Klinsmann the salesman prolongs problem

By Paul Gardner

First, the unworthy farce of the snow-job against Costa Rica. Well, OK, three points is three points. But it would be better, somehow nicer, if those three points were hauled in by playing soccer, don’t you think?
Heaven knows what was played in Denver last week, by both the USA and Costa Rica. Both sets of players were subjected to ridiculous conditions in a game that, quite clearly should never have started, and even more clearly, should have been called off in the second half.
Looking for reasons why it was allowed to continue, we find some non-soccer justifications. You don’t want to postpone a game when the stadium’s already crammed with people, now do you? Or when the TV guys are ready to go? Or when you’re going to have trouble fitting a replay into an already crowded schedule.
Actually, all of those reasons make sense, though they have nothing to do with what happens on the field. Jurgen Klinsmann’s reasoning was, inevitably, partisan -- “I would have done anything kind of possible not to stop” -- are not worth wasting time on, shallow words spoken by the guy whose team was leading, 1-0.
As for Costa Rica’s futile protest, and its peremptory rejection by FIFA, this is also disturbing. However that protest may be described, it could not be termed frivolous. The conditions complained of were just about as bad as they could get. But FIFA has it regulations, strict ones, about protests. They are, of course, very necessary to prevent that very thing -- frivolous protests.
But to see a reasonable protest summarily dismissed without even being considered reflects no credit at all on FIFA. FIFA is not saying that it’s OK to play in these conditions, merely that the Costa Ricans made a mess of filing their protest by not adhering to the letter of how it should be done.
Which merely adds another layer of bureaucratic, non-soccer reasoning to the barriers against getting a game replayed, or even getting a hearing. The protest was not frivolous, but its rejection was.
So be it. Without playing anything that looked like soccer then (take Klinsmann’s word for it -- “From a tactical side, from passing elements, you couldn’t play today. It was just simply impossible.”) -- the USA snagged three vital points. If we redefine the game of soccer to meet whatever criteria are deemed necessary to play in a blizzard, then the USA just about deserved its 1-0 win.
Whether it deserved to escape from the Azteca with that 0-0 scoreline is much more questionable. Well, no -- it’s not even questionable. The USA was damn lucky here: the AR flags for a penalty kick call and the referee ignores him -- that’s unusual, but the USA got away with that one. Later came one of those calls that are just plain inexplicable, with referee Walter Lopez simply ignoring an iron-clad penalty kick call against Maurice Edu for his almost uniquely clumsy tackle on Javier Aquino.
OK, so what? Even if both penalty kicks had been awarded, it’s possible that Mexico would have missed them both anyway. The Mexicans were not in good shooting form, as it happened -- of their 19 shots, only three were on target. But the 19 shots do emphasize that most of this game was played at the American defensive end of the field. The USA managed just one shot. And the corner kick count was 15-2 to the Mexicans.
No one’s denying that the Azteca is a difficult place to play in, so the USA’s single point is a valuable one. But, hey, maybe the Azteca is not that difficult -- Jamaica came out of there with a point recently.
But forget the might-have-beens. The problem with the Costa Rica and Mexico games is that the amount of recognizable and praiseworthy soccer played by the USA in these two games was minimal. Against Costa Rica that was, so to speak, by design. It was, after all, the USA, with Klinsmann’s blessing, that scheduled this game in Denver, hoping that wintery conditions would upset the Central Americans -- and maybe they did.
But against Mexico, the approach was -- probably inevitably -- strictly cautious and defensive. One shot on goal. Come to that, in three games the USA has scored just two goals. Yet all of Klinsmann’s talk is about team spirit and of how his boys came through, how they were ready for the challenges -- praise that eventually led -- as you knew it was bound to -- to that ultimate of coaches’ complementary cliches, “Everybody worked hard for each other.”
Indeed they did -- but who ever doubted that they would? Who ever alleged that Americans lack team spirit, or don’t rise to challenges?  Well, ahem, it’s been Klinsmann who has been most vocal on these possible shortcomings of American players.
It has been pointed out that if you want to sell a cure, your first task is to exaggerate the frequency of the disease it’s supposed to work on. Salesmanship, it’s called. It seems to me that Klinsmann is proving himself an excellent salesman in this manner, having first alarmed us with talk of inferior American attitudes, thus putting himself in a strong position to claim the responsibility when those attitudes are, apparently, swept away.
Sorry, Jurgen -- no sale. Enough with the salesmanship stuff. What I’m waiting for, what I believe you were appointed to ensure, is the appearance of a national team playing good, exciting, goal-scoring soccer, a team with a style of play.
This is not simply an aesthetic request. Teams that play with a style can be relied upon to play consistently. Teams that lack a style will find it necessary to bring in players like the appalling Jermaine Jones (and how did he escape a red card for that flagrant elbow in the Costa Rica game?). Teams that lack a style may well turn in heroic defensive games now and then, but they’re also going to find scoring problematic (two goals in three games sound familiar?)
We’ll be told, guaranteed, that style is irrelevant -- hey, these are the qualifiers, doesn’t matter what you look like, playing ugly is the way to do it, getting the points is all that matters. The implication is always that somehow, after the qualifiers, things will be better. Except that we then have the first round of the World Cup, and all that matters then is qualifying for the next round, so the hell with pretty soccer. And so on.
If I date the arrival of the modern pro game in this country to 1967 (some, no doubt would put it earlier), then we’ve had getting on for 50 years of increasing professionalism to produce a coherent, solid, attractive and style-based national team. If we have not done that, and we haven’t, it is hardly Klinsmann’s fault.
But what Klinsmann has done so far has done nothing to suggest that a team with style is on the way. He appears to be prolonging, rather than solving, the problem.

50 comments about "Klinsmann the salesman prolongs problem".
  1. tom brown, March 27, 2013 at 6:24 p.m.

    That amount of snow cannot fall in natural weather so you have the Fed Govt using its "top Secret" HAARP weather weapon project to advance the goals of the soccer program. With the govt going all out, Fifa is very well aware of the weather weapon technology & conveniently ducked the whole scene. Now it falls upon the govt to create perfect storms on every USA game. Defeat the USA & your country gets "Katrinaed" into oblivion.

  2. Karl Ortmertl, March 27, 2013 at 6:56 p.m.

    I'm glad that the US is hanging in there, but without their one truly great offensive player, Landon Donovan, it's hard to get too excited about what this team does. With Donovan creating and Altidore, Dempsey and Bradley as more than capable helpers, the US offense could be very exciting. without Donovan, it just ain't happening with this team. They'll probably get thru, but they won't be any kind of a threat in Brazil unless Donovan comes back

  3. Rich Blast, March 27, 2013 at 6:59 p.m.

    Isn't soccer a game played outside in the elements? Last I checked it was. I've played in 40 mile an hour winds, rain, and sleet. The games will be played as scheduled as long as it is considered safe to play.

    Costa Rica had the momentum. From what I could tell the Costa Rica players seemed vehement about continuing to play. The protest only came after the outcome.

    Klinsmann has to be a bit of a salesmen. He has to have players and all the rest that goes with it on the same page. I thought the style of play seemed improved against Mexico and Costa Rica.

  4. Gary Wien, March 27, 2013 at 7:06 p.m.

    "But what Klinsmann has done so far has done nothing to suggest that a team with style is on the way. He appears to be prolonging, rather than solving, the problem."

    I disagree. I thought the US team had a magnificent game plan against Mexico, stuck with it, and came away with one of the few points we've ever had in that stadium.

    How often in the past did Mexico strikers beat us with long runs for beautiful goals?

    How often did you see that happen yesterday?

    I saw about three shots on net out of the 19 and while I could do without the endless corner kicks, I saw the US defense take care of them virtually every time without trouble.

    Yes, we played the game basically for the tie. But that was a strategic decision (as national teams will do) and the US executed the game plan well.

    Now, if we have a game plan like that when playing at HOME you'll have a point. But in a place where we've had what one win and a tie in our history? It was a solid effort...

  5. Gary Beals, March 27, 2013 at 7:16 p.m.

    Paul, too bad you weren't in the stadium (I was), the feeling was electric, the fans were die hard, committed and excited. The ball movement was better than some water-logged games I have watched in Central America, and both teams clearly came to play. Soccer is played on bad fields, in bad weather, with bad officials all the time, every player and coach can tell you about a game they had to play, regardless of the conditions. It is refreshing to see the pros having to deal with the situation like real people. Paul clearly believes soccer is played on perfect fields, in perfect conditions, with perfect players, good luck with that dream. Next time, come to the stadium and EXPERIENCE the game Mr. Gardner. Go USA!

  6. Thomas Hosier, March 27, 2013 at 7:17 p.m.

    Paul tell us again how much you don't like Kinsmann and US Soccer. Yes, it is disappointing our Men's National Team has not progressed further at this point but don't lay it all on Klinsmann after all as you have pointed they have had nearly 50 years to progress to a world class team.

  7. Gak Foodsource, March 27, 2013 at 7:22 p.m.

    Allowing these two games to stand as a representation of how Klinsmann wants to play is unfair because of the weather, altitude and injuries. With respect to the accusations of salesmanship, I don't think even you, Paul, could accuse Klinsi of overstating how disappointing our youth development has been over the past DECADE, and the effect it has had on our national pool of players. Nonetheless, I appreciate the efforts to stand on the side of "beautiful soccer", even when winning becomes more important.

  8. Roland Barral, March 27, 2013 at 7:37 p.m.

    Soccer is played outdoors. The United States National Soccer Team does not control the weather. Come on Paul Gardner -- do you have to be so anti-US all time. Are you capable of ever saying anything positive about the USMNT?

  9. Paul Lorinczi, March 27, 2013 at 7:39 p.m.

    So - when teams go to Bolivia and play in non-oxygen environment and Messi get's altitude sickness, should the game be protested because of the environment?

    When the game is played in 107 degree weather which is not optimal for any team to play, should the game be rescheduled?

    I remember watching games on TV when the orange ball was thrown out to play in snow.

    Hell, I live in Indianapolis and we play in snow when we even have it. But it is like anything else, you have to adjust to it because the game is a little different.

    Enough with the whining about the snow game and celebrate the accomplishment at Azteca.

    Also, can I remind Paul Gardner of the phantom hand ball against Greg Berhalter in WCQ at Saprissa. Or, the 2 goals that were called back for phantom off-sides in the WQ 2010.

    I believe shit happens. Where are the purists when bad things happen to the US? The answer is that is part of the game.

  10. Kent James, March 27, 2013 at 7:47 p.m.

    I never thought Bob Bradley was the reason the US didn't play "the beautiful game", and never expected JK to be our means of salvation. But I liked JK as a player, and was hopeful that he would bring a very attack-minded vision to the US MNT as the coach. I'm willing to be patient, but like PG, I am concerned about his focus. It's almost as if he's been afraid to emphasize the offense, and his focus on diet/fitness and the incorporation of many German-Americans (most of whom I like (JJ "red card bound to happen" excepted), but none of whom are the sort of skillful offensive players we need) has given me cause for concern. Given our injury problems, to get 4 points from the last two games was an amazing achievement. And to be honest, it's okay with me of we have an occasional game where we defend well and get lucky to eek out the points we need. But we've had the ability to do that for years. To raise the bar, we need to be more aggressive than that. My hope is, now that we've stabilized the defense (or at least have developed some good options there), we can start being more aggressive offensively.

  11. Dick Burns, March 27, 2013 at 7:57 p.m.

    As a long time resident of Colorado, I will tell you that is impossible to predict the weather for the next day let alone months down the line. The weather last Friday could well have been as it was today, sunny and 60 degrees. In my opinion, there was a very good reason to schedule this game in Colorado - ALTITUDE! You get to train at 5280, play the game and then travel to 7500 feet high Mexico City. That makes sense to me. I live at 6250 feet and occassionally travel to Leadville to referee a high school game at 10050 feet. Why don't those of you who live at sea level try that some time ten you might understand why it is good to aclimate to a higher altitude?

  12. Chris Morris, March 27, 2013 at 8:05 p.m.

    Some want the U.S. to qualify for WC 2014, some want us to play with style (Paul Gardner), some want us to qualify by playing with style. In an ideal world, I think we would all be in the third group, wanting both results and a good style. But I have a painful memory of our history at Azteca. So for now if I have to choose between result and style I’ll take those four points and hope for better attacking play in our subsequent home games. Footnote: I also was at the Costa Rica game and concur with others who attended that it was truly a memorable night.

  13. Chris Sapien , March 27, 2013 at 8:06 p.m.

    Gary, finally someone else tells it like it is! Not that I expect people to reply to my posts, but you would think that for all the times I have said it already, the conditions in Denver had no adverse effect, and I know because I too were there, would by now sunk in! Paul G. should read the "Laws of the Game" a little more often! At least then he would no that there are no references to weather in them, and the only exception a referee is supposed to consider is player safety. Bottom line is, ball moved fine, safety was not compromised, period. One other thing: there are advice to referees that address for instance, keeper second touch after a legal goal kick has taken place, that can only happen in severe weather conditions that make it possible. That is proof that the game is to go on, regardless of some purist who thinks he needs to see green under that pretty little ball, for it to be soccer, and to make him happy!! We had the time of our lives in Denver!! PG needs to get off the couch and live it.

  14. Allan Lindh, March 27, 2013 at 8:18 p.m.

    I'm sorry PG but the is just ranting negativism, and adds nothing to the discussion.
    The US routinely has to play in Central America is horrific conditions, which are often made deliberately tough by scheduling at mid-day for maximum heat and humidity. To say nothing of appalling fields, bags of urine, etc. Snow happens, get over it.
    As for the non-call's on the penalty kicks, I guess PG has forgotten the stone-cold penalty that wasn't called in US/Honduras -- much clearer than either of the calls last night. Or the Hispanic refs we always draw, who seem to reward every hard challenge by a US player with a yellow, but often don't even call a foul when it's the other way. Several of those last night, if you don't believe me, ask Damarcus Beasley. (Who has been a Godsend on the left.)
    As to our inability to play pretty soccer, until we get Donovan and Stuart Holden back, we just don't have any one touch midfield players with real skill on the ball, and real vision -- what are we supposed to do in the meantime? while we wait for the U20 team to grow up??
    Can't you ever think of anything nice to say about anyone or anything?

  15. Edgar Soudek, March 27, 2013 at 8:42 p.m.

    Does anyone really believe that all the
    comments challenging his idiotic observations will in any way impress Paul Gardner? That little man revels in
    getting everybody else upset, so let's not fall into his trap! He is sitting on his couch, hasn't been out in the rain, snow, heat, wind etc. in many years, writing his trash instead.
    To all those of you who were lucky enough to be at the game in Denver, to support our National Team: I envy you, I wish I could have been there, but distance from Virginia, and lack of funds prevented that. As I said in a previous comment: some people have a need to wallow in their misery, throwing negativism around like a dog shaking off fleas...

  16. Edgar Soudek, March 27, 2013 at 8:45 p.m.

    By the way, I haven't seen anything from good ol' Luis Arriola yet - I am keeping my fingers crossed! I do believe he is a surrogate for Paul Gardner anyway...

  17. Paul Stierle, March 27, 2013 at 9:10 p.m.

    Hooray, hooray, hooray for the USA. Rain, sleet or snow, away we go. In high degree heat, or the bad fields we will meet, with Donovan or without, lets sing and Shout, thru injuries and defeat, sometimes a tie is a treat,I stand behind you, The red, white black and blue.
    Hey all you guys, I love all your wrestling warrior spirit as we continue to rise and fall in the soccer world. And Finland can tie Spain. and there is so much soccer on the TV. Did you see the ratings for the USA/ mexico game? Wow! And I live up in Seattle where soccer is king in the news and in the stands. Wish I could be at a game with all of you soccer peoplelings.Don't forget when we go down to Costa Rica it will be their party they throw at us. Soccer, wow I love it. I mean Futbol'Ole

  18. soccer talk, March 27, 2013 at 9:24 p.m.

    PG continues the neg time and again I honestly think the guy is disgruntled with the results. No doubt Klinsi is Salesman; he hAs to after being in his assignment as our mat coach. FAct is he has the ismnt sitting splended. He is doing what has to be done with the players avAilable pretty or not. This is not that type of teAm. The CR game was far from ideAl. But soccer was continued with no player sAfety issues. I have seen fAr worse cond. like forementioned with high winds, flooded fields thAt far more effected game plAy. They are Pros, Men not wussies ; they wAnted to play. As far as fifas reject of CR; the protest was flAwed not to mention whiny. FIFA. Did its job to smack down that feeble plea. Last point with the topic of the mex / US game; the center ref is in chArge not the AR (ESP when is related to home plAyers). That was a nudge followed by a dive. Go USA!

  19. Power Dive, March 27, 2013 at 10:14 p.m.

    Bueller? ....bueller?

  20. Ernest c. Barnes, March 27, 2013 at 10:18 p.m.

    I have seen quite a few European games played in the snow in similar conditions that were not cancelled. I don't know why you say the game with Costa Rica should have been cancelled.

  21. Kenneth Osgood, March 27, 2013 at 10:31 p.m.

    Paul Gardner consistently writes as though the concept of being attached to a team is completely foreign to his experience. He only seems to recognize a small fraction of the total experience of the game.

  22. Daniel Clifton, March 27, 2013 at 10:34 p.m.

    I loved the snow game. I thought it was absolutely great. Soccer is supposed to be played in any type of weather. As for the protest, in order for the protest to even be considered the Costa Rican captain needed to ask that the game be stopped before or during the game. As someone else has mentioned it looked like the Costa Ricans were arguing along with the Americans to keep playing the game. You can't have your cake and eat it too sayeth FIFA. It is a good rule and thus the Costa Rican protest was justifiably thrown out. Unlike PG I like good defense. The US played really good defense in the final third against Mexico. Mexico had very few good chances. I can appreciate that. The US was lucky in having no PK's awarded. That has gone against the US such as in the game with Costa Rica, which PG did not mention, where a clear penalty was committed against Dempsey in the box. Why not mention that one PG? I was disappointed in the lack of offense against Mexico. There was not enough commitment to go forward. Altidore was constantly left alone. Why did Klinsmann replace Altidore with Johnson. A totally wasted sub.

  23. Eric R., March 27, 2013 at 10:44 p.m.

    Sorry but for someone who's been reporting on the game longer than any other American I can think of, Mr. Kennedy's articles do not reflect any of what it means to actually play the game. One of the truly wonderful things about this game is that you can completely dominate it, and still lose (or draw) due to a number of factors. I pasted the quote below to illustrate what I mean:

    "The USA was damn lucky here: the AR flags for a penalty kick call and the referee ignores him -- that’s unusual, but the USA got away with that one."

    I don't expect the refs to get every call right. If I really wanted to concentrate on the rules and such, I'd watch more gridiron football. Instead, it's the cruel nature of this game, and the common occurrence of ties, that makes me want to watch every game that I can.

  24. Derek Dunmire, March 28, 2013 at 12:42 a.m.

    please, please please soccer america do NOT use paul as a reporter any more. The game in Colorado was obviously scheduled to prepare for Azteca's altitude. Paul is never satisfied and presents himself as a "dick" and unpatriotic writer in every article he writes. I will no longer be reading his articles and will cancel my membership if he is not removed. I have commented numerous times before about his prejudice against us soccer and english soccer and am tired of the negative connotation of all his articles.

  25. R2 Dad, March 28, 2013 at 1:20 a.m.

    I've never laughed during a match more than while watching the Snow Game--a different sort of spectacle. Not pretty, but not every game has to be a derby to be entertaining. Yeah, I worry that we haven't made as much progress as we should, but it's obvious JK has prepped this team to play directly AND play possession. With LD and Holden (as mentioned above) back in the fold, we could have more options in attack. That's key, since unlocking different teams requires all the options we can muster. Maybe they're not all world class, but remember how Adu bothered panama on the right? We'll need all of that and more come Brazil, since our play in the final 3rd is the real concern. Let's not call for heads just yet, PG.

  26. tom brown, March 28, 2013 at 1:25 a.m.

    HAARP is a weather weapon. Look it up. It was used in Colorado. Natural weather does not produce massive snow on cue at gametime. It was secret at one time but our govt played too much with their toy so it became Fact.
    Paul Gardner has forgot more about soccer than you people will ever know. USA is struggling because our players are lazy. From kids on up. We produce weak players of that there is no doubt. Tim Howard is a terrible goalie. He Always comes out of his net. Teams know he'll do that & they bait him. A goalie cannot tip his hand & become predictable. USA only got some points because Howard was not playing. Put Howard back in & USA gets clobbered.

  27. David Mont, March 28, 2013 at 7:22 a.m.

    I don't agree with Paul regarding the Costa Rica game -- see nothing wrong with playing it in the conditions we had; however, he's spot on about everything else. Klinsmann's MO has been to put down the American player -- somehow the spirit and the mentality weren't right (even though that's one thing that the US players are praised for abroad). And Klinsmann has been the most non-offensive coach I've ever seen. It almost looks like doesn't allow the team to attack. Jamaica, whose players are not superior to American, got the same 0-0 draw at Azteca playing good attacking soccer, taking shots on goal, and creating multiple chances.

  28. tom brown, March 28, 2013 at 7:30 a.m.

    Klinsmann knows everything there is to know about American players. They are 75 min. fit & are weak in the fundamentals of the game. There is nothing to do but defend & hope for a mistake by the opposition. USA players are great when surrounded by 90 min fit players. But when you put them together you get mediocrity. USA is 20 years away from having a top team if at all.

  29. Gary Levitt, March 28, 2013 at 8:04 a.m.

    I still believe your editor has you on an incentive comp plan based on the number of comments you receive. There is no way that SA employs and compensates you for depth of analysis and opinion.
    I really would prefer you spend your time on your home country's national team. That would give you plenty to bitch about.

  30. Efrahim Fernandez, March 28, 2013 at 9:27 a.m.

    I agree with PG, You can call it what you want but snow ball was not soccer. I do agree I find it shameful that all nations abuse home field advantage to gain an unfair advantage. However, the writer is correct JK was brought in to bring a different style of play. Bob Bradley had some great postive results and was replaced? I listen to the football show on sirius which is England based. They are complaining about the youth structure there and the English Nat. Team. Funny , thing is our academy system is primarily built after theres? Most of the coaches are english . So we can look to be good as England in 10 years which is not very good! I want us to fix the problem not put on a bandage.

  31. Charles O'Cain, March 28, 2013 at 10:09 a.m.

    Klinsmann's job is to get the USMNT qualified for the World Cup using the available US player pool. If he succeeds (and I think he will), then his next job will be to win the World Cup (and almost everyone, myself included, is certain he will fail at this). If the USMNT fails to qualify, Klinsmann will not get the opportunity to impact the US style of play - he will be fired- and perhaps that is what Mr Gardner is hoping for. Regardless, the style will evolve to include the Latin (New World), as Mr Gardner prefers, more due to socioeconomic factors than anything else. The best way to accelerate this evolution (and to enlarge the player pool) will be through immigration reform. Among US residents, many of those with the strongest cultural ties to soccer are denied citizenship and full access to the youth soccer developmental programs which lead to national team eligibility, a tragically wasted resource. This is beyond Klinsmann's brief.

  32. beautiful game, March 28, 2013 at 10:38 a.m.

    K.O., your comment, "...without their one truly great offensive player, Landon Donovan..." You and others seem to throw around the superlative "great" as if indoctrinated by the plethora of MLS TV commentators. How does anyone rate LD as a "great" player, a polished player yes,that is when he shows up; a great player not even close. Seems that the word "great" is becoming an every day expression and its significance has become watered down. P.S. I'm in agreement with PG, the CR game cnditions should have dictated stoppage.

  33. Efrahim Fernandez, March 28, 2013 at 11:32 a.m.

    Immigration reform? That is the answer. Hardly! We have the largest number kids playing in the world. It is not increasing the talent pool ! The pool is there ,it is proper training. Less coaching and parents, less playing for results and more street soccer/futsal. Allow players to be creative and take chances with out fear of being pulled or yelled at by coach or parent. Academy will create more mechanical players like Brits and less creative players.

  34. David Mont, March 28, 2013 at 11:43 a.m.

    Charles O'Cain: immigration reform? Doubt it. It's interesting that there have been no comments on something that Jorge Ramos said during the pre-game (or was it halftime?) show on ESPN. I guess as an immigrant he could afford to say something politically incorrect but true. The discussion was about Mexican-American players, specifically the ones on the U-20 teams, and Ramos said that he had talked to a number of them and they all indicated to him that Mexico was their preferred choice. That they would play for the US only if Mexico didn't select them. So, here we have players who in most cases were born and grew up in the US, yet their allegiance is with Mexico. Now, how good would the US team be if it were made up of those for whom the US was just a second choice? (And of course the same goes for the Germans.)

  35. Chris Sapien , March 28, 2013 at 2:06 p.m.

    David, The problem lies with the parents of these kids you refer to, and the society they are brought up in. The vast majority have parents who see themselves as a race first, from a certain nationality second, and very far behind that, as an American Immigrant by necessity (whether admittedly or not). So the kids are immersed in "culture" non-stop, and surrounded by other youth who are also indoctrinated that their ancestry(?) is what makes them who they are, not what the freedoms given to them in this country can provide them, if they choose to work hard and succeed on individual merit. That is a problem!! (I lived it to some extent so don't call me on this, race-baiters out there). And yes I agree, you won't hear anyone dare to call Ramos on that statement. America should never be anyone's second choice!

  36. Charles O'Cain, March 28, 2013 at 2:26 p.m.

    The best soccer players will not come from the suburban supervised soccer establishment, coached by parents who may have never played the game (a few will make it through hard work and occasionally exceptional talent). When I see a group of kids playing unsupervised "pick-up" soccer on an unmarked field or street, with improvised goals, 97 times out of 100 it won't be kids who are involved in any way with club or classic. As for national allegiance, Rossi plays for Italy, so it's not just the Mexican-Americans. When (if, really) the USMNT regularly achieves a higher world ranking than Mexico, the choices may be different. I'm 5 or more generations removed from Ireland, yet retain strong affection for that land. But Zidane chose France; it's complicated. If it's a generational issue, the more quickly and gracefully the immigration issues are solved, the better.

  37. Chris Sapien , March 28, 2013 at 2:44 p.m.

    Except, we have politicians making those decisions Charles.......and their focus is the next election (and how to tap a perceived voter block).....not, soccer....

  38. David Mont, March 28, 2013 at 3 p.m.

    Chris, you're right of course. I've lived it myself as well.

  39. Karl Ortmertl, March 28, 2013 at 7:53 p.m.

    I stand by Donovan being a great player. The fact that he's come out of the US soccer system and became the player he is is truly remarkable - he's a soccer genius. He certainly didn't learn any of his game from US coaches and peers. He's had a roller coaster career, but that's because of the exceptionality of it all. He wasn't brought up in a soccer loving nation where there was the built in support and he's had to carry this team on his shoulders for a decade because there wasn't anybody else. Considering what he's had to overcome to get to being the player that he is - is great.

  40. James Froehlich, March 28, 2013 at 7:59 p.m.

    First, some comments on this site, Soccer America ---Over the past year I have arrived at the opinion that the major columnists, PG included, have all either taken other jobs and lost interest in writing or else have decided that naive or outright stupid commentary suits the purposes of this site better than actual reporting and analysis because it creates more posts from the readership (as someone noted above). Based on that opinion, I have taken to scanning the articles, usually bogus or inane, and then concentrating on the posts. SA has a long history but if they don't improve the quality of their analyses and the diversity of their topics ( as mentioned by Ric F above) they will soon become victims of their own ineptness.
    SECOND, regarding the snow storm, get over it, Snow happens!! It was hardly a conspiracy of JK and US Soccer (Paul, paranoia is the first indication of dementia!!)
    THIRD, JK's performance. I firmly believe that JK considers one of his objectives to be the improvement and increased size of the national player pool. However, just a split second's reflection (an impossible task for some of you) would tell any reasonable person that this is not a task to be accomplished in 20 months while attempting at the same time to qualify for the WC. I am positively amazed when people have the naivete -- yes naivete -- to write statements accusing JK of failing to develop an attacking team. I'm sorry but totally IGNORING the time factor, plus the injury factor, plus the "absolute necessity" to qualify seems to me like willful ignorance or just plain delusion.
    FINALLY, immigration. If anybody hasn't noticed, this is a soccer site, take your nationalist pride, your racism and go to another site. I could be more forgiving but the comments from both sides are ridiculous. They remind me of the fact that over 120 years ago we had a political party called the "Know-nothings". Most of you would fit nicely into that group. ------------ Hopefully I've P O' d everybody.

  41. Charles O'Cain, March 28, 2013 at 8:52 p.m.

    James: I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive our digressions. Perhaps it would be helpful for the rest of us if you would (after each article is published) post a list of the specific points (if any) you feel are worthy of comment, and perhaps just what those comments might be. Then the rest of us might marvel at your insights, as I have here. How were we to know that there was no nationalistic pride to be invested in the USMNT? As for the Know Nothings (160 years ago), they were anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic, and anti-German, inviting only Protestant males of British ancestry. But you knew that.

  42. James Froehlich, March 28, 2013 at 11:40 p.m.

    Charles, If you can't tell that this is a soccer discussion site without my help, then I'm afraid there isn't much I can do for you. BTW Isn't Wikipedia grand??? Have a good life!

  43. beautiful game, March 29, 2013 at 9:43 a.m.

    When the kick and run mentality stops at the U-8 level; training has purpose, technical ability takes precedence, and college soccer reinvents itself, it will remain samo-samo

  44. Rick Potts, March 29, 2013 at 10:53 a.m. is one big sales pitch. You have to sell yourself to the woman you want to marry. You have to sell youself to a potential employer. You have to sell the idea to your parents that you can stay out all night. And you, my friend had to sell somebody at Soccer America that you know what you are talking about and that you can write relevnat articles about soccer. Pull that elitest English soccer attitude out of your bum. You have not sold me that you are worthy of any additional reads after this last effort......

  45. Bill Anderson, March 29, 2013 at 12:29 p.m.

    The author has run out of ideas, kinda like the Mexicans in the final third.

  46. James Froehlich, March 29, 2013 at 1:48 p.m.

    Bill A --The difference is that the Mexicans, like Spain will come back.

  47. Chris Sapien , March 29, 2013 at 4:01 p.m.

    come back to what?? Mexico won't even play the majority of their games in their own country.......

  48. Kent James, March 29, 2013 at 10:23 p.m.

    Bill A., touché. James F, you've made many thoughtful posts, and I often agree with them, but I think that sometimes things that happen off the field can have a big impact on the field (immigration and culture being two of them), so I have to disagree with the idea that such subjects should not be discussed on a soccer site like this. I will agree that sometimes such posts do detract, especially when they get into name-calling, race-baiting, etc. So I would hope that people introducing such subjects keep that in mind. As for JK, he has two main missions, and sometimes they conflict. Be competitive now, and develop players for the future. The last two games were not about soccer development; they were about getting points in difficult situations. I think JK has proven that he can field competitive teams. As for the 2nd goal, although many people have high hopes for him, I'm not sure he has the power (or the longevity) to have as big an impact as we'd like, and I think he's definitely sacrificed this goal on occasion in order to be competitive (recruiting so many German Americans, many of whom would probably have played for Germany had they be able to, is an example of this). We can't leave it up to JK to change the quality of the player pool, that has to come from hard work at the grass roots (emphasizing skill, futsal, etc.). That's on us.

  49. James Froehlich, March 30, 2013 at 12:07 p.m.

    Kent -- good points!! My patience wears thinner as I age.

  50. Kent James, March 30, 2013 at 10:57 p.m.

    James, I know the feeling...

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