Klinsmann: 'It's obviously always about authority'

[U.S. SOCCER] Juergen Klinsmann says he failed reach an agreement with U.S. Soccer to become U.S. national team coach and replace Bob Bradley because they could not reach a written agreement on what they had verbally agreed to, but he had a lot more to say the U.S. national team and U.S. soccer in Sunday's interview with former MLS player Sasha Victorine on the Kansas City Wizards' pregame show ...

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"We had conversations, maybe about three or four weeks period of time, and very positive conversations," Klinsmann said during an interview broadcast Sunday on the KCWE pregame show. "But we didn't get it to a positive ending because we couldn't put into writing what we agreed to verbally. It's obviously always about authority. When you have conversations with a club team or a national team, it's who has the last word in what issues, and that's where we couldn't get into the written terms."

He said there was a verbal agreement he should have complete authority on the technical side but U.S. Soccer couldn't commit to it in written terms.

"At that point," he added, "I said, 'Well then, I can't get the job done because I have to have the last say as a head coach for my entire staff, for all the player issues, for everything that happens with the team.' Unfortunately, they couldn't commit to that, and that was basically the end of our talks, and then they agreed then to continue with Bob as the head coach, and that's totally fine."

Klinsmann said the USA could have advanced beyond the second round, where it lost to Ghana, 2-1, in overtime.

"I said [after the game] they were not, it didn't look like they were really well prepared for that game," he said. "They were maybe still dreaming a little bit about their last-minute winner against Algeria instead of focusing right away on the game against Ghana. They had that big opportunity. They missed that opportunity, which was a pity I think."

Klinsmann went on to say American coaches like Bruce Arena or Bradley could coach in foreign leagues like the English Premier League.

"It's not that such a big of a gap to coach in Europe," said Klinsmann, "Maybe image-wise, name-wise, but not working-wise."

He said American players have improved over the last 10-15 years but lacked credibility in Europe.

Klinsmann cited Landon Donovan, who briefly played for him at Bayern Munich but was stymied by political problems Klinsmann had at the club.

"He showed at Everton it's no big deal," he said of Donovan's most recent loan stint in Europe.

But Klinsmann said Americans must break through in Europe's "big 10."

The former German international insisted that American soccer must define what kind of style of play it wants to play.

"Every country has its own style," he said. "Every environment, every MLS club should have its own identity, based on its neighborhood."

Klinsmann said it was a "big excuse" to suggest that American soccer's diversity make it impossible for American soccer to develop its own identity. He added that anyone who didn't buy into an American soccer identity needed to move aside.

"Nobody works at Apple not believing in the Apple product," he said.

On the question of what it will take to produce the great American striker, Klinsmann suggested that American players needed to be hungrier and grow up in a more challenging environment.

35 comments about "Klinsmann: 'It's obviously always about authority'".
  1. David Huff, September 20, 2010 at 5:53 p.m.

    That's not "totally fine" though for the state of the USMNT program for the next 4 years under MLS Bob, the master of mediocrity. Looks like Gulati and Flynn weren't serious about making substantial improvements in the program and thus the written deal was not completed. The fans should consider taking out their ire on USSF and MLS for sabotaging the USMNT program, boycotting their games and merchandise until the USSF can be reformed, including the ouster of Gulati and Flynn.

  2. Dan Phillips, September 20, 2010 at 7:18 p.m.

    I agree it is not totally fine. Gulati and Flynn should be fired. That they did not get Klinsmann, again, because of their stupid necessity for control, I could just cry. US soccer is doomed under another 4 years with boring Bob. The fans need to organize a grass roots movement to get rid of Gulati and Flynn and Bradley. Then re-negotiate and put down on paper what Klinsmann wants!

  3. James Froehlich, September 20, 2010 at 7:32 p.m.

    As David said, we need to boycott the games and the merchandise and keep spreading that word until US Sucker wakes up!!!

  4. Paolo Jacobs, September 21, 2010 at 1:31 a.m.

    I can't believe Sunil Gulati could not give full authority to Klinnsman... Absolutely ridiculious. Gulati should step aside...No manager or coach wants to have a US president pulling the strings or have final here say.... Klinnsman could bring a lot to the table,, I mean at least let him try,,, and I agree, Bob didn't have our team ready for Ghana....

  5. Philippe Fontanelli, September 21, 2010 at 7:58 a.m.

    What Gulati wants to run the Team? He is a moron. Then why didn't he get involved with the game against Ghana as he had mentioned that he has disagreed with Bradley's line up for the game? Giving the "total" authority to Bradley but nixing the authority to Klinsman is ludicrous. Somehow I get the feeling Gulati and the "old boys" are purposely sabotaging and ruining US Soccer. Get rid of the enemies of the "state and country"!

  6. Paul Lorinczi, September 21, 2010 at 8:18 a.m.

    This comment is the reason this guy should be running things. "Klinsmann said it was a "big excuse" to suggest that American soccer's diversity make it impossible for American soccer to develop its own identity. He added that anyone who didn't buy into an American soccer identity needed to move aside." The US has the talent and diversity to create a style that is truly American. Klinsmann's blueprint in Germany built a competitive team out of the diversity of ethnic groups in their country. We need to get the suburban only mentality out of our game.

  7. Gene Jay, September 21, 2010 at 9:24 a.m.

    Team identity is totally bogus concept. your identity is the players you have at the moment. Germany used to be slow and technical with great players, and had great success; then overnight became fast and creative with great players, and had great success too. If you wanted to stick with the 'identiy mold', they should never have brought in Ozil et al. and promoted the closest 'Ballack-type' they could find out of the Bundesliga. Anyone think think Germany 2010 would have been better off with out Khedra, Ozil, Cacau, et al? Of course not. Make great players and identity will take care of itself--NOT vise versa. Think of this: USA wakes up one morning and says 'our indentity will be to play the style of Brazil circa 1970'--and really be committed to play that way. World Cup finals should be in the cards because they got an 'identity' right?
    No, USA needs world class strikers from somewhere, not some identity mold that sounds good, but not the players to back it up.

  8. David Hardt, September 21, 2010 at 9:42 a.m.

    If Gulati wants to keep control maybe he should make himself the USMNT coach. Then coach and control are all in one, as it should be. (said tongue in check so I don't get ripped again)

  9. Alfred Lucas, September 21, 2010 at 10:15 a.m.

    Klinsmann is clearly the man for the job. Bureaucratic politics is clearly the reason he isn't chosen.

    Bradley is a master at playing the political game. Notice how he never answers the hard questions, and never really says anything. A true politician. As for accomplishments, Bradley may "work hard", but any results have come from the players figuring out the problems after the game begins following Bradley’s “strategies” (which is why we always start so poorly). It’s like Steve Sampson all over again - he was a good coach initially, when he let our players play. Then he tried to coach, and we had the France 1998 WCup debacle.

    Like Beckenbauer said when he coached Germany to win the 1990 World Cup, “I choose the best players, and I let them play.” The same philosophy should apply to the coach as well. Choose the best, and let him coach. Klinsmann is his own man, calls it like it is, and that threatens the bureaucrat's sense of control. Klinsmann's understanding of youth development is especially needed in our country. How we first learn to play is how we will play the rest of our lives (aka "First Learning", Madeline Hunter, PhD). We need a player pool that works, and Klinsmann is unbelievably qualified to make that happen.

    I support Klinsmann hanging tough on the point of total control. He is the only one with the demonstrated ability to do this, both as a player and a coach. In time Bradley's inability to improve our national team or player pool will become impossible for the bureaucrats to ignore. I only hope that leaves enough time for Klinsmann to step in and make things right before we lose the imagination that the last World Cup inspired. The American public now has a sense of what soccer can be. This is a moment that will not last without results that show obvious progress.

  10. Carl Walther, September 21, 2010 at 10:19 a.m.

    Because of the way US soccer is organized, and the mentally of the men who run it--the US National Team will never be anything other than an "also ran."

  11. Michael Canny, September 21, 2010 at 10:41 a.m.

    I don't think a boycott will do anything but hurt the MLS and the sport in the U. S. It is too late now, Bob Bradley's contract has been signed.

    Having said that, I agree that Gulati needs to step aside. Unfortunately, it will take more failures on the pitch to make that happen.

  12. Bill Anderson, September 21, 2010 at 11:19 a.m.

    Don't go to the game in Chicago.
    Don't watch the game on TV.
    Don't buy any of the merchandise.
    Don't support the National Team Staff or Administration. Yes, it will hurt the MLS and the National Team and US Soccer. Should we just accept the rot? I don't think we should accept the actions of Gulati, Flynn, and Bunker Bob. "Cruel to be kind, in the right measure".

  13. Tyler Dennis, September 21, 2010 at 12:17 p.m.

    Ho Hum! No surprise here, it is all politics and about retaining power. We've had the Bradley reign and know what we get. Usually very determined, fit players that play a game that is collectively mediocre. So why not try to improve by making changes? Because of POWER. It isn't as though Flynn or Gulati would get fired for making a change, under any other coach the team can't get any more mediocre.

  14. Soloman Mohamed, September 21, 2010 at 12:28 p.m.

    It is all about cause and effect. Mr.Sunil Gulati has been the USSF Shot Caller since Coach Arena days. Don't we learn from our mistakes? It's the same ol' revolving door situation. Wake up soccer lovers! The future of U.S. Soccer is in your hands. Grab a mic, drum or spade and let's get the job done.

  15. David Huff, September 21, 2010 at 12:45 p.m.

    Thank you James, Bill, Ric and others etc. Now @ Michael: hurting MLS is exactly the point, the objective of a boycott is to use economic leverage to force change by essentially hitting them where it hurts, in the pocket. At some point, even USSF and MLS honchos have to pay attention to their balance sheets and institute reforms to bring the fans back. Right now the USSF and its MLS allies are hurting the USMNT program, is that something we should find acceptable? Hell no, otherwise we will be faced with the scenario that Carl describes, being nothing other that an ocassionally dangerous "also ran". I would like to see us win the WC one day, reform needs to start now in order for that to happen.

  16. Gak Foodsource, September 21, 2010 at 12:58 p.m.

    I think fans upset with Gulati should look at the way anti- Glazer Man U supporters have conducted their campaign. It is indeed a powerful image when the typically red stadium is filled with scarves of gold and green. US fans aren't powerless here. Gulati sits on atop the USSF board of directors and won re-election unopposed in February, meaning we are technically stuck with the guy for four more years. But to be honest I'd fancy my chances getting the USSF president to resign because of cause as opposed to getting an owner of a team to step aside. Gulati doesn't own US soccer.

  17. James Froehlich, September 21, 2010 at 1:43 p.m.

    The soccer hierarchy at work -- the story on Klinsmann hasa been pulled from the MLS Home site -- "just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you" . Please someone tell me I'm wrong!!

  18. David Huff, September 21, 2010 at 2:01 p.m.

    @James: more evidence of the USSF-MLS alliance relationship, they are more than just in bed with each other. At this point I'm so disgusted with the current state of affairs that I'm also prepared to stand-down from supporting the USSF/MLS big cash cow project, securing WC 2018/2022. What's the sense of having the WC here in the US, to show off our mediocre program? Its only about the $$ for these clowns, the quality of the product on the field doesn't seem to matter.

  19. Olivier Lurz, September 21, 2010 at 2:09 p.m.

    The renewal of Bob Bradley's contract will set US Soccer back another 4 years. What this tells me is that the USSF is not really interested in becoming a soccer power. The people in charge are more concerned about maintaining the Status Quo. They are afraid that Klinsmann would mix things up like he did when he took over in Germany. What a shame!

  20. Raveen Rama, September 21, 2010 at 2:12 p.m.

    Is it possible that a higher authority could move in and replace the present officials? Or, could Gulati and the gang be taken to court for misrepresenting the development of soccer in the United States, and abusing their authority, and be removed from office?

  21. James Froehlich, September 21, 2010 at 2:40 p.m.

    I believe we only have a couple of options: one is our pocketbooks, no more tickets and no more merchandise. The other is publicity. Keep the selection of BB and the bypassing of Klinsmann on the front burner of every blog you participate in and contact whatever media you can think of to press them to investigate the workings of US Soccer. I have to believe that they would have a tough time justifying their revenue streams from "pay to play" and how it isolates the Hispanic community as well as the inner cities.

  22. Dan Phillips, September 21, 2010 at 2:40 p.m.

    Let's put the pressure on to get Sunil fired. Then put pressure on the new president to fire Bradley and hire Klinsmann. Wear your Fire Sunil Gulati t shirts. Tey are available on the internet.

  23. David Huff, September 21, 2010 at 3:20 p.m.

    @ James: concur 100%, this is a sound approach to making those who are unaccountable uncomfortable. @ Dan: you need to add Dan Flynn to the t-shirt selection, also do you have a web link for these shirts? I feel the need to expand my t-shirt wardrobe. :)

  24. David Horcasitas, September 21, 2010 at 5:17 p.m.

    If there really is a web link for t-shirts, please advise. I will forward to other coaches/players.

  25. Marc Satterly, September 21, 2010 at 6:26 p.m.

    Don't kill the president unless there is someone better to replace him. Whom would you place in the presidency of USSF that is more qualified than Gulati? We have only heard Klinsmann's side. Now, by speaking out publicly, Klinsmann has killed any chance of working for USSF. Not Smart. Perhaps Jurgen isn't that tactically astute after all. Releasing total control to someone of his limited managerial resume would be popular but not intelligent. Thinking long term, there is a chance that Gulati may work his way into FIFA's board which would be tremendous for USSoccer. We need to think bigger picture when it comes to USSoccer. You may have noticed that nowhere here have I defended Bob Bradley.

  26. John Hofmann, September 21, 2010 at 6:35 p.m.

    It's been my experience in more than 70 years that usually, when 99% of commentors are completely up-in-arms and ranting about a situation, they are often well off-base. One person hinted at the precarious position of MLS and U.S. soccer, a situation that everyone else seems to ignore. Mainstream soccer is still a dream in the U.S. We're on the fringe, the kid who is, really, get sand kicked in his face every year by the signficant number of sports giants in the U.S. I've heard over time people proudly proclaming they won't support U.S. soccer until it's on a par with other countries. No one takes them to task -- we have an MLS structure that allows a $2.5 million salary cap a year (plus designated players in an owner is willing to accept the financial risk), versus European teams with team salaries, what, a hundred times that? Or more?
    A minischule fan base (in comparison to professional football, etc.). Most North Americans don't care, notwithstanding what babble is emanating from soccer blogs comment columns. There is no reliable evidence that Klinsmann would do any better than Bradley did in the past four years. Possibly. On the other hand, he might have done the same, or worse. Simply put, it's real easy to sit on one's duff, with no responsibility for what happens, and condemn what others are doing. Soccer success probably depends for the most part on better, hungrier players, which probably in our country means minorities, the kids who now nearly all flock to football and baseball, for the possiblities of big paydays. If you want to do soccer in this country the biggest favor possible, come up with and support a successful strategy to get a broader cross-section of your youth involved with, and loving, soccer (and a way to financially compete with all the other sports that right now are the dominant ones in this country, so that a kid from a ghette doesn't see a 100:1 disparity between a prospective payoff in pro sports). I suspect very strongly that boycotting U.S. soccer is not the best way to achieve almost anything, at this stage, as far as reaching long-term success.

  27. Norm Coyle, September 21, 2010 at 7:53 p.m.

    Unfortunately our national team program is run by a control freak, which is why Klinsmann will never be hired as the USMNT coach as long as Gulati is in control. I think Bradley did a decent job at the last world cup however Klinsmann could probably do better and bring us further in the next world cup, so it's shame that a good opportunity was missed. I think we need a change and Gulati should be replaced since he is an egomaniac and a control freak, which is definitely not who we should have running the national team.

  28. Kevin Leahy, September 21, 2010 at 9:43 p.m.

    Politics is in every level of the soccer programs in this country and it is more tangled than most people realize. I have never seen Klinsmann as the answer, but I do think he might have got us going in the right direction. I don't draw the same line between the federation and MLS. We will not be able to compete internationally without MLS. The player pool since 1996 has been mostly players that have competed in MLS. We would have less than zero credibility with the rest of the world without it. You could also forget about another World Cup being played here without MLS. I did not support the rehiring of Bob Bradley, but that is out of my control. Soccer people who do not support MLS are shooting this country in the foot when it comes to developing the game here!

  29. Bill Anderson, September 22, 2010 at midnight

    The idea that I should support Sunil Gulati and the current establishment because he is "close to worming his way into FIFA's board" is disgusting and abhorent.

  30. Leonardo Perez, September 22, 2010 at 1:23 a.m.

    Think of it this way: "Jack Warner runs the TnT program like a oil company--for PROFIT!" Don't you think Mr Gulati is doing the same thing with the USSF along with the rich owners of MLS--for PROFIT! These men care less of player development and only on how much more money can be made. True Capitalism. Isn't it grand?

  31. Daniel Walker, September 22, 2010 at 8:01 a.m.

    Everything is politics. They have politics in the EPL. So the US needs strikers, we need to learn how to dive (our eventual retaliatory dives were unconvincing in the Slovenia game, almost laughable), we need to foul better. We have strategy and hold the field nearly as well as the Dutch and Germans (except on defense), we just lack the finishers, the divers and the aggressiveness. Yes, we need the hungry young Turks that come from the poor neighborhoods. Can anyone imagine a US team committing fouls like the Netherlands did in the final game in order to have a prayer at winning? Against Ghana, we were beaten by their strikers and they were a great African team who could play field position as well as us AND we faced a stadium full of angry Brits who bought tickets expecting England to be at that game, so were rooting for Ghana. In the US soccer is an upper and middle class game (in England and Spain and Germnay it is the game of the poor) and for now, we have a clean playing, strategy/field position style and it gets us past the first round, but ends there. The top 4 world cup teams had field position and the hungry strikers and divers and aggressive foulers. Bradley,perhaps, coaches the American style as well as anyone, but he is not to blame for it. We could have been more consistent and organized on defense, but would not blame Bradley for that.

    But soccer is about to take off in the US, our fans outnumbered any single other country at the World Cup (just wait until Brazil), it feels like 75% of middle class Americans under 35 have played the game, and if we get out and develop the kids from the disadvantaged neighborhoods, we would get better fast. We need soccer fields on the other side of the railroad tracks. Go look -- there are no fields there today. In South Africa there are makeshift pitches in sugar cane fields, behind police stations, on highway shoulders, and wherever there is a patch of grass or bare dirt. I would guess something similar in Spain or the UK. Another commenter is so correct: the kids have to believe that playing soccer can help them escape their circumstances.

  32. Patrick Bell, September 22, 2010 at 9:17 a.m.

    The american soccer needs to look at the US Basketball and see the blueprint they used to put together a team to win the World Championship. There is a board but they allowed Coach K and his team to pick the players. Klinsman needs to have control so that he can find the talent not only in the club setups but in other parts of the country where there are athletes that can compete. We have the best athletes in the world. If develop talent early we can see the fruit in 4 to 8 years.

  33. John Schubert, September 22, 2010 at 10:34 a.m.

    Just another example of politics and ego getting in the way of advancing soccer in the US. Bob Bradley is an adequate coach who will do an adequate job for the National Team but will once again come up short. Soccer may never have the popularity of American Football but if it is to even survive in this country, this kind of behavior must stop.

  34. David Huff, September 22, 2010 at 2:25 p.m.

    @Kevin, Marc and John: rather it is MLS that is shooting itself in the foot by sabotaging the USMNT for its own parochial interests, they have the key to their own boycott jail cell if they will merely turn the key of influence on the USSF Board to get them to do the right thing here and hire Klinsmann who is so clearly more qualified than their apparachik, the plodding MLS Bob. While MLS is helpful to some extent in developing an expanded USMNT player pool it is not indispensible, look at the example of other countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa which have their own domestic leagues yet their best players are often taken up at a young age by the European clubs and provided with the best development environment ala Messi, etc. These players dominate their national team rosters. The same is increasing happening to US youth players, who are turning away from the domestic salary-capped MLS in favor of the much more lucrative opportunities in Europe and Mexico where the pay is excellent and the quality is much higher. The bedrock of best players for the USMNT will come from Europe and Mexico for many years to come until MLS can establish itself as a world-class league. The fact remains that if USSF and MLS want a favorable growth environment then this objective can be hardly achieved when their obstructive efforts to building up the USMNT tend to anger and alienate the fanbase. If as you say you want soccer to grow in this country, including those from barrios/ghettos, would it not be helpful to have a creative and innovative USMNT program that could help advertise the sport in this country? I hate to say it but most new fans are attracted to the sport more by the WC qualification and WC Finals games than the regular MLS product that can be viewed. Many players who participate in the USMNT program then find themselves receiving lucrative offers from Europe and Mexico that are competitive to what the major sports in the US are offering. This information could be marketed to attract people to the sport in the US, if they get hooked watching the USMNT playing in international fixtures then they can then be moved over to watching more international flavor with La Liga, EPL, Serie A etc. on FSC, ESPN etc. Ultimately this helps foster a cllimate that also lifts MLS' boat as well. However, MLS will be required to look beyond their own narrow short-term parochial interests and embrace the international aspects of soccer's landscape. As a result, reform of USSF's and MLS' current approach is sorely needed, we as fans can help promote such reform even if it involves some initial pain via game and merchandising boycotts. Remember they have the key to their own jail cell, all they need to do is decide to do the right thing here.

  35. Mj Lee, September 24, 2010 at 2:20 p.m.

    Juergen has said that the problem with soccer development in this country is that it is funded by parents. Instead, it needs to funded in a way that reaches out to the broad community of immigrants, e.g., the European pro team club system with its youth development programs. I suspect that Sunil and the anal retentives at USSoccer would not consent to Juergen's desire to change their entire development "system". USSoccer all the way down through the state levels is a political cesspool run by control freaks who wish they were athletes. Nothing is going to change until players with international experience can have say in fixing the system.

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