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USMNT Notes: Klinsmann discusses future changes to January camp; Yedlin injury to be evaluated; and more

JurgenKlinsmannUSMNT2-RepublicofIreland (Getty)


With Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Panama, the U.S. Men’s National Team put an emphatic exclamation point on the team’s January camp, but, according to head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the annual national team convocation may be under going drastic changes in 2016.

Klinsmann told reporters that the 2016 January camp could be potentially used as a meeting point for the Olympic team, assuming the U.S. qualifies this fall.

“The January camp itself is a discussion that we will have if we keep it like this one,” Klinsmann said. “Next year, obviously, we want to be qualified for the Olympics. This is huge. Do we make next year an Olympic team camp out of it? That may be the way we approach it and schedule the senior team guys differently to start their preseason. We’ll discuss that.

“It depends kind of what’s happening in the year 2016, so once we sit back and talk through all of the pros and cons, we’ll figure it out, but it could very well be an Olympic team camp next January.”

Here are some more news and notes from Sunday’s USMNT victory over Panama:


DeAndre Yedlin limped out of the USMNT’s matchup with Panama in the 72nd minute, but Klinsmann isn’t very concerned with any lingering issues for his fullback.

Yedlin was taken out as a precaution and will be evaluated Monday, but the USMNT head coach says that the Tottenham fullback ‘should be fine’.

“With DeAndre, I don’t have the details now,” Klinsmann said. “It’s not as bad, but we just moved forward and took him out. He should be fine.


Although 2015 and 2016 are not World Cup years, the USMNT still have a pair of major tournaments to eye as motivation for the coming years.

This summer’s Gold Cup has been set as a major target for Klinsmann and co., as the USMNT look to qualify for the 2017 Confederations Cup. Klinsmann also once reiterated his intentions of bringing a strong roster to this summer’s tournament.

“With the Gold Cup in July, we have a tournament that will hopefully be an exciting one like 2013 and hopefully we’re going to win it,” Klinsmann said. “We badly, badly want to go to Russia in 2017. Being part of the Confederations Cup is huge because it gives you the absolute best preparation you can have for the World Cup a year later.

“We take the Gold Cup with the best players we have. We go absolutely with the best group, so it’s hopefully going to be a lot of fun for everybody. ”

One player that is almost guaranteed a spot on the Gold Cup team is Michael Bradley, who also stated the tournament’s importance. Bradley says the Gold Cup, along with the 2016 Copa America, make these next few seasons exciting times for the U.S.

“They’re both very important,” Bradley said of the two tournaments. “The mentality of our team is to take it always one game at a time and take a look at what’s coming up and look to improve with every time we step on the field.

“We know it’s a very important period coming up with the national team with a lot of important friendly games, the Gold Cup, Copa America next summer. We’re very excited and committed to continuing to work hard.”


As the U.S. Men’s National Team’s lone NASL representative, on paper, Miguel Ibarra appears to be a bit of an outlier, but Klinsmann insists that Ibarra has impressed both on and off-the-field.

Despite the general consensus on Ibarra’s first national team start being slightly disappointing, Klinsmann still had nothing but praise for the Minnesota United winger.

“He’s growing in this group,” Klinsmann said. “Every time he comes in now, he’s a regular even more, and he proved that in every training session. He has an endless engine. He’s very smart tactically. He helps out defensively and he always has an eye on the forwards and he himself, as he shows with his club, he can finish things as well if he’s in position.

“I think he’s done a very, very good job again. He’s totally a respected part of this group now, so it’s nice to see the process over half a year.”

Ibarra says that the key to his development has been Klinsmann’s confidence in him, as the Minnesota United winger and fellow winger Gyasi Zardes benefited heavily from Klinsmann’s instruction.

“I was actually kind of confident,” Ibarra said. “I was pretty surprised myself, because I usually get jitters, but I went out there confident and  just played my game.

“I think I took it well. I went out there confident, just like what Jurgen had told me. Me and Gyasi had spoke beforehand, and everything just came out the exact way that we had planned it.”


Brek Shea’s adjustment to left back is still very much a work in progress. Shea has had both highs and lows throughout his two-game spell, but Klinsmann says that Shea’s willingness to adapt will be a key part of Shea’s future success.

“I think he really embraced it and was very positive about it,” Klinsmann said. “He wants to play so badly, no matter where, that if you tell him to play center forward, he’ll play center forward. He’s just so happy to be back in the picture.

“He’s so happy to look at a year now where he’s going to go onto the field week-in, week-out because he didn’t do that the last two years. He was so prepared for the camp. He was sharp from day one on. If we play him as a winger or if we play him as a left back, he doesn’t care.”

Klinsmann says Shea’s biggest leaps will need to be on his ability to focus when on tired legs. As games and the season wears on, Klinsmann says Shea will need to continue to show the ability to contribute for a full 90.

“He has pace, he has physicality, he can intimidate people and he just needs to stay focused,” Klinsmann said. “That’s what we told him. When you get tired, which all of them will get tired in the second half because this is preseason, then you just need to manage your game and keep things simple. Take one or two touches, move it around and don’t give away things, and that’s what he did. He kept his focus, stayed in the game and made it all the way through the 90 minutes.”


  1. Both Shea and Yedlin need to play more games with their clubs at their respective fullback positions. Brief training camps likely won’t allow them to get comfortable there. In particular, Yedlin’s still-developing sense of positioning was exposed a couple of times yesterday. All the speed in the world won’t help you if you don’t realize what’s going on behind you.

  2. For what it’s worth, here is some analysis of how the “Post WC January Camp Friendlies” (i.e. those played in January and February in the winter immediately following a World Cup) have contributed to our ensuing World Cup lineups 3 years later following a WC for the past four cycles (there is no relevant analogy in the prior cycles)

    1999: 3 g played / 20 starters used / 10 made WC 2002 (50%) / 7 played 45+ mins at WC (35%)
    2003: 2 g played / 13 starters used / 7 made WC 2006 (54%) / 6 played 45+ mins at WC (46%)
    2007: 2 g played / 15 starters used / 6 made WC 2010 (40%) / 6 played 45+ mins at WC (40%)
    2011: 1 g played / 11 starters used / 5 made WC 2014 (45%) / 3 played 45+ mins at WC (27%)

    So if history is any indication (it may well be irrelevant, but it’s what we have– and the consistency amongst the numbers is notable, at least on the surface), one might suggest that 4-6 players amongst the Jan camp starters (2 games, 13 starters used) will make the Russia 2018 World Cup roster, with 4-5 of those players playing meaningful minutes.


    • good stuff.

      ya i defiantly see the need for a U23 January camp, in addition to a senior camp; these games are pretty important in the grand scheme especially with so many players in MLS now. they certainly have the room for a couple of teams down in Carson.

      another nice thing was the addition of Bocanegra in camp. hope to see more of him in the US set up.

  3. Another game and more responses form Klinsmann about individual players. The evidence is mounting that Klinsi doesn’t really think about team building much. He seems to believe that building individual players makes a great team. He doesn’t evaluate players based upon contributions to the team. Perhaps he should become the coach of the US track team, or maybe cross training.

    Just once I’d like to hear him focus of the team that in ways that go beyond formations and style and gets into ways the players can work together to become greater than the sum of parts. No mystery to me why he shelved Donovan. Zardes has become a good player because Bruce Arena, Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and the entire Galaxy team focus on the collective rather than individuals.

    When Bruce Arena is asked about individual players, he always talks about the influence on the team. Klinsmann talks about the influence of the game on individual players, as if the players are more important than the team.

    • Klinsman on Ibarra:

      “He’s growing in this group,” Klinsmann said… He has an endless engine. He’s very smart tactically. He helps out defensively and he always has an eye on the forwards and he himself”…“I think he’s done a very, very good job again. He’s totally a respected part of this group now, so it’s nice to see the process over half a year.”

  4. On changing the January Camp up. Maybe JK should work on having a completely optional early first week, and an early Dec ‘pre camp’ to help out with players fitness? Probably be more effective than complaining about the MLS schedule.

    Make it clear that no one has to attend, but everyone better show up ‘fit’ (define what that means). Could be a valuable resource for the younger guys who aren’t making much (extra money plus access to better meals/training/equipment than they might otherwise).

    • I think he’s just starting stuff because geez the whole point to January camp before was accelerating the fitness rebuild of people coming off the MLS offseason. You want people to take breaks lest they become Landon, burnt out and losing a step.

  5. WOW, the evaluation of Shea is so sad, so off the mark, so clueless. I guess the tactics for the whole team are 1 or 2 touches move it around and dont give away things. Philip Lamm is laughing at that one.

      • Yes, considering that LB isn’t his position, he had a decent game. But I think the more important thing to say in that regard is that he shouldn’tve started there, or started at all for that matter. I can’t argue with the result, but I don’t think Brek was ready to be back with the MNT. That said, friendlies in general, and the January camp in particular is the forum meant for reevaluating fringe players. I was never sold on Brek in general as a particularly valuable asset, but I hope he’s humbled and matured in the last few years, and I hope he works hard enough at Orlando to force me to change my opinion of him. Further than that, I hope he proves himself at LB because we need one on the MNT.

      • Yeah maybe a Robbie Rogers, or Fabian Johnson. Klinsmann likes him at LM, and when he defends he’s usually on the right, but he can play with both feet, and he knows how to defend. We don’t have any terribly good options there, and we certainly don’t have depth, so maybe Brek could ultimately fill that role, but only time will tell I suppose

      • I’m not sure everyone realizes but this was NOT an international date. Clubs didn’t have to release players. Fabian johnson and Greg garza could not have been on this roster. I do agree rodgers should’ve been called in though

      • JK said he considered Rogers but left him off in preference to getting more Olympic guys into camp.

        RR will get his looks but right now left back was not the priority with the emergence of Garza

      • yup, saw two JK favorites; Yedlin and Shea, that really shouldn’t be playing LB/RB but can for periods of a game if needed.

        Shea worked himself back into the depth chart with his contributions to the attack and willingness to work, not necessarily succeed, in defense. Yedlin just looked bad in defense and average at best in attack.

    • Eddie Lewis, QED. You can put an attacker on the backline to try and get their distribution qualities but you can’t make them a snarling, effective defender.

      Even if you wanted to try and convert him the club team would have to cooperate and move their own attacking asset backwards to get him the regular experience he’d need to “learn the trade.”

      I played defense and I rebel against the idea these conversions are easy. Defense requires a different mentality and sense of positioning. The best conversions are people whose offensive approach is something like Wondo’s, ie, they chase and hassle defenses already as part of their game.

      I didn’t think either Shea or Yedlin was worth a hoot because they were constantly out of position and not hard in the tackle. Shea has a little more snarl than Yedlin but neither screams “Jermaine Jones” in terms of nastiness. And what the US needs in back is “nasty,” people who will tackle all day and shut people down.


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