I think, in Tony’s defense, that JK seldom says things in a way that leaves much to interpretation. JK is pretty direct when he says things, the complaint, I believe, is that he then goes back on what those direct statements said when he has to make decisions.

        I am not saying that JK should be bound by some strict set of guidelines, even if he was the one to articulate them, that would, simply put, be foolish and JK is not foolish.

        I do understand the frustration of many when JK says one thing pretty clearly and directly, then does something else.

      • Those are good thoughts, Dennis. It makes me wonder if the issue is really one of JK working in a second language. As someone who has lived internationally and worked in a 2nd language speaking with nuance is not an easy thing to do in a non-native tongue. Speaking more directly than you may want to happens because it is the easiest way to express oneself.

      • Mr. Quakeland,

        I have very little issue with anything JK says. I hear it and take note but I’m more interested in the fact that the team is now a dynamic entity with what appears to be a very interesting couple of years coming up.

        You are more interested in the wrapping rather than the actual present.

        You act as if JK was an evangelical preacher and everything he says must be regarded as the word of god. And then when you find an apparent contradiction you turn your fury on the heretic Klinsmann and call for him to be burned at the stake.

        You may be a big soccer fan but it seems you haven’t listened much to professional coaches.

        If you apply your alleged standards to most pro coaches and managers in pro sports you will find most of them just as heretical as JK if not more so.

        Bob Bradley is a great man and a fine manager but when he was with the USMNT he was far from “direct and clear”. He never explained his frequent use of Bornstein. He never addressed the starting of Clark over Edu in the Ghana game. He never explained leaving Ching off of the 2010 World Cup squad. He never addressed why he wasted a World Cup spot on a half fit Gooch. He never explained picking Buddle and then barely using him in the 2010 WC. He never really addressed Robbie Findley’s inclusion in 2010. He never explained the complete lack interest in even looking at Bobby Convey, seemingly his version of Eric Lichaj.

        I do not have a problem with any of those decisions and I think understood why he made the choices he made but BB was hardly “direct and clear” about his rationale with them or the way he used Mikey.or much of anything else in his time with the USMNT.

        Life is far too short to worry about what a coach says in an interview rather than what he actually gets done on the field.

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