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Michael Bradley: 'It's shameful and it's embarrassing'
by Paul Kennedy, March 20th, 2013 7:09PM

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TAGS:  men's national team, world cup 2014

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[USA-COSTA RICA] Nighttime temperatures are approaching freezing in the Denver area -- there's a threat of light snow in the forecast for Friday night's USA-Costa Rica qualifier -- but there's been plenty to keep U.S. national team players hot about. Senior members of the national team pushed back at a report in which players anonymously questioned Coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s tactics and the national team’s chemistry. Michael Bradley called the report "shameful" and "embarrassing," while Clint Dempsey, newly installed as team captain for Friday's match against Costa Rica and Tuesday's game at Mexico, had little time for what described as "the little petty things."

“I think it’s shameful, and I think it’s embarrassing,” said Bradley of the Sporting News article. “I think for every guy who has ever played on a team, you give everything you have … and on every team in the world, not every guy is going to be happy. There’s going to be guys who go back to their room and talk with their roommate about things they wish were different. But that’s normal."

In the manner of his father, former national team coach Bob Bradley, who emphasized the need to keep team matters within the team, Bradley's disappointment was that players took their issues "outside of the inner circle.”

“It doesn’t help anybody or anything we’re trying to do this week,” Bradley said. “When you play on a team, you have a chance every day to give everything you have, and part of that means having the balls to say things to guys to their face, and having the balls to say things in front of the team. I think in those ways, that this is really disappointing that in a week as important as this ... that you’d have something like that happen.”

Bradley said he and his teammates can wipe out the stain placed on the team when they face Costa Rica Friday night.

"It is our job to represent ourselves and represent our country in a way that makes everybody proud," he said. "I think that we have let ourselves down a little bit in that way but the best part about sports is that when you step on the field you can put everything right."

Dempsey said that the players had discussed the report but he had not read it and played down its significance.

“It doesn’t matter about the little petty things here or there," he said.

Dempsey is the fifth captain during Klinsmann's 19-month tenure as national team coach. Of the players in camp, only DaMarcus Beasley has more caps (97) than Dempsey (92). He only captained the USA once before: during the second half of a 0-0 draw against Colombia in 2010.

A new captain was required as Tim Howard, who wore the armband for the opening Hexagonal match against Honduras, is injured, and Carlos Bocanegra, who has been the American captain since 2007, was dropped from the team because he has not been playing for his Spanish club, Racing Santander.

Both Howard and Bocanegra are in Europe, where they issued statements in support of the national team.

U.S. Captains, Klinsmann era
GP PLAYER
17 Carlos Bocanegra
3 Tim Howard
2 Jermaine Jones
1 Kyle Beckerman



16 comments
  1. Robert Kiernan
    commented on: March 21, 2013 at 5:28 a.m.
    Well said... even when you have a problem you need to think about building up the side not making excuses, and the US has actually been tighter at the back under Klinsmann even with a defense that is clearly aging and lacking obvious replacements. If we win our home matches and take a few points on the road, we qualify for the big dance, there are NINE more matches to do this, and losing ONE match away 2-1 is indeed a loss but is just ONE loss... this is a tough time with a dearth of experienced players especially in the back and several of our better players out hurt, but whether we qualify as the top team in CONCACAF or even have to qualify in a playoff, likely with New Zealand, the fact is that we can't be a first seed come the next World Cup, our record will keep us as a "Minnow" regardless of what our FIFA ranking is... but we still are favorites to take one of those three and a half slots and no change in coach is going to change that ... now what we can expect to do come the Cup itself is very much up in the air and again that is regardless of just who is running the show. ... (ICE)

  1. Daniel Clifton
    commented on: March 21, 2013 at 7:42 a.m.
    Well said by Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey.

  1. feliks fuksman
    commented on: March 21, 2013 at 8:52 a.m.
    Well said by all, including, Daniel above. The responsibility is on the players to show what they can do. Forget about who did what in the past; starting with tomorrow's game and the other qualifiers is what counts. If the coach gives you chance to wear the national team jersey, means he believes in you; go out there and believe in yourself and show the world what you know and be proud of it. Moreover playing good defense starts with the player closest to the ball when there is a turn over; be it in the midfield or up front; look how the most successful teams in the world play when they loose the ball. More concentration on dead ball situations, make sure everyone is covered and challenge your man for the ball, do your best not to fall asleep; don't just come back, look around you and see where you are most needed. Once the ball is recovered help the players with the ball, give better support, put you self in positions where you can be used (give options to the man with the ball); in another words don't hide, don't be afraid to play! Everybody watching can see what you doing; don't be afraid to make a mistake; certain opportunities come in life but once, it's up to you to take advantage of it. I know it's easier said than done, nevertheless, someone believes that you deserve a shot, do your best!! If it wasn't your night or whatever at least you gave everything you had to give; GOOD LUCK; we'll be cheering for YOU !!!

  1. Kerry Solomon
    commented on: March 21, 2013 at 9:38 a.m.
    I agree with all of the players and fans above. The situation is what it is. It's now time for the players to shut up, put up a strong effort and make the appropriate sacrifices it takes to represent your country at the highest level. They have the ability and skills but its up to them to perform well as a TEAM. I believe they will succeed but time will tell. Good luck, gentlemen!

  1. Alexander Lozano
    commented on: March 21, 2013 at 10:29 a.m.
    LOVE Bradley's comments & IMO signifies his leadership capabilities...it also needed to be said, considering the timing! Kudos to Michael...and congrats to Dempsey for being named captain! Couldn't have been a better choice...and, thankfully, wasn't Jermaine Jones!!

  1. Chris Staudle
    commented on: March 21, 2013 at 10:51 a.m.
    Everyone should go find their life jackets and put them on, because this ship is going down. The mood of this team at such a crucial time reflects that Klinsmann doesn't have control. Their play on the field has been poor,and we have seen nothing, and I mean nothing, to make you think things are going to change.Go fill out a NCAA basketball bracket and have a little fun.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: March 21, 2013 at 1:16 p.m.
    Well, I must admit that I've not been a fan of Bradley, but I do take my hat off to him for his - and Dempsey's - insightful comments. However, it boggles the mind that a report of this nature is published at a critical time in the qualification stage, and I'm loath to think that the guys who weren't selected are nothing short of being jaded and just plain childish? Bradley said it best, one must have the cojones to be a man and fess up. Bocanegra should know better, but his actions sure as heck speak better than his pronouncements...Will he and Howard fly over to see their team mates play and give them support? GO TEAM USA!!!

  1. Alex G. Sicre
    commented on: March 21, 2013 at 3:21 p.m.
    Good for Bradley and Dempsey. Its called leadership. They will ignite the team to go forward and the rest will be history, I hope, Go USA.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: March 21, 2013 at 4:25 p.m.
    Mood of the team? What does mood have anything to do with professional athletes; the door is always open for them. What mood has this team been in for the last four years, basically samo-samo as witnessed by their mediocre performances and efforts. MOOD, my foot; fan expectation is normal, but when Sporting News echoes criticism, it somehow enters into a histrionic zone.

  1. Mike in SoCal
    commented on: March 21, 2013 at 5:33 p.m.
    Quality coaches try to impart on their teams a style of play. That's a hard thing to do for a national team coach though. Unlike club team coaches they have to deal with a constantly evolving and changing roster as well as the time restraints. JK has been a big-picture coach - he's not an X's and O's reactionary type. He's always talked about changing the American soccer culture and how we think and approach the game. These type of sweeping changes however take time to implement and given the ever-changing nature of national teams and limited time they spend together it's a long-term endeavor. I don't know if ultimately therefore JK would make a better techincal director of US soccer than he makes a coach. We've had a couple hiccups under Klinsy but generally we seem to be moving in the right direction. This last loss came off our January camp where we had a lot of out of season players. We looked pretty bad in the Canada tuneup game, I expected that Honduras would be a tough game so no big surprise there for anyone that closely watch the USMNT. The nonsense from the Sporting News article a few days back is just jibberish. If those were the worst things they got when they spoke to 20-some anonymous sources then that really isn't that bad. The US players aren't getting a lot of pregame particulars because that just isn't JK's way, he hopes they soak in what he's saying long term and not just look to change up from game to game. I still think that we are in good hands with Jurgen as coach, now if we don't beat Costa Rica tomorrow in Colorado things will become very tough for us as I seriously doubt we can beat Mexico at Azteca twice in a row. 1 or 2 points out of our first 3 games would put us in serious jeopardy not to make it out of the Hex. Costa Rica in Colorado and a return visit to Azteca (where Mexico)

  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: March 21, 2013 at 6:29 p.m.
    Ric, u nailed it, the timing is so suspect, as if sporting news hAd nothing better to do then try to undermine the u s team for some reason. Typical sensationalist journalism where u stick a mic in front of someone and tell them what to comment on. On I-70 right now headed to Denver to represent American Outlaws Los Angeles! The U S will take down Costa Rica all drama aside! Super power, super power U S A !

  1. Kent James
    commented on: March 21, 2013 at 7:25 p.m.
    I'm not as concerned about the article as I am about the team. If the article just picked up the sort of complaints that you can find in any team (players left out), then it's no big deal (though one would hope that players at the level of the national team would have more of a professional than that). Bradley & Dempsey are saying the right things. My greater concern is if the team has lost faith in JK, then we'd have a problem, since we really need to have the team firing on all cylinders. But one such article does not demonstrate that, and I hope it's wrong. Of course, the best way to clear up dissent is to win!

  1. Raveen Rama
    commented on: March 21, 2013 at 8:07 p.m.
    As I said before, Klinsman had a great world cup but a miserable stint as coach of a top German club. Nevertheless, we had great expectations of him leading the US team to success. He showed great promise when in the first games under him our team tried to play possession, building from the back, etc. It seems he realized quickly he could not play the possession game with the pool of players he had, and therefore he gave up on that. At present it seems he is confused what formation/s to play, and what style of play would suit the team best thus constantly changing these. By now he should have figured this out.

  1. John DiFiore
    commented on: March 21, 2013 at 9:20 p.m.
    @Mike in SoCal - I couldnt agree with you more! Remember when everyone was itching and moaning about Bradley doing the same thing and playing the same players as Arena?? Listen, both BA and BB did fine, but we knew we need more. JK is doing just what we wanted AND ASKED FOR. He's trying newer players and testing older ones. Everyone needs to get on board or you dont play. This is not going to be solved in 1 year or 2. This is going to take even longer than a WC cycle. We must be patient. And players too. I mean if Carlos cant play on a 2nd div team, (which in spain is worse) then he shouldnt be playing on the USMNT. I like CB, but JK is implementing change. Innovation is what Made USA great! as did many immigrants! I Support JK and the USA!!

  1. John DiFiore
    commented on: March 21, 2013 at 9:22 p.m.
    Also, look how our U21's just played against Mexico!! THAT is our what JK is striving for!! Awesome!

  1. Scott Buccola
    commented on: March 22, 2013 at 1:19 a.m.
    I have to agree with John, for years people have been begging for a change in player selection and now that it's happening there's panic after one loss away. While some of the games haven't been "pretty" there has been some success to build on in the last year. Granted the situation with injuries is not ideal but obviously Jurgen has faith in those he has chosen so I think we should see how they do before making any judgments. I don't even know that either of the next two games are "must win". It would be great to have 4 points but the reality is there is only one team with 3 points now and probably at best the top team after the next two games will have 7 points and it could be as little as 5. While winning the "hex" is a great goal, it is more important to qualify for the World Cup. Go USA!


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