Commentary

Mystery surrounds Hugo Perez's USSF status

By Paul Gardner

A strange business, this Hugo Perez affair. He is no longer the coach of the U.S. U-15 boys national team. The USSF has -- well, what has it done? Fired him? No, not that. Perez is still a full-time Technical Advisor to the USSF.

What then? We are told -- that is, Tab Ramos, the national U-20 coach, has told us -- that “Hugo is a great coach.” I have no doubt whatever that Ramos believes that to be so. At least, Ramos has told me personally how much he values Perez as an assessor of young talent.

So there are obvious questions. Why is Perez, so highly valued, out as the U-15 coach? And why would it have to be Ramos who told him the bad news? And why did the USSF not issue a press release on the move, explaining the whys and wherefores? That would be normal practice, particularly when dealing with someone who, to quote Ramos again, the USSF is “committed to.”

There are, says Ramos, structural changes afoot in the national youth program, and the Perez move is merely one part of them. Well now. Changes in the national program must mean the involvement of Jurgen Klinsmann. And where I have faith in anything that Ramos tells us about the good of the program, I have no such faith -- in fact, no faith at all -- in anything that Klinsmann might tell us.

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Round about the time that the Perez news leaked out, I happened by chance to catch a tape of an earlier interview with Klinsmann. A thoroughly disturbing experience. Here was Klinsmann congratulating his team, but mostly himself, on their World Cup run (no better that what Bob Bradley had achieved, less than Bruce Arena) and gushing out a deluge of motivational cliches, a stream of executive drivel.

The sheer vapidity of what Klinsmann was saying was alarming. This talking head that sounded like a huckster ... this is our national team coach? Nothing here to inspire confidence in sound judgment.

So just what is the meaning of this youth re-organization -- undoubtedly Klinsmann-approved, if not Klinsmann-inspired? Why would Perez be ousted? Was he proving to be lousy coach? Nobody -- least of all Ramos -- is saying that. So why? Consider: only two years ago, Richie Williams became the first coach in history to fail to qualify the USA for the U-17 World Cup. A string of 14 consecutive appearances -- starting with the very first edition of the tournament in 1985 - was broken. But Williams is still the U-17 coach. What on earth can Perez have done to merit dismissal?

The complicating factor here is that Perez is the most Latino of all the USSF coaches, the one who shows the most faith in Latino players. One is entitled to wonder how much support such a coach might get from Klinsmann, who in four years has shown only a lukewarm interest in recruiting Latino players.

We shall, presumably, know all shortly. We are to expect an announcement from the USSF “in the near future” detailing all the changes. Obviously the USSF has made a hash of this. What was the hurry in demoting Perez when the announcement (and, by implication, the changes) were not ready to be announced?

And, however much praise that announcement may heap on Perez, it will be viewed as just so much hypocrisy should Perez receive anything less than an obvious promotion. And it is mighty difficult to see where there might be openings for Perez -- who makes no secret of his desire to become a pro-level coach -- to advance up the USSF coaching ladder.

33 comments about "Mystery surrounds Hugo Perez's USSF status".
  1. Kevin Kelly, September 8, 2014 at 4:40 p.m.

    I wonder how Bedoya, Gonzales, Orozco, Morales, Gil, et. al. feel about that comment? I am sure they would be shocked that they aren't Latino.

  2. cisco martinez, September 8, 2014 at 4:45 p.m.

    I do not know if Klinsmann doesn't like Hugo Perez because of Latino based players. I do know that Sunil Gulati has given Klinsmann unlimited access and ability to change the National team and youth systems as he sees fit, which is unprecedented from previous coaches. In fact, that is one reason why Klinsmann left Bayern Munich because he did not have command of the youth system and also Bayern Munich's picking of players.

  3. Basil Jach, September 8, 2014 at 4:48 p.m.

    I'm tired of your Latino BS Germany won the world cup not Spain, not Argentina, not Brazil.... Klinsman can pick whatever coaches and style he feels more comfortable with.

  4. Allan Lindh, September 8, 2014 at 5:03 p.m.

    Dear Mr Gardner. Did you watch the USMNT vs the Czech Republic? Did you notice how many young players were on the field? Did you notice how many of them were Latino? Did you notice how well they moved the ball in the first half? Do you think that so many young players who had the option to play for other countries would be playing for the US today, were it not for the reputation and appeal of JK? We all know the guy ain't perfect, leaving LD home was exceeding stupid, but we all make mistakes. Quit whining.

  5. Daniel Clifton, September 8, 2014 at 5:38 p.m.

    I am not sure where Gardner gets this idea that Klinsmann is against Latino players or coaches. After all Tab Ramos is a Latino coach, who plays a very aggressive possession oriented game, and Klinsmann has obviously put alot of faith in Ramos. Klinsmann gave long looks to Castillo, Orozco, and Corona, although they did not make the WC team. Corona is young enough to figure big in this next cycle. I also have some problems with the way Gardner says he cannot trust anything Klinsmann says. I don't see Klinsmann as that much of a dissembler. He appears to me to be somewhat upfront. I agree with his assessment that Bruce Arena went further and Bob Bradley got to the same level. However Klinsmann got the team out of a very tough group, which is not comparable to 2010. I believe Klinsmann's decision to not bring a second target forward really messed up his plan or to fail to come up with an alternative plan with the players he had rather than sticking with a formation that required a target man he didn't have, and that is where he let his team down. To me that is where Donovan's criticism was on point. Leaving Donovan off the team turned out to be a really flawed decision however Klinsmann has described it in the past and now. I think the future is bright under Klinsmann. He is not perfect, but who is.

  6. Santiago 1314, September 8, 2014 at 6:39 p.m.

    @Paul Gardner,,,Your a Little Late on this one...**RE-POST** from''commented on: August 28, 2014 at 9:47 a.m.
    What a Great Person is Hugo... From Playing Racquet Ball with a Newbie, to having to Black Out his Puma shoes, Hugo was always a Class Act.. And Talent??? He did cause a Riot, that almost Burned Down the Stadium, in El Salvador!!!... But, He was not Really the "Type A" Coach Prospect/Personality... And Certainly NOT in the USSF Coaching Style("Play The Way Your Facing","One Touch, Don't Dribble","Run Harder/Faster,Think Less")... I Doubted that he would see Eye-to-Eye with Klinsmann... Hopefully, Hugo will still be able to Teach some of our Young players somewhere ... Watch Out Tab, your Next... Buena Suerte Mi Amigo..**AND++**commented on: August 29, 2014 at 9:25 a.m.
    @BJ.. Hugo WAS THE SHAKE UP!!!... Almost all Latino Team.. Ya Think maybe someone above him didn't like it???**AND++**1. commented on: August 29, 2014 at 10:40 a.m.
    Somebody say CYA??? Does anyone really think Tab made this call... Technical Director NORTHWEST??? Is this a Newly created Position, or did someone Else get "Bumped"??? I haven't been in the Great Northwest in awhile... Don't remember their being a Large Latino Population up there.humm!?!?!?.. Still doesn't add up to me... Maybe Hugo lives up there now???*** JUST SAYING *** Latino's on "A" team??? Bedoya, Gonzalez,. Neither of Which Play any kind of Latino Style...

  7. Brian Something, September 8, 2014 at 7:31 p.m.

    Bill J: Germany did win the World Cup. But the US has a lot more Latino players to choose from than German players. Though I suppose Saint Klinsmann is trying to change that.

  8. Brian Something, September 8, 2014 at 7:32 p.m.

    I'm not anti-Klinsmann. I'm anti-canonization of Klinsmann until he accomplishes worthy of canonization. Though I do wish he'd do a little less admiring of the sound of his own voice.

  9. Santiago 1314, September 8, 2014 at 8:32 p.m.

    @Brian,,,You are Correct about those that Would "Canonize" Klinsmann..Least we forget some Reasons...I **RE-POST**,,commented on: September 3, 2014 at 11:21 p.m..."I liked to hear that JK agrees with ME… we Could have//SHOULD HAVE, at Least, gone to the Semi-Finals in Brazil*** RE-POST,,,commented on: July 7, 2014 at 12:32 a.m…”” The "IFs" DO matter, "IF" you are Spending MILLIONS of Dollars on Games and Training Camps and paying a Coach MILLIONS of Dollars, and he Drops People off the Team because of "Control" Issues (Boyd, Donovan, E. Johnson)...Then we get Wondo, instead of Eddie or Landon sitting on the 6, for an easy Tap-In...Wondo is the Epitome of "The Peter Principle"(He rose to the Level of his Incompetency ) Not really his Fault, why do you think he was so easily Traded by Dynamo, We saw him miss those chances, Year, After Year, AFTER YEAR!!!...TICOS did do Better than USA, Never said they didn't... Shows what a Coach, who takes His Inferior Talent, and BELIEVES THAT HE CAN WIN, Can instill In His Players... With the Poor Quality(Mundane, Average ability )of players in this World Cup, Even Costa Rica, could have Won It.. What "IF"JK had not taken the "Spunk" out of Dempsey, by Isolating him to the Lone Ranger Forward, (Something Dempsey is not suited to; Physically or Psychologically)...JK F@cked up Dempsey's Mindset and He went "Houdini " as you so aptly Described it... But again, those of us who have watched Clint, since he was 12, could have told you how to Shut Him Down...Don't let him see the ball, and he will Pout and Shut Down, and Become Disinterested... Shame, that it was our Own MILLION dollar Coach that did it to him... Waste of a Truly Gifted Talent.. All because JK didn't bring a SUB for Jozy, Probably because he was afraid that Jozy(another Pouter) Would have had his "Feelings" Hurt... THE "IFs" Do Matter, "IF" you could have snuck in The Backdoor, and Won a World Cup, devoid of Quality... Costa Rica almost did it with a "HIGH SCHOOL" Offside Trap... But JK couldn't even anticipate that Lukaku was going to run over Besler...2 days before the game, I was posting,in here, that Brooks, should start over Besler... “” *** I am Just waiting for the Apology, from JK, for Leaving off Donovan and Boyd, Then I will Totally Forgive him..." BUT as Gardner Pointed Out...JK is a Stuck on Himself JERK!!! Don't Believe me,?? See Next RE-POST...

  10. Santiago 1314, September 8, 2014 at 8:33 p.m.

    *RE-POST**commented on: July 10, 2014 at 10:54 a.m...from Jurgen Klinsmann in article by Randy Harvey of the Houston Chronicle Sports..7/10/14 pgC1&3….”It makes them feel accountable, not just walk away with a bad performance and nothing happens,” he said. “If you have a bad performance, then people should approach you and tell you that, to make sure that next game is not bad anymore and you step it up.”… The Article is about the National Humiliation that Brazil feels and How (THE USA PLAYERS) don’t have that kind of pressure…***JURGEN*** FIRST, YOU Parked the Bus In-Front of the Goal(Didn’t BELIEVE USA Could Win)… THEN, YOU Re-Arranged the Chairs on the TITANIC(No Sub for Jozy)…and NOW, YOU are Throwing the Players OUT of the Bus, for the Dogs to Eat…<<< THROW YOURSELF OUT >>>…OH, but Knowing you, You will Take a Helicopter Ride Off the Top of the Bus, so you don’t have to face the Wolves…I was for Keeping You, Hoping you would Learn some Humility…But Asking for Fans to Accost the Players and Frighten them into Better Performance!?!?!?…WHAT AN ARROGANT, JERK, PRICK, You are !!!!...What a Hypocrite!!!…YOU Left Germany because YOU couldn’t take the Magnifying Glass that YOU were under and because YOU liked the anonymity that Athletes have in the USA… NOW YOU WANT TO HAVE THE FANS DO YOUR JOB !!!… <<<< Come on SUNIL… Enough is Enough…GET RID OF HIM!!!! >>>> THIS IS AMERICA!!! and WE BELIEVE WE CAN WIN and WE CAN DO IT OUR WAY… so PISS OFF back to Germany…Oh, They don’t want you their either…!!!

  11. Al Gebra, September 8, 2014 at 8:37 p.m.

    There's already a hint out as to the direction JK is going to take re the US youth program. Back on July 2nd I wrote a comment to Paul Gardner. t the time, I thought I was being facetious. Part of it read:

    “Where I think JK went wrong is that he didn't look hard enough for other foreign players with US genes other than the Germans. The US military is deployed in 150 countries around the world. We could have put together a team completely made up of only half-Americans. Then we could scrub the US youth development system and put the money elsewhere. Like hiring scouts to scour the 4 corners of the earth for top players.”
    Then on Sept 3rd, there was an article in Soccer America headlined: US COACH HAS MORE DUAL NATIONALS ON RADAR. JK stated, "Have we identified all those kids in England or Germany or Argentina or wherever? Yes. Are we in contact with them? Yes..."
    Go back and read the whole article. Just Google the above headline "US COACH...ON RADAR"

  12. Santiago 1314, September 8, 2014 at 10:18 p.m.

    @AL,,,BINGO !!! At least JK, has seen the Deficiencies in the "Pay for Play" System...No Play-Makers and No Dribblers...Maybe we can Find a Messi out there...Some little Pesky "Un-American" Looking AMERICAN...Playing Faster, Stronger, Can only Take you so far...(Unless you are Germany)...90% percent of the teams at WC, were on the Same Level. That is why JK, said we should have made it to the Semi's.

  13. BJ Genovese, September 9, 2014 at 12:25 a.m.

    Al Gebra, interesting take. I would like to hear more about this. I do know that Hugo was very pro Latino players. Just look at his BNT rosters. But in the area of Norcal (SAC) (SFO) (SJV) there is a strong Latino culture and kids that see the game as a serious opportunity to make there lives and there families lives better if they work hard. I think he may have fell short though in the scouting area by being so baised. There was still alot of talent in this age group across the country for whatever resasons.

  14. Santiago 1314, September 9, 2014 at 6:50 a.m.

    @BJ...Hugo has actually been the US National Coach for at Least 3 years,NOT Technical Director for NORCAL area..If he was Holding TC's only for this area, then maybe that is why he was "Reassigned"...Is NORCAL, Considered part of the area covered by USSF NORTHWEST Technical Director???(Hugo's New Position).. I Don't know, I Doubt it... More like,Oregon,Wash.,Montana,Utah,Idaho and I don't know, (hohoho)Oh, and Don't Forget about the RADAR Stations IN ALASKA!!! **Banishment**, Plain and Simple...

  15. Basil Jach, September 9, 2014 at 7:44 a.m.

    In my opinion J Klinsmann should get rid of all the youth national coaches they seem privileged because of there association with the 90's World Cup team haven't accomplished anything, he should go to the German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish Academy's hire there best talents they seem to be doing it right.

  16. Soccer Logic, September 9, 2014 at 12:47 p.m.

    Jacquin, Spain won it 4 years ago so still revelant. Of the 8 Finalists 4 were hispanic. Brazil and Argentina are alwasy favorites in any countrty. Sure, klins can pick whatever he is more comfortable with but fact is Latinos are amongst the strongest pool in USA Soccer. It seems he is looking for more and more germans to play for USA with USA ties.

  17. Soccer Logic, September 9, 2014 at 12:48 p.m.

    Allan, I dont think too many young players on USA squad are getting opportunities to play for other countries.

  18. Soccer Logic, September 9, 2014 at 12:51 p.m.

    Daniel, the group USA got out of was not such a tough group after all. Ghana imploded as they usually do and Portugal was a bust big time. They just lost to Albania dude. Lets be realistic here. USa did not play even well. Bunkering in front of the goal is not a step forward for us. Its actually a step backward regardless of a few favorable results or an "almost pulled it off" game vs better quality competition. USA lost in the very next round as would have happened to Ghana or Portugal had they gone through. That makes that group actually the weakest of them all.

  19. Peter Skouras, September 9, 2014 at 4:04 p.m.

    The entire system in the United States is "glorified amateurism!" Period! The United States has players...millions of them but cannot and will not develop with the domestic structure in place.Impossible. Also, Coaching is below standard. Advise to youngsters who have dreams and gifts whose parents derive from foreign lands? Find your way to clubs outside the United States or better yet, "get and education in US Colleges!" Integrity in US Soccer??? None! Zero! With Perez it is sad, however, that is Soccer in America! Dog eat dog for a few $$$! The epitome of Amateurism! Good luck Hugo!

  20. Jimmy Paul, September 9, 2014 at 6:26 p.m.

    So ask one question. If Northern California has such good identifiers of talent why did Tommy Thompson never get recommended to the YNT program until this year with the U20's? He has been the best 95 player in the country for the past 5 years. He is a known entity to Nor Cal scouts and yet they never would recommend him to the camps. That is a question worth answering

  21. Paul Lorinczi, September 9, 2014 at 8:27 p.m.

    Jimmy Paul - good question. Tommy Thompson looks like a potential world class player for US. Not sure if Mark Watson is the best coach for him.

  22. Soccer Logic, September 9, 2014 at 9:42 p.m.

    Jimmy, greta question. I encourage many more to ask the same of other players that are being looked over around the USA. I can gaurantee you there are many as I know of a few.

  23. Soccer Logic, September 9, 2014 at 9:43 p.m.

    Did you guys know that the last 2 World Cup winners, Spain and Germany, are comprised of players that were all but maybe 1-2 were identified at U17-U18 with at least 3-4 of youth National team experience. Netherlands the same. Coincidence??

  24. BJ Genovese, September 9, 2014 at 11:05 p.m.

    How big is Tommy Thompson. Was he a late bloomer. The US scouting system is set up to identify heavily at u12 u13 u14 with the TC's. But if they are not strong at this point they are typicaal cast out and never brough back for another look maybe after they grow physically. They say they keep them in there Data Base but I think its a one shot deal and many kids that are fully grown by u14 stay in the system.

  25. R2 Dad, September 10, 2014 at 12:53 a.m.

    Tommy T was never spotted because he grew up in BFE Loomis. Scouts are lazy. No big club there, though Sac has a very competitive soccer environment. Plus, he's small, and all "good" scouts know forwards are 5'11 or bigger. They look to see if the kid migrated to Mustang or Sporting or Earthquakes DA teams, since that's Northern California in their books. So, surprise, surprise, no one spotted him. At least he got to college and improved his visibility--most equally talented hispanics never get that far.

  26. Soccer Logic, September 10, 2014 at 9:05 a.m.

    R2, very true. Many many very very good Hispanics never get seen because of limted college hopes. System is bad for non USSDA players and worst if they are Hispanic.

  27. Santiago 1314, September 10, 2014 at 9:36 a.m.

    @R2, Soccer Logic,,, Exactamente !!! Especially with the limited number of Men's Scholarships... Hard to find the Hispanic kids with the Educational Background and the Soccer Background to invest your limited resources in... But Mexico and El Salvador seem to know how to find them.. I'm surprised that Guatemala and Honduras haven't been as successful... And USSF, seems to be letting them slip through the cracks,,, Que Pena.. I thought Mexico looked pretty Dynamic and Technical last night vs Bolivia... Man!!! If USA could just find someway to Mix all the Forza and Fortitude with the Cleverness and Technique we could Rule This Game!!!

  28. Soccer Logic, September 10, 2014 at 10:57 a.m.

    Santiago, not that hard to do. Media makes it seem likes its so far away. All the excuses in the world are read here. "The world has a big head start on us", "it's impossible to scout the entire country, too big", etc. Meanwhile, programs like Alianza are showing how exactly its supposed to be done. FREE TRYOUTS in major cities. The Pro MX Scouts come out to watch these kids play. They make a National selection. As long as ODP has existed your tellingmme they still cant come up with this formula that Alianza has achieved through sponsors in a few years?? Greedy?? I would say that the system is being kept flawed purposely.

  29. BJ Genovese, September 11, 2014 at 12:52 a.m.

    Wait a second,,, is this Tommy T related to Gregg Thompson? The US former US national team player?

  30. Amos Annan, September 11, 2014 at 8:26 a.m.

    Klinsmann has it right. Perez was favoring latino players to the exclusion of others and was not providing the kind of players that would move up to the national team. Very simple.

  31. Albert Harris, September 11, 2014 at 10:16 a.m.

    So, Amos...you're saying the national team scouting program was favoring Hispanic players over Euro-Americans?
    Wow, congrats on being the first (and I suspect the only) commentator to notice that. Well done. (Irony alert)

  32. cony konstin, September 26, 2014 at 1:09 p.m.

    In the end players win championships not coaches. We are lacking magical players that can make something out of nothing. Our players are predictable and robotic. It doesn't matter if they have Euro or Latino heritage. They are all growing up in an environment where football is not a way of life. We need to create an environment where football creates players naturally. The only place that we can make that happen is in our inner cities. We need 300,000 futsal courts where kids can play 24/7 365 3 to 5 hours a day, for free, starting at the of 4 or 5 and with no adults involve. This is only the first phase. We will will need a few more phases. But when all of this happens then one day not only will we have magical players, win a world cup but most importantly the world will finally respect us. Meanwhile hire what ever coach, bring in MLS, German or other Euro / Americans players into the national team. I am sorry to say but you just can't make chicken soup with chicken @@@t. Yes US soccer has come along way but we have along way to go and the way we are going is the wrong direction. We need radical change. We need a revolution. I propose again that Soccer America create a symposium to bring together unorthodox and radical thinkers to help change football/soccer in the USA. The status quo will never change. They have become dinosaurs and complacent. We need new leadership and a master plan to blast us into the 21st century. $300 cleats, coaching dvds, nice uniforms, turf fields, coaching licenses, tournaments and other gimmicks and smoke n mirrors have taken us to the edge of the promise land. It is time to go into the promise land and that will take courage, vision, and a new way. Enough of German, Spanish, Brazilian and Dutch ways. We need to create our own WAY. I call it the USONIAN WAY. And our style is JAMBALAYA!!!! It is time for a soccer REVOLUTION is the US.

  33. Jimmy Paul, October 12, 2014 at 12:33 p.m.

    BJ Genovese
    commented on: September 11, 2014 at 12:52 a.m.
    Wait a second,,, is this Tommy T related to Gregg Thompson? The US former US national team player?

    yes he is the son of Gregg Thompson and Tommy Thompson has been the best player n the 95 age group in Nor Cal since he was 11. He was in the DA with Placer and San Juan for a year. He was known and recommended several times by several different people to the youth national teams. Those recommendations were disregarded for whatever reason. Jordan Morris was also disregarded by the same TA. Now look at both players. We have a problem if those types of players are being recommended and those recommendations are being disregarded

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