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:
"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.