Reality of Klinsmann's '11-month season'

Jurgen Klinsmann reiterated his "wish" that MLS adopt an 11-month season "like the rest of the world." The U.S. national team coach has been critical of the fitness level and commitment of some of his players in January camp.

Fox Sports 1: Klinsmann interview

"What happens here is that maybe soccer is not as far yet as American football, baseball, basketball where athletes in their offseason basically go then specifically in their own preparation before they join the preseason with their professional teams," he said in an interview with Fox Sports on Wednesday. "We don't have that culture yet. The MLS season goes nine months, and they should take a month off but then they should then go back to preparing themselves for their next year."

Klinsmann said "a couple of guys" didn't do that and were "looking a little bit shaky right now." His solution: "My wish is that the domestic league here, the MLS, is going to an 11-month season like the rest of the world. Just extending that season of MLS would solve my issue that I have right now but we're working on it."

The MLS extends from training camp in the end of January to the end of the regular season at the end of October, a period of nine months. For teams that reach the MLS Cup, the season extends another six weeks.

Without eliminating the playoffs and extending the season for all teams in December, MLS would be unable to come close to reaching Klinsmann's 11-month goal.

The actual offseason is longer for most European clubs. EPL clubs took off as long as two months between the end of the 2013-14 season on May 11 and the start of preseason camp in July. French clubs generally take shorter breaks with as little as five weeks off.

The MLS champion LA Galaxy had a shorter offseason than Bayern Munich, the German Cup champion, Arsenal, the FA Cup champion, and Real Madrid, the UEFA Champions League winner, the latter three being the clubs whose seasons were extended by cup finals.

Offseason of the champions:
Bayern Munich-German Cup (53 days): Last game: May 17; First practice: July 9.
Arsenal-FA Cup (51 days): Last game: May 18; First practice: July 8.
Real Madrid-Champions League (51 days): Last game: May 24; July 14.
LA Galaxy-MLS Cup: (47 days): Last game: Dec. 7; First practice: Jan. 23.

It should be noted that any change in offseason vacation would have to be approved in the collective bargaining agreement.

More generally, Klinsmann said MLS players lagged behind players in other American sports leagues and European soccer leagues in terms of the pressure to perform.

"At the end of the day," he said, "you are a little bit a child of your environment. And soccer is not there yet where the NFL or the NBA or the NHL are in terms of peer pressure. They don't have that same sense of accountability here in the U.S. that they would have in Europe.

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28 comments about "Reality of Klinsmann's '11-month season'".
  1. Mark Torguson, February 5, 2015 at 3:26 p.m.

    You can criticize American players for certain things in our game that fall short compared to major soccer nations, but criticizing fitness seems to be grasping at straws to explain a nine match winless streak. Why is Klinsimann trying to compare US Soccer to other US Sports, makes no sense. Get on with your job Klinsman and start winning us some matches

  2. David Trapp, February 5, 2015 at 3:33 p.m.

    I would have to agree with Mark on this one. Klinsmann always seems to be looking for excuses. American fans don't want to listen to excuses. Shut the heck up and go do your job Klinsmann!

  3. George Lenahan, February 5, 2015 at 3:33 p.m.

    Players are unable to do what their NFL, NBA and MLB counterparts do because in some places they are making about 1/100th of what those players are making and can't hire private coaches, chefs, massage therapists for everything they need to do and in some cases actually have to work - like the NFL, NBA and MLB players did prior to the 1980's.

  4. Glenn Maddock, February 5, 2015 at 4:11 p.m.

    This fitness issue is absurd. Our pro soccer players are the fittest athletes in the World. They literally never stop training. Match Fitness is another issue. That's up to Coaches getting them matches. Soccer should never be an 11 month season. Its a grueling sport mentally & physically, and you need 2 months off to regenerate yourself, or you'll just burn out players by the time they are 30.

  5. cony konstin, February 5, 2015 at 4:12 p.m.

    JK I have been coaching in the US for 40 years. We have always had good players in the US but we have never had any superstars like Pele, Messi or Best. The problem is not that we don't have good players. The problem is two fold. One that we don't have any great players and secondly the system needs radical change. You can complain until all you want but radical change is only going to come when we have new leadership and a 21st century master plan that is mandated and implemented. Soccer in the US is treated as a hobby and not a way of life. We need radical change to flip this approach to how we treat the beautiful game. How? It is simple we need 300,000 futsal courts in our inner cities and another 300,000 futsal courts in our suburbs. Our kids need a place to play 7 days a week, 365, for free, and with no adult interfence. The kids need a place that is theirs. Their own sanctuary. Futsal can be our version of street soccer. We need to get away from a coaching environment and create a total playing environment for our kids. We are creating robots and not magical warriors. It is time for you to stop complaining how much we suck and start to create solutions. I have been critical about US soccer for 40 years and thru those 40 years I have have done it for free. More coaching, fancy uniforms, coaching dvds, $300 cleats and other smoke n mirrors are not the solution. And please shut down the coaching program. We don't need more coaches. We need teachers and to be a teacher, lawyer, doctor or any other professional you need to go to school for 5 to 8 years. Again soccer in the US is a joke and it is not being taken seriously. Why? Just look around us. The pay to play model is an abomination. We need a REVOLUTION not more rethoric and finger pointing. It is time JK that you start thinking out of the box and start to be unorthox and radical by creating solutions that will really matter. Remember the game must come first and in the US the refs and coaches are more important than the players. We need to see the spectacular on the field of play. The field is a canvass and we need van goughs, Fridas, Davincis, Riveras, creating a masterpiece. JK we need a REVOLUTION!!!! in the US. Do you have the backbone to really shake things up? If not then move over and let someone else make the changes that we so desperately need. The real question is that if you do step down who will step up to really shake things up?

  6. Dave Kantor, February 5, 2015 at 4:32 p.m.

    The more I hear/see from Klinsy, the more I think he is not succeeding as USMNT coach and needs to go. I wouldn't mind seeing Bruce Arena back at the helm, but he probably doesn't want the job back.

  7. Bob Escobar, February 5, 2015 at 4:32 p.m.

    soccer in the US will NEVER be accepted by the general population of sport fans and media, football, basketball, baseball and hockey are US sport fans #1 priorities, soccer? started in the late 60s with immigrants being the only supporting fan base, then their kids, later on became a little bit more popular, especially when Pele and Beckenbauer came to the US to play in the NASL 1977-1982, since then, the US didn't have a pro league until 1996, the inaugural season...started with a few teams and since then, he MLS have flourished, but not the American player, we still don't have anyone that could be considered a world class player, so no stars, no respect. Will this trend ever change? doubt it, the soccer media is absolutely terrible, when you have someone like Alexis Lalas as a top US soccer commentator, we are in deep trouble, this guy is absolutely clueless when it comes to analysing a game, his clueless rhetorics are to laugh about it....but most American viewers can't tell the difference, only the well soccer educated viewer know the difference.

  8. Mark Torguson, February 5, 2015 at 4:39 p.m.

    One other thing that seems to go unnoticed a lot, only one American on Klini's staff, Tab Ramos. Wouldn't it make sense to have American assistants with deep knowledge of the MLS and its players?

  9. James Froehlich, February 5, 2015 at 4:55 p.m.

    Nothing happening here folks! Just keep on moving!!!
    Too much obsessing about the recent score lines which is par for the course for US fans! US fans and announcers are not interested in anything that happens outside the "18". But listen to the announcers and the fans in a la LIGA game and you will hear actual applause from fans when someone makes a great move or pass. And the announcers are constantly commenting on great passing, shielding, or dribbling!! We cry about getting a great World Class player some day but most fans wouldn't recognize one if he did suddenly appear! A player like Andres Iniesta would go totally unnoticed in the US because all of his brilliance is seen outside the "18".

    Professionalism and fitness go together but we are so enamored by our suburban, privileged professionals that we can't see how different they are in their attitude from athletes in other sports. And god forbid that a"foreigner" should come in and tell us that we need to "step it up".

  10. Dan Phillips, February 5, 2015 at 4:57 p.m.

    Klinsmann can't even do the math. Euro leagues quit in middle of May, and do not return until mid-August. That is 3 months. Hello! plus except for EPL Euro leagues take a winter break of almost a month. And, MLS starts pre season end of Jan/early Feb. So from early Dec. (end of MLS season) AND end of Jan. that is less than 2 month layoff. once again JK is full of it. We are all getting pretty tired of his rants. If he cannot stop his constant complaining and stick to coaching, he should just quit. Or fired.! time to get another coach!

  11. Zoe Willet, February 5, 2015 at 5:09 p.m.

    Please, DO get rid of the play-off system, the most utterly ridiculous, stupidest system imaginable! Then by all means tinker with the schedule, maybe go from Feb through mid-Nov, then off until mid -Jan? Two weeks to get organized.

  12. Fidel Colman, February 5, 2015 at 5:19 p.m.

    Cony Konstin is absolutely "right-on" what's necessary to have a great national team, but his fix is not one JK can resolve in the short run. However, I do agree that JK could you his current bully pulpit to make the point Cony made which is that we need less coaching of our our kids and more free places for kids to play soccer. All children playing the game should be allowed to have fun and be creative on the pitch without the fear of getting pulled off the field for attempting a bicycle kick that did not work. Maybe JK should looking in the adult rec leagues for some of the talent he seems to be missing. Get them fit to his liking & see what happens ;)

  13. James Madison, February 5, 2015 at 5:27 p.m.

    One can debate whether match fitness is a problem for the USMNT. However, medical authorities will tell you that professional athletes need a minimum of 30 days and preferrably 60 between seasons to let their bodies and minds heal from the stree of competition.

  14. Clayton Davis, February 5, 2015 at 5:28 p.m.

    More Klinsmann nonsense. The guy is needs to go. I'm sure he was a great player but in coaching he's out of his depth. I'd love to see him coach an MLS team(as long as it's not D.C. United) to see how he'd really do. I like Jason Kreis way too much for him to suffer at NYCFC. Klinsmann would be perfect for the team.

  15. Joe Linzner, February 5, 2015 at 7:07 p.m.

    Anyone who watched the losses lately, specifically Chile cannot deny that The US players died after 60 minutes. Having played and coached for more than 50 years I certainly saw lack of commitment, loss of technical ability and aa flatness in the stride of our players....Anyone who does not see that has no right to judge JK. That is a fact. Jozy High On the list of ineptness and the only one who actually maintained a level of condition and a commitment to keep trying...and yet he was heavily criticized...The American fan simply does not understand the game nor the requirements to become top flight . I for one am sick of the constant whining by nationalistic xenophobes....I do hope he takes the job and shoves it. Let America give the job to an American again and let the Blast and defend and blast and defend long ball game flourish........we deserve nothing better...Oh and I hope JK gives you shopworn platitudes all the American football and Baseball and athletic coaches give you daily. THE truth is apparently not wanted....

  16. Joe Linzner, February 5, 2015 at 7:10 p.m.

    OOPs Jozy, was High on the list of ineptness and lack of condition, SHOULD READ ....and the only one who actually maintained a level of condition and a commitment to keep trying...and yet he was heavily criticized

  17. Dan Phillips, February 5, 2015 at 7:11 p.m.

    Silly for JK to talk about US adopting Central Europe schedule. Cannot work. Midwest and Canada too cold. Just like Scandinavian and Russian leagues go same as MLS, March - early Dec. JK should stop his constant whining and stick to coaching, or just get out. Or maybe Gulati should just fire him. And maybe we can get a REAL coach that knows tactics!

  18. Joe Linzner, February 5, 2015 at 7:12 p.m.

    OH FORGET IT, .... WAS JERMAINE JONES,

  19. Dan Phillips, February 5, 2015 at 7:33 p.m.

    Time for US soccer to get another coach!

  20. Joe Linzner, February 5, 2015 at 7:54 p.m.

    of course DAN, and your choice?

  21. James Froehlich, February 5, 2015 at 8:22 p.m.

    Joe L -- step back, take a breath; it's not worth it. I'm drawn back to this site just like one is drawn to look at an accident! I avoid comments unless the story is so egregiously off-base that I can't stop myself. Unfortunately SA has become a backwater for xenophobes and AYSO professionals. Very sad that SA has totally failed to understand the move to a more professional soccer environment. Looking at the respondents, it's apparent that many of the old regulars are giving up.

  22. Nalin Carney, February 5, 2015 at 11:19 p.m.

    Will there be any cheese with Klinsmans whining? I know he likes living here....and moved his family here...so adapt, accept, accommodate. Welcome to America. If this doesn't work for you go back to europe.

  23. Futsal nation, February 6, 2015 at 12:16 a.m.

    James, agreed. Meanwhile all of our USA Youth teams are doing worse. SA seems to not care about that. But hey!! What did JK say agaian?? !!

  24. Greg Milton, February 6, 2015 at 9:15 a.m.

    Cony makes a good point. JK is saying fitness but he means his players are not good. I can tell you that many of the players on the US team would not hold their weight in many rec leagues. at a certain point these players are identified and put into a player pool but level out. Many players go unnoticed bc they cannot afford to be on the soccer Mom teams where the players are selected from. To overhaul it, US Soccer needs to go grass roots and select the best players. Not the one whose parents paid a ton of money for camp, but to get the best players. Football does that. If a kid is poor but is awesome , he gets a shot via high school. College pays his way and then he blossoms. With soccer, high school is ignored and bypassed. The coaches deal with clubs which are for profit organizations and kids are selected on whether their parents can pay fees and drive them all over plante earth. That leaves alot of great kids out the player pool. But to the point, if you play soccer in any major metro area, you can find any number of guys who can play better than the guys on the US team. Damarcus Beasely? Even Gonzalez almost scored an own goal? These guys are not the best the US has to offer and JK is just making any excuse to get the point across that the system is broken and it does not matter how the balme is assigned or defined, but the reality is that the system does not work past World Cup Qualifying where we can out muscle the Bermuda National team, only to get crushed by France, Denmark, Holland or any of the Euro / South American teams

  25. Ginger Peeler, February 6, 2015 at 1:44 p.m.

    You know, during JK's first year, our team didn't do all that well. But he smiled and nodded and didn't seem too concerned. And, after awhile, people started calling for his head. Then we played some games that really counted (not friendlies) and we were winning! And JK looked like a genius with the players he started and the subs! Most people liked him again. So, here we are again, losing friendlies, and people are calling for his head...again! I can agree that it looks bad, but it did once before. So, I say let him experiment with the new kids and the young, inexperienced players. Let him push his players out of their comfort zones. It's possible he'll receive excellent results when he puts his best team together in a game that counts.

  26. Joe Linzner, February 6, 2015 at 5:23 p.m.

    Mr Froehlich,
    Have taken your advice to heart.....shall bow out.....

  27. Walter Crawford, February 7, 2015 at 12:45 p.m.

    Jk is the best thing that happened to US Soccer. He is dedicated, hard working and gives US Soccer credibility. He has played the game at the highest level and know what needs to be done. The fact that there are so many critical statements indicates the progress International Football has made in the American sports arena. Keep crying complaining and gripping it is good for the sport.

  28. Futsal nation, February 7, 2015 at 4:54 p.m.

    Walter, I like your points and your right.

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