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Klinsmann's real test is the matter of style
by Paul Gardner, July 30th, 2011 2:16AM

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TAGS:  germany, men's national team

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By Paul Gardner

A German head coach for the U.S. national team? After the virtually Teutonic rigidities of Bob Bradley, that does not sound like the new beginning that is required.

Of course, there are weighty reasons for not regarding Juergen Klinsmann as German, or not a typical German. The fact that he did things very differently from the traditional way when he took over the German national team in 2004, for a start.

The Germany that he put on the field for the 2006 World Cup was widely hailed as something new for Germany -- younger, brighter, more exciting, more attack-oriented -- all of which sounds almost too good to be true.

As it happens, I am one of those who found Klinsmann’s achievement exactly that ... overrated. Frankly, they were not up to what one might expect -- after all, the world’s No. 2 soccer nation staging a World Cup should surely be expected to do better than third place.

Taking a quick look at those results: A 4-2 romp over a lightweight Costa Rica (which lost all three of its games, letting in 9 goals in the process) started things off, followed by a labored 1-0 win over Poland; another romp, 3-0 over Ecuador, followed. The 2-0 win over Sweden was probably the best performance, but nothing to set the house on fire. Then came a lucky PK win over Argentina -- and that was it, as the Germans bowed out to the eventual winner Italy.

That World Cup episode was Klinsmann’s first attempt at coaching, and he got amazingly high marks for it. So high, that he was quickly hired by Bayern Munich, where he found things much tougher, and got himself fired before the season ended. That record, looked at objectively, is nothing special. And it was accomplished under ideal circumstances -- i.e. working in his native country, with German players, the ones he should understand best.

Unquestionably, in 2006 Klinsmann did field a lively attacking team that, if nothing else, looked good when contrasted with the turgid side that Germany had become. He now enters a similar situation -- the current USA team has bogged down into mediocrity, it needs jolting back into life. And just as Klinsmann took over Germany under favorable circumstances (playing as the host team in the World Cup), he takes charge here at a friendly moment, with the USA confronted with nothing more strenuous than seeking to qualify for the 2014 World Cup -- a feat that it should accomplish without undue effort.

The results, then, are virtually certain to be acceptable. But it is the other part of Klinsmann’s German success that is vital here -- producing a team that plays exciting soccer. And coming up with a team that fits together all the varied parts of the jigsaw puzzle that is the American talent pool.

Of course one should view that prospect with considerable optimism. Klinsmann speaks Spanish, which ought to be a major help to him in mobilizing this country’s Hispanic talent. He has also given evidence of understanding that results are not the primary aim -- he told the Germans when his early results there were not going well, that “Young players need defeats to make progress.” (Against that, is the rarely noticed fact that Klinsmann’s new Germany was a big team -- his starting 11 against Costa Rica had an average height of 6-foot.)

It may be that Klinsmann’s main talent is as a motivator, rather than as a tactically canny coach. And that might work out well, at least at the beginning of his U.S. stint, because no one who has seen the USA’s recent games can be in any doubt that it is not a very spirited group.

But the real test of Klinsmann’s value will be the matter of style. That is going to be the crucial yardstick by which Klinsmann’s work with the U.S. men must be judged. That is all that really matters. I have said on a number of occasions that I really don’t give a damn how a coach prepares his team -- as long as it plays vibrant soccer.

So I will just have to overlook the fact that Klinsmann has shown alarming tendencies to think and act like a Californian. He took a team of Californian fitness gurus with him to Germany (supposedly they worked wonders, but one couldn’t help noticing that in the two overtime games that Germany played, it was the opponents, Argentina and Italy, who looked fitter). He had the team gathering in circles and inspiring themselves with chants like “We are a TEAM!” His California new-age affectations went right off the chart when he coached Bayern Munich, and had four Buddha statues installed at the training center. They were, it seems, meant to help spread “positive energy,” but they were soon removed. A former Bayern player Mario Basler smirked that, in his day, he and his teammates “would have gone up and shot the things.”

I suppose I shall also have to ignore the fact that Klinsmann's introductory press conference will be held at New York’s Niketown, which, for my taste is putting the sponsor too obtrusively at the center of things, however much Nike may be involved in this Klinsmann deal.

I’m hoping that none of the California-style b.s. will occur, but I’ll look the other way if it does -- provided the new team is being intelligently put together, providing it plays attractive soccer. And, of course, provided it looks like an American team, and does not resemble the bulky Germans who were so over-praised in 2006.



44 comments
  1. David Hardt
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 3:46 a.m.
    Klinsmann's impact, if there is one, should be on youth development. This huge country is so all over the road and we need a direction. With so much potential talent out there there must be a unifying development plan to reap the rewards of a talent pool this large. We have more kids playing soccer than some countries we struggle to beat or play with have population. Really?? It is time to maximize our potential and stop simply trying to make a buck off the kids game.

  1. Paolo Jacobs
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 5:35 a.m.
    One thing Paul, I remember that Germany v Italia game in WC... it was a doozy... a tight chess match, which came down to the indivual brillance of one Andres Pirlo of Italy in extra time...Germany was real close to the final... So a great success it was....( just think of Holland, and they're great teams and all their failings in WC's

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 7:15 a.m.
    I hope something positive comes out of this but I believe the hiring of klinsmann is not going to make a huge difference. He was a talented player and he is a good coach. But my friends players win championships and not coaches. We should have kept Bradley or get another US coach on the cheap while saving the money on Klinsmann so we can start a Soccer Revolution in the US. You will see nothing is going to change. Now if klinsmann goes into the inner cities of the US to start creating soccer in the HOOD then maybe it is worth seeing if he is going to make an impact but I doubt it. We need to create a NEW SPARTA. Until then it doesn't matter who the national coach is or isn't. We need environments to create magical players. The environment that we have now produces average players. If we want to win a world cup we need magical players. US soccer needs to create 30,000 futsal courts throughout the US. From these courts the MLS will discover their future talent. Then from the MLS the national team coach will have his magical and well train warriors to win a world cup. Thank you coach Bradley and good luck to coach klinsman.

  1. Bill Anderson
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 8:12 a.m.
    We have players from the hood all over the US. The problem is that they are NOT the players on the National Team (at any level). The real revolution needed in US Soccer will occur in player scouting and identification. The old saying "gold is where you find it" is the key. Klinsmann has shown that he has an eye for talent. Can Klinsmann see the players? This is a huge nation, with a disjointed soccer community.

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 9:11 a.m.
    Paul you are right on. All I would like to see from Klinsmann is the selection of and the development of players that will play in a way that I would enjoy watching. Of course it would be wonderful to win a World Cup, being realistic; so few countries have acheived that ultimate end. While keeping our objectives high, we should at the very least be able to enjoy our team's "style" of play. I would like to hear the details of Klinsmann's contract, how much control will he have? Without total control of very aspect of the US Soccer development, I'm afraid his impact will be minimal.

  1. Eric Young
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 10:21 a.m.
    Dammit, I love Paul. I hope he lives forever. I have to say, I am excited about Klinsmann--if only because I was sick and tired of Bradley. He struck me as an AYSO coach--looking to boost his son's playing time. I do think Klinsmann could take us to the next level--if only becuase he does grasp the need for creativity. OR SO I HOPE.

  1. Albert Harris
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 10:21 a.m.
    Nice to see a healthy dose of caution as well as some optimism expressed over Klinsmann's hiring. It's a shame we have the Mexico match coming up so soon as I think his first team selection will tell us much, and there's very little time to see if he's truly going to go in a new direction. We'll know so much more after we see who his number 2 is going to be also. And finally, I hope he has the authority to control the national teams from the youth teams all the way to the full national team. Only then will we establish a "style". Finally, let us remember it's a marathon, not a sprint, although if Klinsi loses to Mexico, I'm sure there will be calls for his head. It is ever thus.

  1. Julio Moreira
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 11:43 a.m.
    Congratulations||||| to the USSF finally we have a great coach and a man of the world, well dressed for all occasions (remember Bradley's appearance), his knowledge of the game is unique, we can only go up with such a talented coach, finally the US talent will be exploited, no more second string teams against world powers. And as a former player, coach and director of professional teams I firmly believe that that the skill of great US players like Bradley's son, Noguchi the center full back and Gonzales from Galaxy should never be ignored, one more time Mr. Klinsman WELCOME and wishing the best always.

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 1:50 p.m.
    I am a little disappointed in Paul's take on JK's selection. For years Paul has screamed for a shakeup of US Soccer, a greater emphasis on selecting skilled players, and a more creative outlook. Now we have someone who has advocated that for the past 5 years and prior to that had actually implemented such changes in Germany. And Paul is still not happy!! If in a year we find that it was all talk then it will be time for grousing but now we should all recognize that this COULD be the time for momentous change in the US Soccer structure. No it won't suddenly make us final four eligible, and it will be change that is fought every step of the way by the entrenched interests. For that reason alone JK needs the support of everyone that has screamed for change in our development structure. And... Cony, I applaud what you have done and what you are trying to do, but you need to realize that the closest we will come in all of our lifetimes to implementing change is now! Don't let the vision of revolutionary utopia blind you to this opportunity. It will only come once. Cross your fingers that it works.

  1. Raul Zavaleta
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 2:29 p.m.
    I must admit I am excited about the news, but, like Paul, cautiously optimistic about what Klinsmann can accomplish. What I am most excited about is the recognition by his selection that a change in style is needed, that there is more that should be expected of the USMNT. The problems, however, may go deeper than the influence the USMNT head coach may solve. The type of player being promoted and mentored today (big and strong) in our youth system is suited to the English game. Is it because that is what coaches thought Bradley wanted? Is it because the English are so embedded in our youth system that they do eliminate other types of players? Or is it because our culture of win now precludes patient player development? Would JK influence the youth system to promote a more intelligent style? This is yet to be seen. Perhaps having Claudio Reyna's new curriculum AND JK makes a drastic difference. I hope so!

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 4:46 p.m.
    Super Man--Where do you think the best players in the world come from? BEVERLY HILLS, SEA CLIFF, Manhattan, Belvedere,or maybe Sir Francis Woods. The HOOD is where players are hungry and dreaming to get the hell out of their living hell. The HOOD is where the greatest players of all time have come from and hopefully where our future US Stars will eventually come from.

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 4:55 p.m.
    I am sorry Raul but we don't need more curriculm, more coaches, $400 soccer cleats, more youth tournaments, nice uniforms, DVDS, more daycare soccer clubs, or pretty soccer complexes. What we need is a playing environment that is 7 days a weeks, 365 days year, free, and starts at age 5. When we do that then we will eventually have magical players that can win a world cup and even my mother could coach them in combat boots. Meanwhile I hope that this isn't just more smoke n mirrors. US SOCCER needs to create a NEW SPARTA and not another Disneyland on ice.

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 5:06 p.m.
    Hi James we have been living in Utopia. But its real name is Suburbia. Utopia/Suburbia is a minefield of insanity and poisonous adults who don't have a clue what the beautifull game is. That is why I would like to propose to US Soccer, Claudio and Klinsmann not to waste their precious time and money on Utopia/Suburbia and go to the inner cities and really get down and dirty to create a NEW SPARTA!!!!!

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 5:06 p.m.
    OH BOY!!! To Paul Gardner, methingks, me lad, that ye ought to tone down your rhetoric 'cause folks will begin to see now as an old unhappy Brit expat - like the old neighborhood who doesn't like dogs, little kids or even the mailman! Anyhow, I agree with James Froelich's assessment and he's succinctly put it into perspective, especially addressing some issues raised by none other than Cony Konstin. Cony, you just can't have it both ways. To super Man, where do you live and where have you been playing your futbol. To RAUL ZAVALETA, are you the Zavaleta formerly of UCLA? I do agree with Cony, though, that we do not need more curriculum or Brit coaches, but I am intrigued as the mention of his "mother could coach ... in combat boots...(sic)" Funny indeed. BUT - see there is always a BUT, Cony I really do not think a "New Sparta..." needs to be created, but about just giving Klinsi a chance?!??

  1. gary at 3four3.com k
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 5:09 p.m.
    Cony, technique is only half the battle. Along with a quality touch, you also need tactical richness. The unorganized futsal 24/7 idea helps build the first but fails at the second. And it is that tactical richness / intelligence that we are most behind in. And I'm sorry, but at the highest levels, players alone do not win championships.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 5:18 p.m.
    Hola Cony, please identify your "Utopia/Suburbia..." 'cause it can range from the rarefied hills of Pacific Palisades (Calif) to the New Jersey shores. Or is the whole los Estados Unidos de Norteamerica your utopia/suburbia? Sparta? That all too glorius Greek story didn't survive hundreds of years ago because the Greek city states were always at odds with each other, always battling, fighting and eventuallyn destroying themselves. I see your concept in the same light, given the vastness of this wonderful USA, to continue fighting for the same bone only to eventualy fall apart. So how about joining me in a round of song (apologies to the Beattles) "All we are saying, is give Klinsi a chance..." As for Claudio Reyna, why haven''t we here way out west, heard much about his flaunted new curriculum, 'cause if it is to be implemented then it MUST be made available to one and all and not just the aysos and club teams, and the NSCAAs of our fubtol playing world. Verdad que si?

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 5:23 p.m.
    Ooops, I forgot to ask Paul G, as a Southern Californian for most of my life, just what is the "California style b.s. (sic?)" Is it any different than the midwestern or New York/New Jersey. DC style? Paul, b.s. is b.s. and it still stinks, but pray tell, leave us Californian's and our b.s. out of the picture.... jeeeez, just 'cause Klinsi decided to live in Southern California...... smartest move on his part!!!

  1. neil christal
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 5:35 p.m.
    Where are you from Cony? I like your SPARTA idea but warriors come from all walks of life!!! You like to use Special Warfare as an example of those that have warriors hearts but you fail to realize that those warriors come from little towns that have populations under 100 and from big city HOODS. The U.S. needs players who have God given talent and a warriors heart!! Go Sparta!

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 6:10 p.m.
    Hello Neil I am currently at the Tahuichi Soccer Academy located in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. I have been coming here for 20 years. It is my sanctuary where I find peace and soccer purity. It is a second home for many kids and for some their only home. But it is where heaven and earth meet. It makes Mecca, the Vatican and Jeresulem just look normal. The spirit that flows throughout the academy is pure and rich with incredible talent and love for the game. You and every soccer america reader should come here one day. You will be blown away.

  1. Gerald Laing
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 7:01 p.m.
    Look out Ric. Now Paul hates So Cal. I thought he only hated England, and Northern Europe. The one thing Paul forgot to bring up is that Klinsi and Loew looked for talent from non-traditional areas in the German society. If I remember right they infused the German National Team with players from immigrant upbrinings. That surely would be a good change in the US system.

  1. James Madison
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 8:28 p.m.
    Klinsman brings expectations. We will have to wait and see whether he has the authority and is willing, despite his retired status, to commit the energy necesary to revise the development program, as supposedly has been a condition of his willingness to accept the MNT coaching position in the past.

  1. Raul Zavaleta
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 9:53 p.m.
    Ric, this is the same Raul Zavaleta you know from UCLA. I think I did not make my point very well. I am supporting more curriculum and more coaches, but simply stating that the sickness of US soccer is in youth development and who gets opportunities to rise to the higher levels. If that did not matter, MLS would be finding these players. The English influence and the "win now and screw development" is so embedded in our youth system that the players that may influence the USMNT style may not get the chance to get there and move instead to Mexico and Argentina at early ages. My hope is that JK can change that mentality at all levels.

  1. Raul Zavaleta
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 9:57 p.m.
    I meant I am NOT supporting more curriculum and more coaches...

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 10:55 p.m.
    Klinsmann needs to find a couple of players with 'soccer-brains' who can perform and contribute in raising the level of other teammmates...we have two such players in LD and Dempsey, but these two guys need to step it up on a consistent basis, not perform Houdini acts.

  1. P Van
    commented on: July 30, 2011 at 11:35 p.m.
    Klinsmann may very well have adopted some things "California" (good for him--sports does not have to be mindlessly competitive/cut-throat (see success of Phil Jackson); on my scale Klinsmann's German club and national team experience trump your Brit-NJ experience/insights/pessimism. At times, Paul, you seem to light the cigar just to blow it in everyone's faces. Let us anti-Bradley-ites enjoy our moment! Klinsmann has spoken thoughtfully and enthusiastically about player development, about finding an attractive and effective national style--things I think your columns (this one included--shocking!) harp on. Give him a chance before you start picking him apart. Oh, yeah, there's nothing wrong with fielding 6 ft. players who can run and dribble and pass and head in goals with abandon; perhaps Klinsmann can find a few smaller blokes to pass the ball around on the ground in the midfield to make you happy too. I'm sure he's aware there's more than one way to play the game. He's talked of nothing but this idea for quite some time since being in America!

  1. Carlos Thys
    commented on: July 31, 2011 at 1:12 a.m.
    Just to be a stickler on details: There were five players in the starting lineup for Germany against Costa Rica in the first match in June 2006, Munich under 6 feet tall: The captain, Bernd Schneider (as Ballack was ineligible), Torsten Frings, Lukas Podolski, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and, of course, the first goal-scorer and shortest of them all, Philipp Lahm. Two of the three subs were players *significantly* under 6'0'' height: Oliver Neuville and David Odonkor. On the whole, it would be very hard not to have 6'O" or slightly over German athletes in a team; their male national averages for height are like Scandinavians. Note: I've stood next to Lukas Podolski and Bastian Schweinsteiger; they are not as tall as "official" documents make them out to be. However, I'll agree with what I believe to be Paul Gardner's sentiment: Given his proclivities, Juergen Klinsmann would prefer to choose taller (strong head-ball game players -- that is the German game) players. However, Juergen knows this is not Europe; CONCACAF qualifying for World Cups does not require this. Paul Gardner is dead on with the terribly silly Buddhas at the Saebinerstrasse FC Bayern training ground issue. As bizare as that snippet seems, it is true. That was WEIRD. No NEW AGE garbage, please, Juergen.

  1. david caetano
    commented on: July 31, 2011 at 7:07 a.m.
    The US selection for the USA national team coach should be someone who is very much in tuned with international soccer and an educator with passion for teaching and winning. The only person that fits this category that I am aware of is.., well me, but Carlos Queiroz is the perfect choice. He took Portugal u 20 and became twice world cup champions. Has assisted at Man. United, various national teams including taking Portugal to the South Africa world cup. Then there is the other no brainer, he would bring American Dan Gaspar who has a massive international goalkeeping experience and in my opinion, probably the best Goalkeeper coach in the world. Dan coached the Portugal goalkeeper in the South Africa world cup, who had an absolutely astounding showing and played above his club performances. Claudio Reyna should be brought into the staff. The coach needs to understand the mind set of the US players and how that will help in building the team. Jurgen Klinsmann has had a great playing career, some coaching. He may not have the needed experience to lead US. Will give Klingsman one year at the helm. Then Carlos Queiroz should take over then. Jurgen is use to dealing with world class top level players and their emotional needs and attitudes are different then most other players. The US needs an educator with Carlos experience who can take the team in a few years to constantly compete at the highest level. Carlos took years to develop his world champion teams and this is what the US needs. Jurgen will run out of ideas after a year. As I have mentioned before Landon Donavon is to me one of the top level players of the world. He would even be better if competing in a top league. Landon should be praised and promoted to the proven fact that he is one of the top in the world.

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: July 31, 2011 at 9:18 a.m.
    We do need a team to help take our soccer to another level. We need a USONIAN national coach and not an international coach. Bianchi as a mentor coach to work with our MLS teams. Perkerman to work with our teams from U15 thru U20 national team coaches. And Ciro Medrano to work with our 5 thru 14 year old coaches. Javier Lozano should be brought in to help us develop futsal coaches and help establish a pro league. We need to start developing soccer and futsal in the inner cities. And finally we need to close down IMG National Camp and create a NEW SPARTA for our national youth players. This is not rocket science. This is about creating a new vision and using our resources logically and stratically.

  1. Thomas Hosier
    commented on: July 31, 2011 at 10:27 a.m.
    @ cony konstin ... agreed street or community based soccer not just in the "hood" should be a priority. Too many youth players are being left behind due to lack of promotion of youth soccer at the grassroots leve in "the hood", in suburbia and rural/remote communities in the USA ... currently soccer is too much about money and the adults running youth recreational and competitive soccer programs. see you at the pitch!

  1. Jake Brodesky
    commented on: July 31, 2011 at 12:30 p.m.
    I love how Paul lives in this fantasy world where style is king. But, please a small dose of realism would do the article some good. The modern game in the US is about making money and keeping one's job first and style second. And also, this becomes a very philosophical question. Is Paul saying he'd rather watch a 5-4 loss, oozing with "style" or a dreary, staid 1-0 win? I know which the USSF prefers.

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: July 31, 2011 at 3:05 p.m.
    Jake Paul doesn't care who is playing. What he cares about is how do they play. Do they play bubba and billy ball which sucks or do they play like Brasil 1970 which pure art. Reality is that the US can one day will play the way the game was meant to be played and this on the ground to the feet and not over the top and into bleachers.

  1. Gak Foodsource
    commented on: July 31, 2011 at 10:24 p.m.
    If Klinsmann arrives tomorrow and says Claudio Reyna, Wilmer Cabrera, and the others can stay, Cony is right, this was a Massive waste of money. If on the other hand he arrives with coaching changes and structural changes to the US development model, we will know exactly why Gulati tried so hard to give this job to someone else. Klinsmann isnt going to be polite, like Bradley and Arena were, when discussing the deficiencies of the USMNT - he is going to shine the light on pay to play, IMG pampering, and USSF indoctrination. Klinsmann's neck is on the line and he wont be brought down because MLS cant sufficiently develop players. At that exact moment that Klinsmann unloads in a press conference, Gulati can pack that phD briefcase and walk out the door. Gulati will look foolish for not having recognized and corrected the failures sooner. Klinsmann has the crediblity, having spent the past 5 years at every level of US soccer, and most importantly, the clout. I only hope he has the voice to yell far enough over the grumblings from Garber, Gulati, and Flynn. Cony is correct, we need futsal, and we need Pekerman, Bianchi, and Lozano to teach our coaches how to teach. The reason we dont have the structural changes needed to achieve those realities, though, is not because we dont KNOW we need them - it's because Gulati and the rest of the USSF oldboys wouldnt concede an inch of control over the destiny of US soccer - as if they alone had the unincumbered right to direct it. Hold no prisoners, Klinsmann. Knock the entire building down.

  1. Gak Foodsource
    commented on: July 31, 2011 at 10:41 p.m.
    And Paul - please use that pen to push Klinsmann in the right direction, not to tear him down before he starts. You, like all tried and true USMNT fans, know too well that hopeless, sinking feeling that accompanies supporting our country in the game we love. But is this not the greatest indication of hope we have seen in the past 10 years? (the 90,000 plus attendence at summer exhibitions for the past 5 years being a close second?) The challenge we, and now Klinsmann face is in many ways insurmountable. Whether his German team was as good as advertised, or whether Lowe was really the true brain, is irrelevant. What matters is that Klinsmann uses this perch to force through the changes to the game that you have spent your career writing about. Criticize him all you like if he shows up with only a plan to improve our penalty kicks. But he is a hell of a lot closer to your view than anyone else in the room right now.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: July 31, 2011 at 10:47 p.m.
    PG is doing what a good columnist does; pointing out potential flaws in conventional wisdom, just to keep everyone on their toes. Of course he's a curmudgeon, I think it's a job requirement for older columnists. But he makes some good points. Klinsman has the potential to be a great coach (his experience as a player and coach at the highest levels, his ability to speak Spanish, and his familiarity with (and lack of contempt for) US soccer. But one man (no matter how good), cannot take the US to the next level. That will require cultural change, which I think is Cony's point (and one I agree with, though Cony, there need to be futsal courts in the burbs as well as the hood; we can't afford to write off anyone). Klinsman can only work with the players he has (he can't "develop" a new player pool in a few years). But if Kinsman is able to develop a fluid US style, that incorporates the best of the European game with the best of the Latin game, that will inspire players (and coaches) at the younger levels (as well as attract fans), and that would be a tremendous contribution. So Klinsman can have a huge impact on US soccer, but it will probably benefit coaches down the road more than it benefits him.

  1. Raul Zavaleta
    commented on: July 31, 2011 at 11:21 p.m.
    Kent - well said. You expressed in a much better way the point I was trying to make.

  1. Daniel Clifton
    commented on: August 1, 2011 at 8:49 a.m.
    Klinsman has said the soccer pyramid is upside down in the US. So I have believe that he is going to be working on changing our system so that more inner city and hispanic kids will be found at a young age. I understand Paul's concerns, but I agree with the first commenter, who basically said Klinsman's legacy is going to be how he shake's up youth soccer development in this country. Right now the only kids who have access to competitive soccer come from families who have enough money to fork out a few thousand dollars each year. That has to change. I expect the USMNT to become more exciting and better, but what I am really looking for in Jurgen is a change in finding and developing talent in this country. That is where he can really leave a legacy.

  1. Paul Lorinczi
    commented on: August 1, 2011 at 12:52 p.m.
    Everyone seems to think that JK legacy in Germany is only the National Team. He was the architect of a systemic change in youth development there. This is why you hire him. Other countries are benchmarking the work done in Germany. The same work can be accomplished here because we have all the pieces in place- notably schools! Raul, in the spring, I encourage you to come to Carroll stadium and see how it is working here in Indianapolis. The pyramid is being flipped right here in Indy.

  1. John Soares
    commented on: August 1, 2011 at 2:15 p.m.
    OH HAPPY DAYS!!! No more coach bashing. No more, " plays his son bias". No more silly "anti-latino conspiracy". No more too conservative, too defensive..... From now on it's only success and wins. Can't wait for the final at the World Cup.

  1. Gak Foodsource
    commented on: August 1, 2011 at 3:39 p.m.
    Superman, my lofty expectations were formed by regional and national ODP coaches who told me and hundreds of others across the country that we were the building blocks of a prgram that would win the WC in 2010. With our resources ( funding, weather, population, and qualifying road to the WC) I see no reason to accept the standard we have failed to rise above for the past 15 years. We are doing millions of American kids a disservice. Watching the way Mexico unraveled our team in the Gold Cup? Watching speedy, hulking forward after forward chasing the ball off his shin? Watching our USSF leadership pass on a coach who could drastically improve our team in favor of one who would abide by MLS game ties? Reading Paul advocating the most basic improvements for the past 15 years on deaf ears? We owe it to the young, poor kids in this country to create an outlet for them that can be a magical alternative to poverty and drugs. We should expect the world of our USSF because the next generation deserves the world.

  1. Tadaia Torquemata
    commented on: August 1, 2011 at 3:43 p.m.
    Good article! Loved the player but I agree that Klinsmann is well overrated and I think when the smoke clears we may all be seeing his credentials for working in this country (or lack of) a bit more objectively. We've taken much for granted, in particular the last two American coaches, over the past 10 years. But then you don't miss your water... Developing our soccer, managing the US national team and this nation's desire to obtain impressive results is a huge underataking. The USSF has put too much on Klinsmann's rather limited plate.

  1. Gak Foodsource
    commented on: August 2, 2011 at 3:54 p.m.
    Superman, to be clear, I didnt ask for the US to win the WC by 2010 - the USSF did through Project 2010. Of course I didn't believe we would, but that isn't the point either. My concern is that too much reflection on how far we have come provides a blanket over any and all accontability, of which there needs to be some in order for the game to continue to grow. Without accountability, we have USSF presidents who run unopposed in elections and entire youth academies (IMG) that drain our coffers dry without producing a single player in 10 years. Finally, my point about Mexico was that they have made incredible progress in the past two years, as evidenced NOT by the result against the US, but the way they played in the tournament. I'm not asking for a World Cup Trophy. I asked for a player that could step on the field and remind me that it isn't still 1999.

  1. david caetano
    commented on: August 5, 2011 at 9:12 p.m.
    I firmly believe we need an educator and person with pro experience in other countries. A former pro player and coach(JK) is more apt to go with the flow of what the administrators would like. Carlos Queiroz is a former player who had to stop playing due to an injury and dedicated himself to getting a physical education degree and then coaching, and has proven to teach and create great teams given time, as proven by his two world u20 championships(note I have never met Carlos). The US needs an educator as the players are use to being taught and will respond better. One of my youth coaching experiences was in New Fairfield, Connecticut with the travel program where I implemented my philosophy of developing players. I left the program when a new director came in and wanted me to coach his way, or getting 8 yr olds to concentrate on passing the ball, being creative, well, not part of vocabulary. My philosophy is conditioned by my PE degree and soccer experience. After the Univ. of Rhode Island, I was selected from playing in the senior bowl for the NY Cosmos, 1st round 6th pick by the then coach (former Germany national team coach Hennes Weisweller). If he did not watch that game I may of not been picked in such an early round in the NASL. After going to the Cosmos, Hennes had left and the new interim coach did not keep me. Then I had a tryout at Benfica in Portugal. After one week I was asked to sign for 2 years. Benfica had one of the top European coaches Sven Eriksson. After the 1st year I was asked to sign 1 more year. How can a federation not do all it can to get a goalkeeper coach, with the experience of Dan Gaspar to join the staff? Maybe there is reason that I am voicing my opinion with such expression on the National team. Possibly because when I was playing with Connecticut state team while in high school, coached in my opinion one of the best ever coaches in US soccer, Bob Dikranian, I and a few others were invited to try out for the youth national team. I new I did quite well at tryouts but was not selected. Others who could not play at the highest competitive level were selected. This may be why I am very opinionated on a quality US national team coaching staff. Of course I am not upset because it may of been better not to play on the USA youth national team and instead be part of one of Europe’s top teams and compete in an environment with very high level players and personalities. I have worked with software analysis with the Sporting Lisbon pro team for a few years. Also, had the opportunity to be at their academy and see first hand where Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo, both world players of the year, were developed. I believe getting a national team coach, such as Carlos Queiroz and Dan Gaspar is the best direction for the USSF national team and the development of top level players in the USA.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: August 6, 2011 at 3:36 p.m.
    I am puzzled at reading the comments above, for example Cony Konstin says "we don't need an international coach, but a "USONIAN" coach [whatever this is]... sic)" and yet goes on to mention Bianchi, Pekerman, and Lozano! Aren't they "international coaches?" And immediately above, David Caetano (this is a Portugese name, isn't?) brandishes Carlos Queiroz, and Gaspar's name. But whilst we all want our favorites, whether "international," or "USONIANS", I sinceely believe that for the time being, we have Coach Klinsmann through WC2012. So my message to one and all, since we've all have our biases, favorites, and a bunch of "druthers" I say, let's ALL get behind a new era in soccer, and help Klinsi upright the pryamid, because even though he is German (I read somewhere that he's a naturalized US citizen now, is this correct?) he has lived in the states longer than any of the ones named (save for Gaspar) and even living in Southern California, Paul Gardner's newly minted "capital of Southern California b.s.!) for 13 years, he DOES have a very good grasp of not just what is and ails US Soccer at all levels and does have a plan. Let us now wait and see if the US soccer-bobble-headed leaders support him, and let's prove to Ragin' Ridge Mahoney, that we the SOCCER COGNOSCENTI do know of what we talk about and are rejoicing with his signing as the HC of the US national team(s)! Lastly, to RAUL ZAVALETA, muchos saludos calurosos y un fuertisimo abrazo! Donde vives?

  1. david caetano
    commented on: August 9, 2011 at 7:19 a.m.
    Ric makes some very good points. I think we are all in support of JK and should be. Although, the opinions of all are important to help educate and form ones own opinion with a different understanding. US national team had two greats who developed the national team to bring it respectability in the international seen. Arena and Bradley did a great job. Maybe if coaches were brought in from the international pool we would not of advanced as we have. At this point with many of the national team players playing internationally a coach with international experience must be important and if he was also a proven educator, that would be the most logical in my perspective.


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