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SBI Question of the Day: Do you agree with Garber or Klinsmann?



In what has become a somewhat surprising battle, Don Garber and Jurgen Klinsmann have drawn up battle lines in the debate about where American soccer is going, and should go, and Garber’s emotional response on Wednesday had fans of the sport taking sides.

On one side you have Klinsmann, who recently expressed concerns with some of his top players, namely Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley, being able to maintain their highest level of play while playing in MLS. On the other side you have Garber, who took Klinsmann’s comments to mean that no players can develop in MLS and playing in MLS can hurt a player’s national team career.

There are clearly other disagreements between the two men, on subjects ranging from promotion-relegation to the playing of MLS matches during international windows, but the heart of the current squabble centers around Klinsmann’s willingness to speak publicly about MLS not being a top league in the world, and Garber believing Klinsmann should never say anything publicly that can be considered critical of the league.

So here is your question. Who do you agree with? Agree with Klinsmann’s comments? Think Garber is right to react the way he did, and demand Klinsmann stop criticizing MLS?

Cast your vote after the jump:

  • Jurgen Klinsmann
  • Don Garber
  • Neither. Both sides make good points


I gave my take on this Garber-Klinsmann squabble in my latest column, where I question Garber’s comments in light of what are some legitimate concerns Klinsmann has every right to express.

How did you vote? What do you think of the latest war of words? Think Garber was being a bit irrational? Think Klinsmann needs to stop being critical of MLS?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Love it. A bunch of football wankers sitting around gazing at their belly buttons and arguing about the latest tiff between the domestic league and the nat’l team coach. Evidence that we’ve definitely started to mature as a footballing nation.

  2. The best Americans are playing overseas where there are better teams. MLS isn’t as good, so why is JK getting so much garbage? Let the man coach and pick the players he wants, and if they don’t perform well, then fire him and move on.

    It’s like this world can’t go on without people having to make big deals out of everything

    • Are they playing that much? Is Belgium or Mexico better than MSL? A real coach takes what he has and optimizes it. No excuses . Take the weight off the players and put it on yourself. Dont be looking for excuses. Dont take the helicopter home every night.

  3. I’m baffled… Klinsmann is brazen and cavalier at the microphone, but come World Cup time the USMNT was as meek as a mouse.

    Tell me less, show me more.

    • Funny that he should complain about a coaching level he is perfect for regarding his ability. He belongs in the MSL. perfect fit for his limited ability.

  4. Garber, why don’t you go back to NFL Europe, oh wait…

    Leave, Garber! You are not wanted any more! Time for a football guy to take over the league.

    But, ultimately, there won’t be any progress until the single entity shackles disappear.

    • Wait a minute. JK is not a HIGH level coach. Once he was exposed in Germany, they got rid of him FAST. dont tell me about being head coach of germany. Maradona was head coach of Argentina. Even the Germans make mistakes but they correct them. JK is a MSL or Championship level coach ,Guys. He is at his max level right now. The USMT will never get better with him. He is not on the level of VG or Ancellotti or Maurinho or Rodgers. He is SECOND class.

      • How compelling and insightful.

        Your argument for why JK is a second-rate coach apparently consists entirely of “He was fired by Bayern Munich”. Newsflash– almost every top coach in the global game has been fired or chased off in his career. Often multiple times. Sometimes it’s part of the learning curve… sometimes just a bad situation. Really doesn’t prove much actually.

        To illustrate, let’s have a look at your examples (none of whom would be at all approachable as USMNT head coach at the moment, so I’ve no idea why you actually brought them up). But….

        1) Van Gaal has been sacked by (you guessed it) Bayern Munich, and shown the door at Barca and Ajax, in spite of always inheriting and embarrassment of riches and experiencing early success. Don’t look now, but the Man U thing ain’t looking so hot either.

        2) Ancelotti did not win anything during his first 5 years in management (unless you count the Intertoto Cup) and has been sacked by Juventus and Chelsea

        3) Mourinho wore out his welcome at Madrid, having largely disappointed expectations and failing to deliver the Champions League in spite of massive spending, an ending similar to his first run at Chelsea.

        4) Rodgers has accomplished nothing whatsoever so I’m not sure why he is even on this list.

        So Klinsmann is hardly the only guy out there to experience the sack at a major European club. The important thing is that he is learning and improving and this has translated into results, many of which are unprecedented for the program. Since his hiring with the USMNT in 2011, Klinsmann has hit or exceeded every competitive target that has been set, (Crushed Gold Cup and WCQ. Oversaw record win streak. landmark wins away to MEX, ITA, CZE, B&H. Ongoing 19 match home unbeaten run. Unprecedented winning percentage. And of course cleared Group of Death with a starting XI valued at less-than-half of Ronaldo’s Real transfer fee…. To name just a few achievements to date)

        But hey, we didn’t win the World Cup so he’s gotta go (somebody’s German friend has it on good authority that he is not highly thought of by German people so case closed….)

        I suppose you’d like to suggest a replacement…. Because you thought that through… Right?

  5. I haven’t paid any mind to this, Garber just pissed me off.I haven’t posted on this site in years but seriously Garber needs to just stfu.I agree 100% with Jurgen. My personal feeling when I saw Bradley return was disappointment.I love the mls but it isnt the top.I want to see our top players in the top leagues abroad.

    • Sorry but MLS is thinking big, thinking the future, and Klinsmann is thinking the past. Thinks Europe is the only way. This would be fine if he were just the national team coach but he is not. He is the technical director who is responsible for player development, The USSF and MLS have been working hand in hand for years to improve soccer in the US. He needs to be contributing to this partnership, not tearing down MLS. As technical director of US Soccer he has every right to voice his opinion on MLS and player development but it should NOT be done in public. It is his job to work with MLS to get it and the youth development in the academies to the standard he wants. If he wants certain players overseas then that should be a private conversation. Klinsmann was brought in to get US Soccer to the next level. You don’t do that by telling everyone they need to go to Europe. That is what our best players have always done. Mining dual nationals from Europe is what we have always done. You don’t get to the next level by doing what we have always done. If our best players and youth prospects go to Europe, we will never have the optimum competitive environment needed to develop a home grown world class player

      • Disagree. JK is thinking future, but not in a pie in the sky way. He recognizes the level the PLAYERS need to be at in order to compete at the highest level. He NEVER said MLS will never get there. He’s simply said (over and over and over since he’s been hired actually) that players need to be playing nearly year round against the highest level of competition possible in as many matches as they can earn time in. that the ladder that needs to be climbed. Frankly I don’t think he gives a cr@p where that ladder is, but the reality is that ladder is currently in Europe. Has been for over 40 years. We all hope, and I’m sure JK does too, that the day comes where that happens in the MLS. But that’s just not the case right now. MLS are no where near having a development infrastructure in place, let alone a match calendar, that describes what was articulated above. MLS is gaining ground, but it’s not even approaching a tipping point where it’s time for ALL american players to come home and rest easy that they’ll get everything they need developmentally in the USA in order to hang with the world’s best. We may never reach that day. So What?

        Every player needs to find their own way (and is, as is evidenced by how many MLS players are regular starters on the Nats first team), but if we expect our team to be hardened enough to make it to the World Cup Final, they need to playing and training at a similar level of intensity and competition to those who have already climbed that Everest. There’s nothing backward looking about that, that’s just common sense.

        What is so hard about accepting this?

  6. Taylor Twellman just said on espnfc ” What Jurgen is saying is nothing new. I played under both Bradley and Arena.. and they both had the same message for me. If you want to get better, get to Europe”

    Burly also said ” Jurgen isn’t saying MLS is bad, he just wants his players to challenge themselves at the highest level possible”

    I’m wondering how many people actually watched the press conference when JK was asked these questions. He wasn’t demonstrative, he was very consistent in what he’s been saying all along when asked these same questions…..

    Even Lalas said more or less this is media driven.. He also said that JK has been consistent in asking questions that we either A. Don’t like or are afraid to hear the answer to, or B. Nobody has asked before..and that’s a good thing…. while Garber called a press conference and made it very personal, and showed that by bringing up LD and making Demands of JK ( I can’t believe I’m quoting Lalas and Twellman and agreeing with them)

  7. Ives you really did mis-characterize what Garber said and meant. I have to think you understand the issue at hand but you certainly didn’t demonstrate that in your write-up.

  8. I don’t necessarily agree with klinsmann but I feel like he was just giving his honest opinion while garber just responded emotionally.

  9. All this theoretical talk. Who exactly should be going to Europe? Bradley and Dempsey were in Europe but became surplus to requirements. Should they have moved to lesser clubs just to stay in Europe? And who else are we talking about? No one really disagrees that playing in more competitive league is better , who exactly is good enough to get real playing time with a big club in Europe?

    • EXACTLY. Until we have players that can and regularly do, we have more work to do to be considered a top 10, top 5 power in FIFA. That’s JK’s whole d@mn point.

  10. @PD in Philly (on my phone so I can’t reply directly),

    So true about the commercial implications in this. You know they had LD photo and commercial shoots ready, a video documentary team ready for Brazil, etc. It was going to be Landon’s last WC hurrah and all about him, at the expense of the team (a team everyone came to love and support). Only problem is that the final decision was JK’s, not SUM. Agree or disagree with JK on it, that is good and proper and MLS should not have counted their chickens before they hatched. Landon is not entitled to wear the jersey, nobody is. It’s Team USA, not Team MLS/SUM/Garber/Donovan. End of story. Garber’s comments on it yesterday were sour grapes more than anything.

  11. This is all smoke screen. What we should be talking about is the fact that the USA is leaking goals in the last ten minutes of games and that is not good at all.

  12. JK is the NAT coach controls player development. MLS is our top league and should be a feeder to the NAT team. If JK rips our top league then he is in the wrong job as our NAT coach. What are the players with NAT aspirations that are in MLS to think if they hear JK slamming the league? They will think they need to move across the pond. How can our league grow if the top talent thinks they belong elsewhere?

    Garber is exactly right. JK needs to stop slamming the league and stop encouraging the talent to go elsewhere. He is and always will be, an Euro snob and if he can’t get over that then he should quit. He’s been fired from two jobs there already… maybe he should embrace his current location

  13. JK is whining.

    I don’t care that he claims his job is tougher because of lack of Pro/Rel or players playing at home for more money. Get the job done. And I don’t mean make the round of 16…we are now officially past that stage….That is the floor. The point you almost or do lose your job.

    ps. I want him there for another four years, but he doesn’t make it if he keeps throwing up whiney excuses before he even tries.

    • You’re delusional if you seriously think it’s a fault of coaching for not US sides not winning a world cup final– or making it to the last eight or four teams for that matter. This when our best players currently crack the starting 11 of mid-table teams in the top four leagues in Europe. It’s like being angry at water for being wet.

      What we need is a cogent system of scouts coaches and development opportunities that attract the best prospects possible and push those prospects further and faster than ever before. Right now we should be doing that anywhere and everywhere we can. From what I can see, that is exactly what JK is doing. The sooner that happens, the sooner we have US players both cracking elite Clubs abroad and the higher we raise the bar here at home in MLS.

  14. from Ives’ article, which says it well:

    “Consider the eight teams that reached the quarterfinals of 2014 World Cup. With the exception of Germany … the other seven featured star players playing outside of their domestic leagues, and all but Costa Rica had their very best players playing in the world’s top-four leagues (Spain, England, Germany and Italy).”

    I would take this a step further:

    The starters in the final four teams (Brazil, Argentina, Netherlands, and Germany) featured and relied on delivery from starters that regularly start for top table UEFA-based club sides that are also regularly active in The Champions League. I would also suggest that this has the prevailing characteristic for at least the past 12 years in terms of WC Championchip teams.

    This is no way denigrates the steady growth and potential of the MLS. But it’s a fact. And for Klinsman to say that we should strive to have a national first team with similarly hardened players makes perfect sense. I don’t understand why advocating for this makes people so angry or should be cast as an “anti US soccer” statement. Is our collective skin so thin? From a purely soccer perspective there really can be no sensible argument.

    From a business perspective, no doubt JK could made a different choice. But it’s not his job to sell the MLS product. His job is to inspire players to aspire the highest level they can reach.

    As for the Garber freakout… in my opinion what’s driving it is money. His own worth and power is tied to the continued satisfaction of present and future owners. JK has been saying things that probably have ruffle the feathers of more than a few owners. To wit: LD is the MLS’s poster child. But, the golden goose didn’t fly to Brazil. That’s not just about missed games, that’s about missed income, missed cross promotion, missed marketing opportunities. I bet Garber (and ownership) look at JK’s decision as costing millions of dollars. The MLS is now trying to put MB and Deuce into that superstar machine, so JK making critical comments about their play and place on the national squad represents more lost money and value—that’s just too much for Garber (and ownership) to take. This on top of comments advocating promotion/relegation (something owners will fight tooth and nail) and moving to a schedule more in line with Europe and FIFA fixtures (again more lost income) –Garber needs to show the owners that he will fight for them and their investment as well.

    I’d like to think I’m a atypical US soccer fan. Knowing that MLS isn’t a top league doesn’t mean I won’t watch or support. It also doesn’t mean I don’t dream of a day when the USA wins the World Cup Final. But I logically didn’t expect that was going to happen in 2014, with or without a healthy Jozy and in-form Landon. Why not? See above. I’d rather we build slow and take pride in that rather then be a Cinderealla story, get lucky, and pretend that’s the same thing.

    We’ll get there. But we’re not there. Everbody chill the eff out.

    • It’s never going to happen. The owners own the league and there is no way they are going to take a chance that their investment is sent to a lower division and their franchise loses value and they lose revenue.

      Stop will NEVER happen

      • It’s not up to them.

        Ultimately it’s USSSF that decides.

        Right now they are almost one and the same, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

      • without relegation MLS is boring. Without relegation our national team doesn’t benefit from having more clubs and more academies.

        Stop saying it will never happen and start demanding that it does. Not having it is holding us back. If you don’t realize that then you don’t fully understand this sport.

  15. Bradley can’t even get TFC into the playoffs yet we’re suppose to think if he just tried a little harder he could be starting on a Champions League club?

    • You’ve just made Klinsmann’s point. TFC is that bad and not even a in-form Bradley can help them, if he were in-form, which he is not and hasn’t been for awhile. A large part of the reason for his decline is the lesser competition and his poor quality teammates and coaching in Toronto. They certainly haven’t made him better.

      You can make the counter-argument that MLS is better than that, and that one player doesn’t make a team. Which is on the surface true. But one bad team in a mediocre league can certainly make a good player worse off in form and eventually surplus to requirements for the national team, if you want the national team to really compete for the trophy and truly embrace a world football perspective.

  16. Garber and the MLS owners are just mad because someone more important than them in the game in this country just criticized their nice little racket and their league model….that is it. By now fans should be pretty aware that MLS only cares about its billionaire owners and protectionist league entity…soccer and what is best for the game and the development are much farther down that list

    • Last time I checked the badge said US, not SUM.

      The MLS/USL Pro partnership, while publicly about player development, is also seemingly a means to an end in squeezing out the NASL and its alternative model (in my opinion, MLS could learn a few things from it). This is very problematic and counter-productive for the future of US soccer holistically, if we’re to have all levels of US soccer growing and at their best and feeding into the national team program. Taking this and other issues of the federation along with Garber’s comments, he is acting like the Emperor of U.S. Soccer and making Gulati look weak, while simultaneously putting Gulati in a untenable position on this matter. Who is really in charge here and does the Emperor have any clothes?

  17. What do you expect Garber to say about criticism to MLS?. . . He a corporate representative pressured by a bunch of billionaire owners! His spin that Klinsi’s comments are un-American is complete BS! Garber is just worried about the financial success of the league (and that only)! He does not want soccer fans to turn from the MLS to watch better leagues around the world in order to see a better product. Instead, he is going to claim MLS is on par with those other better leagues, which would be a complete mistruth! Again, what do you expect Garber to say? Further, Garber’s stance that Klinsi should have taken LD to the WC may be a good opinion, but I’m sure it is not an altruistic opinion. Rather, it is probably based on money too, which the league lost in sponsorship deals. In addition, LD has decided to end his career early. . . possibly due to not being part of the USMNT picture. Now the MLS can’t financially ride the coattails of LD’s success for four to six more years! All the more reason for Garber and the MLS to be unhappy with Klinsi!

  18. He’s doing better than any American in soccer has ever done. US coaches and staff and players need their time to end. Klinsmann is the best to ever touch the US Soccer program and when he goes, US Soccer will go. Unless we get a Sir Alex or other legend of the game like Zidane. Klinsmann has never been wrong.

  19. Squeeky wheel gets the grease…

    This is actually a good move by Klinsy/Garber…it’s making people want to form their own opinion, and barring us diehards that are always on these sites and know both sides, will attract more people to check out the league and/or level of play. If even a small percentage of the viewership grows because of this wee tiff, it’ll be well worth the trouble/drama.

  20. Could Klinsi have phrased it better perhaps, but he is right and its not his place to defend the MLS. Garber had no need to mention it at all, all he did was draw attention to the fact that MLS isn’t as good as Serie A or EPL.

    Steps to improve the league.

    1. Higher salary cap, including higher league minimums

    2. Larger roster

    3. One more designated player spot

    4. Follow international breaks

    • johnnyrazor, you missed something that’s far more important than any of the four you cited: legitimate, proper reserve teams, such as LA Galaxy II. Portland and Seattle announced this week that they’re going to create such teams. Without them, you don’t have the developmental bridge necessary between the academies and the senior team. Your last two suggestions don’t address that point.

      • No Salary Cap? Even Europe is trying to institute “Financial Fair Play” aka a salary restriction on clubs due to overspending.

      • Europe’s trying to do that to restrict access for “new” money to overtake “old” money. You know who the biggest supporters of FFP are? The established elite.

  21. BTW, I think that what Klinsmann really wanted to say is the Bradley has stunk it up for the USMNT since he came back to MLS. Which is completely correct – Bradley had a bad World Cup and has not shown anything since. And it’s making Klinsmann’s job a lot harder when his supposed best player is stinking it up. But Klinsmann can’t come out and say that publicly, so he had to make the point elliptically by talking about MLS.

    • When Bradley was at Roma all he was asked to do was work hard and get the ball to the creative players like Totti and Pjanic. Now he’s being asked to create and score goals for club and country but he’s just not that kind of player.

  22. While I think Klinsi’s viewpoint actually hold more merit and truth, he didn’t look great with his comments. I can see how they don’t help to be in public. That said, the Don looked far worse running his mouth.

  23. I’m on Team Klinsmann on this question. Why is it wrong to say – correctly – that coming back to an inferior league in MLS will hurt the USMNT by hindering the development of our elite players ? Klinsmann’s responsibility is to the USMNT, not MLS.

    Still think he should have taken Landon to Brazil, though. Garber was right about that.

    • Well, Klinsi can’t have his cake and eat it too. if all of the USMNT players take EU jobs, the quality/leadership would be lower for remaining future USMNT players.

      Put it this way, would Erick Palmer Brown’s development at KC be worse if Zusi and Besler werent there? Gil without Beckerman? etc.. for every established guy, there are 2-3 hopefuls that could be as good or better down the line. That said, in cases like Bradley, yes i can see how it’s better to have players playing at a higher level.

  24. Klinsmann’s comments represent an honest assesment of the differences in quality between MLS the major euorpan leagues and his hope that the US players can push themselves to achieve their maximum ceiling. Garber is attacking a strawman, not Klinsmann. MLS has become an increasingly successful league almost without regard to the still-questionable on-field quality. MLS has become successful because of the atmosphere created by new soccer-specific stadiums, a few very high profile signings and resulting media attention (Beckham cannot be underestimated), increasingly favorable demographics, back-to-back exciting World Cups that broke through to non-sports fans, the inundation of soccer on television (incredibly, Garber does not like that either), the FIFA video game (which also cannot be underestimated), and an economy that made MLS tickets a value option for people who want to see live sports. Everyone attending an MLS game knows its not the EPL or La Liga and almost everyone does not care, at least not yet. Everyone attending AAA baseball on Staten Island also knows they aren’t in the Bronx, but no one would insist that a player stay there if they could compete for a spot with the Yankees. Garber should have cited the numerous MLS players on the World Cup team or in Klinsmann’s current round of call-ups and left it at that.

  25. So Garber calls a press conference to publicly rant and lecture the national team coach about keeping comments private. Anyone see a contradiction there? has been running seemingly daily articles about Landon and Klinsy this, Landon and Klinsy that, ever since Landon was cut, letting the anti-JK crowd flame on in comments. So I hardly see MLS as a victim in anything Klinsmann said. And Garber bringing Landon into it was petty and stupid.

    There is also the reality that what Klinsmann said was true. MLS is a mediocre league and TFC is a bad team in a mediocre league. It’s not a place that our best under-30 players should be, particualrly if they’re overpaid for arbitrary marketing reasons. There really wasn’t any good footballing reason for Bradley to join TFC.

    Also, Garber calling MLS a good league for development is overall a dubious claim when they’re just now finally getting around to academies and did little with the reserve leage for years. Especially considering that MLS is a low wage, low salary cap “developmental” league that is really a “win now” league, investing in 30 year old journeymen internationals who do the bulk of the playing.

    This appears systemic and institutional if other owners put Garber up to this. Our MLS owner here in Portland is insular and defensive, thinks he is above criticism. He’s constantly being snarky and fighting with local media, bloggers, and fans. He goes off privately on the MLS writer here for not writing over-the-top priaise of the team. It’s sad that Garber is the same way. It shows that a private line of commucation is perhaps pointless, because people in the room have to follow a script and walk on eggshells. This is disconcerting to me, especially since these guys are on the USSF board.

    Given all of MLS’ issues, this is what Garber sets his sights on? Garber’s comments have turned me off to MLS even more and unfortunately it shows that the US soccer landscape, for all of its “growth, is still immature, and in some cases, still a backwater by world football standards.

    • “There really wasn’t any good footballing reason for Bradley to join TFC.”

      IIRC, Bradley was about to sit on the bench at Roma. At 27, few (if any) big European clubs are going to be interested in him. Given that Bradley has been the national team’s most pivotal player, he needed to play consistently. Besides, Bradley’s agent has the responsibility for finding the right fit for his client, whether in Europe or elsewhere, not Klinsmann or Garber. What if that “fit” didn’t exist in Europe?

      Nobody insists that MLS is equivalent to the Premiership, Serie A, the Bundesliga or La Liga, not even close. But it’s not the local beer league, either.

      Here’s something to think about: How has sitting on the bench for mid-table Sunderland in the EPL helped Jozy Altidore’s career or development?

      • “IIRC, Bradley was about to sit on the bench at Roma. At 27, few (if any) big European clubs are going to be interested in him. ”

        yes, he was simply a depth option. but, as reported from multiple media sources, Bradley had offers from mid table teams in the Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1, and the EPL as well as in 2nd tier leagues like Portugal and i believe even Holland. no one is saying to stay at Roma, this all stems for not taking one of these other solid offers he had. he went with the money that TFC gave him. can’t blame him, and JK said this, for looking out for his family. but it absolutely means his form will be closely watched. think about the midfield he was competing with in practice at Roma. there is no doubt he was being pushed even in practice. but i certainly don’t subscribe to the idea that practicing with that level, and never playing a game at that level, is good enough. so he had to move one way or the other. especially before the WC.

        “Here’s something to think about: How has sitting on the bench for mid-table Sunderland in the EPL helped Jozy Altidore’s career or development?”

        Jozy himself has said he has grown as a player. i think we can all agree his time at Sunderland, as a whole, is not good and he HAS to get out. but he has interest from other good European teams. because he has that interest, he should take a deal if it comes and maintain a higher level of competition than grabbing what would likely be a massive contract from a team like NYCFC where he is handed everything. that certainly isn’t helping development of his game. that would just get him back in form, which is good, but would likely mean he hits a ceiling within a year.

        if anything, to me this just shows the importance of US players being careful about when they leave MLS and where they are going. Shea actually said it best in an article a few months back. he regrets jumping at the first EPL offer. he didn’t do his homework and quickly found himself in a bad situation which led to him spiraling. now, we can’t say for certain that Bradley’s offers were good situations, but by all accounts from the media sources who reported it, they were good situations for him to go to. just nowhere near offering the $6m/year that TFC was.

      • I really like Altidore but I really doubt that his time at Sunderland will prompt offers from any big or mid-size club. He works hard, but he has shown very little and Europeans are quick to discount performances in the Dutch league.

      • Jozy, we already know, has interest from other mid-table clubs in the big four leagues. he also has interest from teams like PSV which are big but in 2nd tier leagues. you know who doesn’t discount performances in the Dutch league? the Dutch. he could easily find his way back into that league, likely with a better team than AZ.

        and people can rag on the Eredivisie all they want, it’s still a higher level than MLS.

  26. Hmmm, Garber vs Klinsman. Okay, here is my take on this fiasco…….I understand where Klinsman is coming from, he has played in the highest level almost all throughout his career (when he was playing), from Champions League, to the UEFA Winners Cup (now defunct, called Europa League now…I guess), to the crème de la crop…..the World Cup (and winning that bad boy). He comes to this environment where soccer is just growing and he is using that same mindset (euro style) to look at the American scene, obviously he is going to be disappointed because WE ARE NOT THERE YET. As a coach, especially one that is highly paid, I think he is responsible for what he says, his actions and what effect that will bring (cause & effect, of sort), so I think Klinsman, being an intellegent man that he is (well though not from the recent comments), he should understand (& respect) the growing up aspect of American soccer and not be bashful of it. We all are fans of the game, be it the EPL or the MLS (pick your poison, mines’ both)……I think it is not cool for Klinsman to come out and say these things because it is putting down the hard work of people trying to grow soccer in this country (and the MLS) and also the fans such as you & I, although what he is saying is true. So rather than criticize the Americans coming back to the league, maybe there are coming back to help raise the profile of the league….Yes, they might be missing out on Champion’s league or Europa league play (which is a higher level), but at the same time, MLS gets a step closer to their European counterparts level wise. Remember MLS is just 20 years old and the European leagues have been around more than twice as long and I can bet my ass that when they were 20 years old, these leagues were not as successful as the MLS is today, not to talk about the lack of competition for fans from other sports in Europe whereas over here, talk about the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA etc and still the MLS is somewhat successful in many ways… I get where Klinsman is coming from but he should say it in a way that will not ruffle feathers. As for Don Garber…….we Americans are proud, and I don’t blame him at all for the reaction. Check this out, you are trying to build a product, and here comes someone indirectly bashing your product, Hells yeah, you are gonna react, so I don’t blame Don because he is doing just that. Now y’all have your reasons why you think Don did that…..for financial reasons, or because his bosses told him to or for whatever reasons but I just think Klinsman should dial it down a bit and that is where Gulati has to step in before this becomes embarrassing for both parties. In years to come, the MLS will keep on growing and with the lessening of the financial restraint, the league will be much more desirable for European players to come. The only downside to this is that we don’t play in the Champion’s league (or Europa) and that’s every dream of soccer players especially those that can’t play in a World cup, that is their World cup. I sincerely apologize for my rant, just wanted to vent a bit on this scenario.

  27. Americans are so easily convinced that some charming European knows something about soccer that they don’t. I wish I had a nickel for every time I have heard some visitor to our shores pontificate about soccer and how Americans don’t know anything.

    Klinsmann is a really charming guy, but he is also a lightweight, a gasbag who loves to hear himself talk. Of course, players get better by playing in the most competitive league possible. We silly Americans didn’t need to be told that. Nonetheless, “playing” is the key word. Signing with a European team does not guarantee playing time for anyone — ask Juan Mata if you don’t believe me. Very few Americans are so good that they can expect to play regularly for a top notch European team. Some like Dempsey or McBride might eventually convince a European coach that they should be on the field, but many other Americans have ended up sitting on the bench or playing with the reserves. Even Dempsey was surplus to requirements after a year at Spurs. And it’s only going to get harder as the English FA and others act to reduce the number of non-EU players active in Europe.

    MLS is the future of the USMNT. It needs to pay players better so that soccer can begin to attract the best American athletes. It and the lower divisions need to create more places for players eligible for the USMNT and it needs to stop wasting money on over-the-hill foreigners. If Klinsmann had mentioned any of these actions, he would be worth listening to. As it is, we should treat as just another garrulous old soccer bum.

    • The issue is timeline.

      If you look out 5 or more years, the growth of professional soccer in the US will be the single largest factor in US international success. Garber is therefore right. Youth teams, second level professional teams, increasing public attention, etc all aid US international success–in the long term

      If you look to the next WC, having our best players play in MLS will hurt our performance. The clear cut lack of sharpness by both Bradley and Dempsey illustrate the point. So JK is also right.

      JK’s outspoken criticism isn’t to slow MLS’ progress, but to influence the younger players coming into the next cycle to go to the most competitive teams they can to increase their skills and match sharpness. That will produce the best possible outcome for the US in the WC.

      I’m all for both view points.

      • Who within the current USMNT pool should go to Europe? Assuming that they would go only if they could reasonably expect to get substantial playing time?

    • You see you are wrong when you say MLS is the future of the national team!!! Its not!!! there are Americans everywhere. We had a WC team before we had a league. Truth be told MLS is suppose to be a conviniece for the NT so we don’t have to search the globe for player and at the moment MLS isn’t fully living up to that

      • You’re joking right? Where else are American players going to get day in and day out professional competitive matches? There are only a handful of US players that have the technical skill and talent to SIT on the bench in Europe. Players only progress when they play competitive matches, the more competitive the better, where ever they may be.

    • So you don’t think Klinsman telling MLS that the should pay players more is a bigger hot bottom issue? Second, that is not he was asked. He wasn’t pontificating. He was answering a directed question.

      • You can pontificate even if you are answering a question. Believe Klinsmann wakes up pontificating about one thing or another.

  28. Is MLS riding US Soccer’s coattails or is it the other way around? I find the fact that their TV contract(s) and other marketing efforts are so intertwined central to this whole skirmish. At the end of the day, they are business partners on and off the field, whether they like it or not. Simply put, they need each other to succeed.

    Klinsmann is allowed to say what he feels, it is America after all. He also has a point that the day to day existence in MLS puts the top players under less stress than the day to day existence in a top flight European league. He is right to question whether players who have thrived in Europe will keep their standards or if young players will reach their full potential in a less stringent environment. He also needs to be a little less smug about how he voices these questions.

    Like any good businessman, Garber needs to take the MLS party line. He is right to do so, and is correct that MLS has been an important source of national team players for the last 5 World Cup cycles (whether Klinsmann likes it or not). That said, it must kill Garber inside to admit that Klinsmann is technically right. IMO, Garber should use this as a rallying cry for MLS to raise its standards, and in effect stick it to Klinsmann after the fact.

    Lastly, it’s about time American soccer has some figureheads with big egos in a public spat. This sort of thing can only serve to raise the profile of soccer in this country even further. Everyone loves a good controversy.

    • The most sensible reply yet.

      They both make extremely valid points given their perspective, though Garber’s seem a little too emotional and seemed out of character for him. The fact is this isn’t so much a personal argument between Klinsmann and Garber, but rather a bigger conflict between the ultimate goals of the USMNT and MLS. It just so happens that both organizations have intelligent and experienced leaders, neither of whom are afraid to speak their minds and ruffle feathers.

      Personally I think it is great that these guys are bringing up these issues so that they can, ultimately, be dealt with. Hopefully to the benefit of both parties. Some seem fairly straight-forward (MLS needs to observe the FIFA international dates, etc) and some are more difficult: how does the national team coach advise players who are good enough to play in Europe but want to play closer to home in MLS.

    • I disagree with your first paragraph. That’s were it seems like Jurgen stands out. MLS ride USSOCCERs coattails and MLS still needs it for relevance! This isn’t really a 50-50 thing if MLS ended today Klinsmann could pick a full squad based on NASL, Europe and Liga MX.

      • Agree to disagree. A full squad with NASL, European and Liga MX players is not our strongest squad. If JK is taking a team to a competitive game, MLS players are on the roster and on the field. True, the relationship between MLS and US Soccer might not be 50-50, but the success of one entity is definitely intertwined with the other. Klinsmann knows this, Garber knows this, and most importantly, Gulati knows this. This whole situation is a classic sibling squabble, and it will be interesting to see how Daddy Gulati squashes it.

    • +1 Very sensible and intelligent view, DanO. In most any country with a developed soccer culture, there will inevitably be conflict between the domestic FA and the league(s). Both Garber and Klinsmann are charged with looking out for the interests of organizations, which are fundamentally different, yet ultimately intertwined. There will be conflicts (particularly while both MLS and US Soccer are in growth phases), collaborations, and negotiated solutions, and this situation is likely to persist long after Garber and Klinsmann have played their parts. It’s nothing to fret about…. just the nature of the beast.

  29. Problem with comments are they should have been kept private. Kids were finally looking up to MLS players. Its in the best interest of US Soccer for kids to grow up watching American soccer AND European soccer. The recent comments will turn kids away from MLS.

    Klinsmann is right in what he said, but making it public instead of keeping it to the team was stupid.

  30. Garber should have talked up MLS and its strengths and successes instead of slamming Klinsmann, especially in such a personal and bitter way. It’s hard to disagree with Klinsmann’s assessment of Dempsey’s and Bradley’s positions — they had chances to play in Europe, but chose MLS. That doesn’t mean that good American players should never choose MLS, but rather that they have to consider where, balancing competition and playing time, they will develop best. Even one of the guys Garber touted (Yedlin) proves the point that MLS can be the best option at one time but not at another time.

    • Garber did use examples. It’s no wonder how infuriating it must be to watch this guy pull the wool over the eyes of millions. I hope Howard comes out and breaks silence over all Klinsmann has done to harm US Soccer.

    • agreed. although i think Dempsey coming back to MLS was the right move at his age. but like you said, Bradley had good options in the top leagues he could have gone to from Roma. i think that is what stemmed JK’s comments.

      and to take your comment further, it was clear he was saying to reach the highest level, the peak, a player needs to be in Europe. that does not mean, in ANY way, that he doesn’t want his players in MLS at all or that he is demanding the youth to leave MLS. his comments were directly about Bradley, a guy who is 27, in his prime, and considered the best US (CONCACAF) player by many.

  31. i’m pretty sure people got it the first time Klinsmann said it.

    Now he’s just trying to piss people off.

    Don’t bite the hand that feeds you or back to unemployment line you go.

  32. Klinsi could have been more implicit in his arguments. He never had to mention MLS. I think everyone can agree that to challenge oneself at the highest level one would have to do so outside the MLS. He should have put the focus on what other leagues can offer other than what MLS lacks.

    • why beat around the bush? if he had done that, people would have just complained that, “he was clearly talking about MLS.” and they would be right. so why not be straight forward and “honest”, as JK said he was doing.

      • I don’t think that is beating around the bush. Klinsi’s ultimate point is that American players should look to challenge themselves at the highest level. If MLS believes it should be part of that conversation, then Garber can step up with a plan to do so. For example:

        We want our homegrown and American talent to stay home and and realize that they can maximize their talent in our league. We are not there yet, but we aspire to be a top league in the world and this is how we attend to get there…

        JK could be honest without bashing MLS and Garber could be honest with the state of the league without bashing Klinnsmann.

      • yes, his main point was always about Bradley and wanting the best US players, who are in their prime, playing at the top level. if he said that, and only that, it would be obvious that he is referring to TFC and MLS. so why not just say it?

        homegrown talent is not relevant to this conversation. not one comment from Klinsmann discussed the youth. nor did Klinsmann ever say MLS would never reach the level he speaks of. he was saying that, at the moment, MLS is not at the competitive level that Bradley was getting in Europe and could have continued to get with the multiple good offers he had to leave Roma but stay in Europe. Klinsmann even went on to say he understood that it’s hard to turn down that money and it’s a decision that is really more about Bradley’s family than his continued growth. so, Klinsmann said Bradley will have to prove that he can continue to grow, and at the very least, not lose a step.

      • We’re not going to get there until we start producing world class players, because we aren’t outspending the top European teams anytime soon.

        Until we have several world class players, USMNT players playing in MLS isn’t going to bring our quality up to a point that’s competitive with those teams.

    • He was asked a question……. At a press conference !!!!! What is the man to do? Tip toe around it like some pu$$y or speak up like a man?

  33. Again, the issue is not whether Klinsmann is right, it’s whether he should say it in public. It does no one any good to run down players and the league in public, even if he honestly believes that the MLS is hurting the USMNT. Garber has a duty to protect his league, what is he supposed to do after trying repeatedly to explain to Klinsmann to keep his mouth shut?

    I know the media is in the tank for Klinsmann, Ives included, but maybe some journalist will ask an MLS owner what they think about Klinsmann’s comments, or maybe as Klinsmann about Martin Vqasquez’ sudden disappearance from the National team setup after years of work?

    It’s stupid to frame this as a “Who looks worse” argument. There are real issues here that are not being explored, instead it’s about whether Garber “looks weak”, as if his employers (the owners of MLS teams) care one whit what some media guy thinks about Garber’s strength.

    • the problem isn’t the comments, it’s how people, some people, took the comments, twisted his words, and extrapolated from there. urging his best players, like Bradley, to aim for Europe is not bad for the league and it does not hurt the league. it’s the reality and it’s well known. all he said, in the end, is that playing in MLS does not give Bradley the same level of competition, day in and day out, that playing in a top Euro league does. he said this because Bradley had offers from good clubs that he could have taken to get out of the Roma situation.

      that said, it would have been fine for Garber to respond and i’ve a number of articles that provide a much better idea of how Garber could have handled the situation. but instead he acted with emotion, too much of it, and came off as bitter and insecure. then demanded things like MLS not be criticized, at all, by JK and trying to bring the LD situation into it. it was a mess of a conference call from him. should have been handled better because it’s in the public. which, by the way, i’m fine with. this is a standard debate in Europe.

    • Maybe if the MLS owners and Garber cared more about making MLS the best league in the world instead of trying to keep it under wraps that its not they would be moving in the right direction. Anyone who cares, probably watched the world cup and went none of these stars on the other teams play in MLS we must not be the best league in the world.

    • Klinsmann should say it publicly. Should he stay quiet so he doesn’t hurt our feelings? This is the same as giving every child a trophy for participating. Pure garbage.

      • Have to disagree somewhat here, at least as relates to the players being called out (rather than the US Soccer vs. MLS angle). The public nature of the exercise is actually part of the point, as far as I am concerned I have always perceived JK’s public “calling out” of certain players to be calculated, with a clear purpose of challenging the player and coaxing a “chip on the shoulder” mentality, which has historically been a strong motivtor for specific players including Dempsey and Bradley.

        As JK says, there is actually very little he can do if these players want to take the huge payday and come home. Using the media to “light a fire” is one of the few avenues available to him to guard against complacency, and to communicate this message to the broader pool by showing he is willing to challenge his very best players and on-field leaders.

        Note that I do not believe JKwould use this tactic for all players. As they have shown, guys like MB and Dempsey are mentally strong enough to accept this challenge and use it as fuel without taking it as a personal affront. By contrasrt I am not sure JK would issue a similar statement if a psychologically fragile player like Brek Shea returned home to get his career back on track (we’ll probably see soon enough).

        Just my perspective…

    • I’m not sure if you’ve been watching or listening but based on Merrit Paulsons tweet, Klinsmann picking a college kid and an Nasl guy kinda rubbed MLS the wrong way. Plus Klinsmann was asked this in a press conference and he answer it a liberal as possible. He didn’t just come out and complain. Plus he’s a coach he allowed to challenge his players. Klinsmann isn’t the only one that been critical of The Don’s emperor ways. I remember Bruce Arena just had a few not so kind things to say a few weeks ago.

    • Klinsi absolutely should have said this in public. His players and potential future players need to know that their coach expects them to strive to play at the highest club level possible. If our top players settle for MLS level of competition instead of the UEFA champions league or one of the top European leagues level, it makes our national team weaker. Garber’s reaction to his statement is totally out of proportion. What is more, Garber attempts to put a friction between the national team coach and his players by implying that Klinsi has some personal vendetta against Michael Bradley.

    • +1

      What has Klinsmann done? This is a joke, right?

      First win in Azteca?

      Finished first (and dominated) the Hex

      Got out of the group of death when everyone gave us no chance?

      Got so many dual nationals like Green, Brooks, Johansson to commit to our program?

      Revamped the entire youth system?

      Check your facts. Are you one of Commissioner Garber’s minions?

      • That’s not a quality argument. We got our first real result in Azteca recently before Klinsmann. This was bound to happen, especially as Mexico imploded, and would have happened sand Klinsmann. The revamp you’re talking about has been talked about for years and was heading in that direction. The WC was not a success when you consider many things.

        I’m concerned with facts and I just see you drawing false conclusions, which is basically opinion.

      • I also see that Klinsmann has harmed the fan support for US soccer. A lot of anger and viscious attacks in number. He has done a lot of harm in the US. His harm outweighs his good.

      • If you are concerned with facts, you should re-visit your statement. The first “real result” you are referring to at Azteca under Klinsmann was a draw in the Hex, shortly after the snow game. Mexico had not imploded just yet, as it was very early in the WCQ cycle. While the draw counted as a point and the win was in a friendly, there is a categorical difference between both.

        You are saying Klinsy hurt the US fan base – really? Were you in Brazil? Because I was for a month, and second to Brazilians, we purchased the most tickets. Maybe because of more disposable income available but Americans were everywhere in force, supporting the team. Same thing stateside, the entire country was behind the team. Don’t tell me Klinsmann has hurt the the US fan base. That, in your own words, is a false conclusion, which is basically an opinion.

      • yeah, all we talked about during the World Cup was how much people cared back home and this fool wants to say JK has hurt the fan base. unreal.

      • A lot of that support resulted from ESPN televising games at a convenient hour; Brazil is just one hour later than the Eastern Time Zone. The true test will be 2018, when Russia hosts the World Cup and Fox has the rights. Moscow is seven or eight hours later than Eastern Time. That makes a big difference.

      • Joseph D’Hippolito

        Stop talking out of you a$$ the WC is a big deal there are a lot of multi nationals that will watch regardless of time and most of the watch the US and their home nation not to mention we have our own die hard fans. people missed work because of some of these games you think they won’t miss sleep or wake up early

      • Joseph – oh yeah? can you prove that the only reason people watched was because it was a convenient time? no, you can’t. that’s just an assumption based on nothing.

        did you see Times Square before the WC? never had anything like that before. viewing parties? never had that before to that extent. i’ve never seen North Park in San Diego completely shut down for games. not once. it did it for every single game of 2014.

        it all started with South Africa and continued to Brazil. the game grew in those four years and the time zone had NOTHING to do with it.

        if the game were at 3am, we can all agree these viewing parties may not have happened. but would that really have anything to do with the US fan base? does that really say anything about the size of the fan base? no. the fan base would still be there. they would just be limited to how they could consume the game.

      • “We got our first real result in Azteca recently before Klinsmann.”

        did we? we had our first win and tie at Azteca under JK.

      • Bryan, the United States tied Mexico at Azteca in 1997 when Steve Sampson was the coach. That was a World Cup qualifier, as well. I watched the game on Univision and the fans were so disgusted with Mexico’s play that they cheered “Ole” whenever the United States passed the ball as time was expiring.

      • You may want to check your facts before you go making clames like that.

        The USMNT has played in the Azteca 11 times going back to 1934. The record for the first nine of those was 0-8-1. The one tie came in 1997 under sampson. Since Jurgen took over the team in the summer of 2011, the USMNT has played in the Azteca twice with a record of 1-0-1.


        While I agree that the win and a tie in Azteca isn’t a huge deal, since it was bound to happen eventually. However, I don’t concider the 1 tie 14 years before Jurgen to be a recent indication of an improving trend since they beat us 4 times after that.

        For someone so concerned with facts you don’t seem to know what they are.

        As for the WC not being a success, I find this comment to be amusing. Dispite being in a very tough group, the US got to the knock out stage when countries like Spain, England, Italy, and Portugual did not. I’m not sure what things you think I should concider that would make the World Cup a failure, but I assume it has something to do with style of play. To which I agree that the style of play was very ugly, but we advanced. It sounds like a success to me.

      • 1: Only because Howard stands on his head, not sure it’s that impressive anyway looking at Mexico’s form over the next year.

        2: We’ve finished first in the hex with the same number of points before

        3. We’ve got out of groups before actually beating Portugal, Ronaldo was hurt, Pepe is an idiot.

      • I saw this in the comment section of another SBI article and I think it’s relevant to the topic.

        First of all most of the things that Klinsmann complained about, Bradley complained about the same thing and got less flack, Secondly … & I can’t say this enough. I only know one just one mistake that Klinsmann has made that really hurt us and that was not bringing a Jozy replacement (Boyd)to the WC and who did he bring? Wondo an MLS guy. LD got the headlines but his absence wasn’t the issue. That just shows how much this is a personal attack on Klinsmann because the player MLS wanted to use for marketing didn’t end up at the tournament. Imagine how many commercials had to be scrapped or re done!! No one acknowledges that this coach brought out the best soccer we have all every seen in Beckerman that how good of a motivator he is. A player that every coach before him failed to fully utilize on the national team level. He made Brad Evans relevant in the national team picture. He took Wondo, Davis, Besler,Yedlin Zusi, Rimando and Gonzo to the WC showing that he believes in them and complains that the league can do better and the commissioner come out crying and making demands like he signs his pay checks!!???! I personally think Klinsmann has earned the right to say what he wants.

      • good points and Beckerman specifically said JK brought the best out of him in an interview during the ESPN series leading up to the WC. said he used to watch JK as a kid and to be playing for him was incredible.

      • Btw, I do think that Garber’s defense of LD wasn’t purely on the field. He mentions corporate sponsorship being hurt because of what Klinsmann said. Now this corporate sponsorship wasn’t directly mentioned in the context of LD but the MLS is a business. Garber is a businessman. It has definitely crossed his mind that LD not being there hurt the MLS financially.

    • It’s well known that I’m no Klinsmann fan but you can’t stop supporting the national team no matter who is in charge. The players are still out there playing for us and deserve our support.

      • To imply that support must be unconditional and there can never be lines drawn is not only wrong it’s dangerous.

      • unless you have a problem with the organization, top to bottom, executives to players to coach, then boycotting the team is silly.

  34. Not to mention the preface of this question miscategorizes the issue so I’m not surprised there are more Klinsmann votes.

    • Garber’s main point was that with his role if technical director for US Soccer, he should not be making comments that can damage MLS, it’s investors, players, coaches, fans, and sponsors. He’s 100% effing right. Come on, Ives. Terrible article.

      • in your opinion…but as shown by the poll, the reaction from the media, etc…it’s you that is in the minority. but that’s cool!

      • Nonsense

        The interests of US Soccer and the interest of MLS are not synonymous.

        MLS is built to prevent competition among owners. It’s built to control costs. It built to coddle men like Kraft and Kroenke.

        Through it’s scheduling and it’s salary cap it avoids the world football economy

        None of those things advance the interests of US Soccer.

        This isn’t 1994. There are real fans in this country. We can take the training wheels off

      • Yeah, shoot the whistle blower! Wait. . . maybe Klinsi can’t move the US soccer program further along as technical director without said changes? And maybe Garber and the MLS only care about damages to the MLS, because it is not good for their business model, rather than actually care about the progress of the USMNT (and soccer in general in the USA)!

      • Again, he is US Soccertain Technical Director not MLS. MLS development does not necessarily fall within his purview.

    • Agreed. There should also be a Both option instead of or in addition to Neither. The problem is the way they are framing their arguments – they are both technically correct. Garber argues MLS is putting money into development blah blah blah etc – future speak. Klinsmann is arguing current players need to go abroad to compete in the best leagues and at the highest level – current speak. Both are correct. MLS isn’t a top league – yet – and to compete at the highest level players do need to go abroad until it is on par with those leagues.

  35. Again, people giving Klinsmann some kind of a God status when he has done very little good. Another reason I’m done with US Soccer.

    • 1. Wow, You’re done with US Soccer just because you don’t like the coach. What will US Soccer ever do without an amazing fan like you.

      2. Who has given Klinsmann god status, and what evidence to you have to claim that he’s done very little good? He’s done some good some bad, but I think it’s been overall positive.

      (since you fail at making one comment, I will address your other posts below)

      3. How does the preface of the question miscategorize the issue? Klinsmann was talking about two specific players in his comments. Garber took them to mean something a lot bigger. Anyone who actually read Klinsmann’s comments would understand that.

      4. What exactly do you think a technical director of US Soccer is supposed to do, if he’s not supposed to evaluate, criticize and improve US Soccer? He wasn’t hired to be a cheerleader for MLS and to tow the party line.

  36. Does anyone think Bob Bradley, who I personally respect as a coach, would ever make such statements? As much as I wish MLS was awesome, I agree w Klinsi and his less American-centric sporting perspective.


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