Olympic debacle proves Klinsmann shouldn't be in charge

By Mike Woitalla

Coach Andi Herzog failed to qualify the U.S. U-23 men’s national team for the 2016 Olympic Games.

It’s not the first time the Austrian has failed to qualify a team for a major tournament.

His first head-coaching job came in 2009 with Austria’s U-21s, who didn’t make it to the 2011 U-21 European Championship.

Herzog, Austria’s most capped player, started his coaching career as Austria’s assistant coach, a position he held for two years before taking over the U-21s. Their campaign to qualify for the 2013 U-21 European Championship under Herzog started with five points from five games – dooming them again in qualification.

So how did a man with such a meager coaching resume from a soccer minnow nation end up coaching the U.S. team that desperately needed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics after having failed four years earlier?

That, of course, is a ridiculously rhetorical question because you already know the answer: Jurgen Klinsmann.

Herzog was hired in 2011 by his former Bayern Munich teammate as assistant coach for the national team.

“I’ve been connected with Klinsmann for years with a close friendship and enter my new role with great confidence,” said Herzog upon his 2011 hiring.

Klinsmann has made no secret of the fact that he turned down the U.S. coaching job in 2006 and 2010 because the U.S. Soccer Federation didn’t meet his demands of control far beyond coaching the national team. In 2011, Klinsmann was finally satisfied with the USSF’s offer. And in December 2013, he got a four-year contract extension at some $3 million a year and the added role of Technical Director -- even more power over American soccer.

In July 2014, Herzog got a four-year contract renewal, and Klinsmann put him in charge of the Olympic campaign.

On Tuesday, we saw how that turned out. Herzog’s team melted down in a 2-1 loss to Colombia in Texas, with two players red-carded – and it could have easily been four.

A disgraceful performance from the players, but how can one expect disciplined players from an undisciplined coach? Herzog himself was ejected during the USA’s loss to Honduras last October in Utah in the game the USA should have won to clinch an Olympic berth on its own turf in its own region.

But Herzog failed. And failed again against Colombia.

The Federation has allowed Klinsmann to hire whomever he wants, which has included minor league German coach Matthias Hamann and Klinsmann’s former Germany coach Berti Vogts, an admirable man in many respects, but unsuccessful with all four of the national teams he coached outside of Germany.

In the Herzog case, the German press reported it as Klinsmann hiring his “kumpel” -- his buddy.

If you’re paid a hell of a lot of money to be in charge of a major organization, and you hire a buddy for a very important job at a high salary, and it doesn’t work out, you’ve lost a whole lot of credibility.

45 comments about "Olympic debacle proves Klinsmann shouldn't be in charge".
  1. Edgar Soudek, March 31, 2016 at 1:50 p.m.

    So true!
    Klinsmann of course should have been dismissed the moment he left Landon Donovan off the US World Cup 2014 roster out of spite and jealousy.
    Austria lucked out by ommitting Herzog from consideration for coaching their
    national team, and getting the Swiss Koller instead - Koller promptly took an underdog Austrian team to victories over Russia and Sweden, and a first place in its group in the European Eliminatories for France 2016.
    It won't happen of course, but if Klinsmann and Herzog had even the smallest grain of integrity and honesty they would resign...

  2. Raymond Weigand, March 31, 2016 at 1:59 p.m.

    hahaha ... if you can't get Juergen fired then let's write hatchet fluff for fun.

  3. Bob Ashpole, March 31, 2016 at 2 p.m.

    USSF has replaced coaches with less failures than this.

  4. beautiful game, March 31, 2016 at 2:08 p.m.

    Wrong person to blame. The USSF with Gulati make the choices. They have failed in properly vetting the coach and not organizing and funding total soccer development across the country. This finger pointing exercise has no merit whatsoever. Look at the talent pool, ankle deep.

  5. Kenneth Barr, March 31, 2016 at 2:10 p.m.

    It's very easy to put the full blame on Klinsmann and Herzog and they do have to shoulder their share of responsibility. However, absolutely nothing is said of the NCAA's continued refusal to play the game by the rules the rest of the world uses at all levels of competition. To say Klinsmann has full control is not accurate so long as the NCAA has a substantial role in player development. Either they adopt the Laws of the Game (FIFA's title) and junk their absurd practices of rotational substitutions, time outs and other irregularities or US Soccer must put together their own development program independent of the NCAA. Of course, this will take a lot of time and probably won't reap any benefits for at least a generation but the NCAA must be knocked of of its perch.

  6. Tim Boul replied, March 31, 2016 at 2:28 p.m.

    You're kidding right? You want to blame the NCAA, an organization that has nothing to do with U.S Soccer, an organization that is not controlled by U.S Soccer? While you're at it, why not blame the NHL for taking soccer playing hockey players away? I mean you see NHL players warm-up juggling soccer balls each game so you know they have some skills. If U.S Soccer really wants to try a power play, why not tell players that they are not allowed to play college ball at all if they want to be in the National Team pool, just like they are not allowing high school players to play HS ball. Try that power play and see how that works out for US Soccer. If JK and US Soccer is not responsible now, I would simple ask one question: "Going forward, what result(s) are we allowed to use as a benchmark to determine success or failure?" Because so far, IMO, nothing on the men's side has succeeded and the future doesn't look the brightest.

  7. Raymond Weigand replied, March 31, 2016 at 2:39 p.m.

    The NCAA Cycle subbing process kills the need for fitness / team offense / team defense / kills the rhythm of the game.

  8. R K replied, March 31, 2016 at 3:16 p.m.

    100% agree with this.

  9. Scott Johnson replied, March 31, 2016 at 3:50 p.m.

    Better yet--each player who joins the DA is given a stipend, and required to accept it, thereby forfeiting their amateur status and NCAA elibility. :)

  10. Ric Fonseca replied, March 31, 2016 at 10:41 p.m.

    Mr. Barr: As a former NCAA Coach of some years ago, I completely fail to see just how the NCAA is to shoulder the blame for the current US debacle in Frisco, Tex! Although you do have a point about the organization's refusal to play the game according to international rules, I just don't understand where you actually come off saying this!?!?

  11. Al Gebra replied, April 1, 2016 at 12:27 p.m.


    Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that the college soccer programs and coaches have a large say on the rules of soccer in US colleges. I remember reading way back where it was stated that the late U Conn coach Joe Morrone was one who pushed hard for the current rules re the clock, subs, etc.

    On another note, the biggest responsibility a national team coach has is picking the right players. In the US, we have many good players that JK has chosen to ignore. JK should have taken note of what Miguel Herrera did when he was hired to rescue a failing Mexico World Cup bid. His plan was simple and brilliant. He selected, intact, his 4 defensive backfield players from Club America and built the team around them. Each player was not necessarily the best defensive players in Mexico but as a unit they were outstanding.

  12. Ginger Peeler replied, April 1, 2016 at 1:05 p.m.

    Yes. The sum is greater than its parts!

  13. Allan Lindh, March 31, 2016 at 2:10 p.m.

    Except Jurgen Littleman has no credibility left to lose. Should have been fired two years ago, should have been fired last summer, the guys a complete joke. The backline he put out against Guatemala last Friday should have sealed the deal. But no point in railing against his obvious inadequacy, the problem is clearly at USSF. Who picks those guys? How do we get rid of those guys? For Heaven's sake, we pay the bills. We buy the tickets, we pay the cable TV fees. How do we get rid of those incompetent clowns?

  14. ROBERT BOND, March 31, 2016 at 3:02 p.m.

    pulled for DFB my whole life, only liked him as a Spieler, but watching my 2nd team is painful-i was at the Gold Cup Jamaica disaster, not too many Juergie defenders there-none, actually.....

  15. R K, March 31, 2016 at 3:21 p.m.

    "So how did a man with such a meager coaching resume from a soccer minnow nation end up coaching the U.S. team that desperately needed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics after having failed four years earlier?"

    Caleb Porter coached Indiana and Akron before the U-23s. So we obviously hadn't set the bar ridiculously high prior to Herzog coming on board.

  16. Scott Johnson replied, March 31, 2016 at 3:54 p.m.

    And of course Porter is now the proud owner of an MLS Cup to go with his NCAA title. If Klinsmann is ever axed, you gotta think he's one of the guys on the shortlist to replace him. He's certainly shown he can coach soccer at a high level given decent players, something he didn't have in Olympic qualifying last time 'round. OTOH, Porter seems to have pissed off half of the other soccer coaches in the world...

  17. Nalin Carney, March 31, 2016 at 3:35 p.m.

    I think Herzog & Klinsmann should both be fired.....before this turns into a real disaster.

  18. Alberto Mora, March 31, 2016 at 3:39 p.m.

    Every time that I make any comments here I find that the majority of comments are "attacks to Klinsmann" that situation confirms the ignorance in reference to football (futbol) is larger than the desire of of see the success of our National team, some of you folks have to educate yourselfs about the best "team's sport that ever happen to mankind"

  19. Raymond Weigand replied, March 31, 2016 at 4:18 p.m.

    Alberto, the aim of the author is to stimulate some excitement onto the site to insure he keeps receiving a paycheck.

  20. VIC Aguilera, March 31, 2016 at 3:47 p.m.

    While on the subject of Herzog, does anyone know the REAL reason Martin Vasquez was suddenly asked to step down from his position as assistant? With MV gone, Klinnsman and USSF lost all credibility in the LATINO community!

  21. Ric Fonseca replied, March 31, 2016 at 10:45 p.m.

    Vic, if memory serves me correct, Martin Vasquez was let go in order for JK to bring in Herzog, at least that is what I remember, but it would be very interesting to know why JK and Martin parted ways. I also heard, I think from someone from SA, that he is back doing what he enjoys more and that is actually developing young talent.

  22. Nate Nelson, March 31, 2016 at 6:18 p.m.

    "If you’re paid a hell of a lot of money to be in charge of a major organization, and you hire a buddy for a very important job at a high salary, and it doesn’t work out, you’ve lost a whole lot of credibility." - Mike Woitalla SO MIKE THEY SAME SHOULD APPLY TO DAN FLYNN & GULATI..they stink the USSF needs new leadership!

  23. Ric Fonseca replied, April 1, 2016 at 4:05 p.m.

    Nate, in order to bring in new leadership in the US Soccer Federation world, I recommend that you get deeply involved in your state association's board. Gulati won another term of office unopposed this last time, and some of the head honchos in Soccer House were HIRED. Gulati can only be removed if he's voted out of office, or if - lord forbid - he's done something "wrong," while US Soccer staff can be let go for cause, incompetence, or whatever, and lastly don't forget that SG is a member of FIFA's Exec Committee for which I believe he receives some remuneration.

  24. John Soares, March 31, 2016 at 6:27 p.m.

    At this level a coaches FIRST priority is to win the game. Experimenting and development are "of course" important. However that should be in training sessions, friendly games and when you have a "secure" lead. JK has been all over the place, not just with several players out of "position" but too many inexperienced players in the game at one time while the veterans sit. With obvious poor results. AND THAT my friends IS on the coach. It is not simply the change of line up. It is going with the best you got at each that JK has failed miserably.

  25. James Madison, March 31, 2016 at 7:21 p.m.

    Today's first priority may be to win today, but the next priority is to prepare to win tomorrow. The prospects for the USMNT to win any particular match today are not favorable, and, judging from the Olympic qualifying campaign, from which reinforcements should come, the prospects for winning tomorrow are even less favorable. Hence, those who are responsible for winning need to be replaced with others with a fresh chance, if not a better one.

  26. Lonaka K, March 31, 2016 at 8:37 p.m.

    I think we're pointing fingers in the wrong area. The coaches that should be taking the criticism are the youth coaches for players under 16 tears of age. In general US players have the worst first touch of the ball. Many can't set the ball down without it bouncing 3 ft from their control area. Also most players are horrible playing the ball on the first touch. Another are that we are weak is passing the ball. Players cannot consistantly deliver a 30-40 yd pass with accuracy. Let's compare basketball and football to soccer. In basketball playmakers are proficient in dribbling, passing and catching the ball. In football how London will a QB last on a team that can never throw a 40-50 yd pass with accuracy. Why in soccer do we accept players to have mediocre skills for receiving the ball, passing the ball and dribbling withe the ball. Also US youth coaches train players to be robots. Players are consistantly being told by their coaches what to do during the game. That is why US players are NOT creative on the field. As my wife says " you can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear"

  27. Mark Konty replied, April 1, 2016 at 12:33 a.m.

    Absolutely correct, our players simply are not as good, technically, as most of the 200 FIFA nations.
    I disagree in assigning blame, though the youth system is laughable, because it comes down to culture. Americans simply don't play pickup soccer, every day, in the streets and parks like most of the world does. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, we do other things, and in sports it's basketball that our youth just go out and play every day for the fun of it. But you can't get technical proficiency by "practicing" 2-3 days a week for 90 minutes and playing a couple of games, and that is in season!

  28. beautiful game, March 31, 2016 at 9:13 p.m.

    Don't blame the NCAA about soccer development. It is not in the business of developing talent. They could care less about it.The college players are what they are. If they had the necessary tools they would be overseas plying their trade. It's forever the USSF which is responsible for organizing/financing youth player development and it has failed miserably.

  29. Adrian Gonzalez replied, April 1, 2016 at 12:08 p.m.

    You hit it, BUSINESS. The business cycle requires lots of profit to be successful. Where is the profit in player development ? Maybe long term which would be great for the game but not happening today. Or if it is happening those players are not a good fit for the current system, which is obviously not based on individual talent.

  30. John Soares, March 31, 2016 at 10:51 p.m.

    Every one/level has their priorities, even "requirements" to keep their job. It is not pointing fingers, or at least it shouldn't be. The USMNT coach has a job. He MUST work with what he has, period. All other excuses, criticisms as to quality of players/skills are irrelevant at this point and time. You do the best you can WITH WHAT YOU GOT. What we (USA) have IS better than Guatemala. Proven yesterday. The question becomes; Coach, WHAT were you thinking last week???

  31. Ric Fonseca, March 31, 2016 at 10:55 p.m.

    I w, the original purpose of the ncaa was to develop a sound mind in a sound body, furthermore it was established also to put some control in the management of sports in college/universities. Since then, the organization has gotten to be so damned big that it actually controls the tv industry, and has committees for this and that, pays an exc director lots of bucks, and lets the revenue generating sports, fotball, basketball, control the so-called non-revenue sports that includes soccer. As for the "student-athletes," their primary concern (not basketball or football) as we all know is to get an education, etc. AND that the onus of our lack of potentially and highly skilled players lies squarely on the shoulders of the mish-mash of alphabet soup of soccer organizations, as Tony DeCicco recently said, that serve to only diminish and hinder player development, and yes US Soccer must man-up and shoulder the responsibility and stop pandering to the alphabet soup of soccer groups.

  32. warren mersereau, March 31, 2016 at 11:18 p.m.


    It is obvious from your on-going criticism of the USMNT program, including your March 31st column “Olympic debacle proves Klinsmann shouldn’t be in charge”, that you have an ax to grind. But, in expressing your opinion, you could at least maintain perspective and be respectful.

    You reference Austria as a “soccer minnow.” That “minnow” is currently ranked #10 in the world. When Andi Herzog played for the Austrian national team he led them to two World Cups. While Austria does not consistently qualify for the World Cup, it is faced with the challenge of qualifying out of UEFA.

    In terms of Herzog’s credentials, his playing career was exemplary, including eight years in the Bundesliga, winning the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen and the UEFA Cup with Bayern Munich, 103 international appearances for Austria, and a season with the Los Angeles Galaxy to learn first hand about soccer in the USA. Herzog began coaching in 2005 and turned to it full time in 2008 first with Austrian national teams and then with the USMNT. Playing over 400 first division European matches and over 100 international matches combined with eight years of coaching at the international level is not “a meager coaching resume.”

    The headline chosen to draw attention to your opinion piece, “Olympic debacle proves Klinsmann shouldn’t be in charge,” also fails to provide perspective. Certainly, Klinsmann cited the importance of the Olympics for developing our younger players. But, to claim that failure to qualify for the Olympics should result in firing the national team coach is ridiculous. By that criterion, Jogi Loew would have been fired before he won the 2014 World Cup and the national team coaches of France, the Netherlands, and Belgium, countries that have failed to qualify multiple times in the last four Olympic cycles, would have also been fired.

    You can do better Mike.


  33. Andy Cap replied, April 3, 2016 at noon

    Well said - what some soccer journalist and some former/current national team players are failing to say is our players are not good enough.They take
    the easy way out and point fingers at Klinsmann for whatever reason,some it's
    because he has not invited them into the national setup or not picked them or their buddies for the team.

    They problem lies in the USDA and below.
    The quality of play is rubbish. The rosters are being stocked with players who do not belong.The USDA are being used by way too many clubs just to pull players from other clubs and build soccer empires.The USDA teams should be for a select group who have been identified with some sort of potential and ability.The USDA in my opinion is
    a good idea,however, it will never bear fruit until it's used for it's intended purpose .... Developing players for possible National team selection.

    The USDA is used by way too many clubs as a tool to attract players from other clubs.If they were attracting the better players and developing them properly it would be fine.

  34. Kent James replied, April 3, 2016 at 1:11 p.m.

    Yeah, I thought Mike was a bit rough on Hertzog's resume, and your extensive bio supports that. Well done. I don't know enough about the U23 pool to know how well Hertzog did with what he had, but the competition to get into the Olympics is pretty stiff (though we have an easier route than many). Our problem was being in a position to have to beat Colombia to get in.

  35. C Stephans, April 1, 2016 at 8:15 a.m.

    Right on!

  36. cony konstin, April 1, 2016 at 12:07 p.m.

    It doesn't matter who coaches the U.S. At this point. We have No flair, no creativity, no genius, no elegance, no beauty and no spectacular.. It was one dimensional, robotic, boring football. The question you have to ask yourself is why? First reason. Did these kids grow up playing King of the court 24/7/365, for free and with no adult interference? No! Did these kids grow up playing on dirt fields? No. Did these kids play on broken glass and rocks? No. And why do we know that? Because most of these players are stiff in the hips , have a weak first touch, and are afraid to take on one or two players... Bottom line. We need radical change.. We need a new vision. We need new leadership.. We need a 21st century master plan. We need a soccer revolution... We need 600,000 Futsal courts in our inner cities and suburbs so our kids can play king of the court, 24/7/365, for free and with no adult interference... For the past 20 years US soccer has spent billions of dollars and promoted gimmicks, smoke n mirrors, $400 cleats, robotic coaching, and pretty uniforms... It is time for a Soccer REVOLUTION!!!!!!!! in the U.S. This is not about one person. We need a national movement. Not a national coach...
    Think about it. We take our number one resource in the U.S. which is our 5 to 8 year olds and we hand them to a nice parent that can't even kick a ball and we ask this nice parent after a nice volunteer hands the nice parent a bag of balls, cones and bibs, then ask this nice parent who can't kick a ball to teach the basic fundamentals of the beautiful game to a group of children who barely can tie their shoes. This is a total disservice to the children, our country and the game itself. No. I am sorry it's a travesty. No, I am sorry again it's an abomination. Now I am not running for president of the U.S. So I am going to speak my mind. I have been coaching for 41 years and it is time for a national movement to straighten this menusha out. Our kids can't dribble, pass, shoot, head, trap, and their first touch is their last touch. People in charge need to be kicked out. We need a SOCCER REVOLUTION in the U.S. We need to create a NEW SPARTA!!!!!!

  37. Daniel Clifton replied, April 1, 2016 at 1:23 p.m.

    Yes!!! Can the USSF hire you to run the program?

  38. Ginger Peeler replied, April 1, 2016 at 2:17 p.m.

    A major part of our problem is, simply, logistics. We are complaining about not having the talented and skilled players as do other nations. But look at the size of most of those nations...many of them are about the size of some of our states. We have a HUGE country with all sorts of kids playing at all different levels. I guarantee you that almost any kid chosen for ODP from Southern California is going to be much better than an ODP kid from Northwest Arkansas. There are a lot of skilled and talented players that did not make the SoCal ODP cut that are still far better than that Arkansas kid. In CA, the small, extremely talented player will be AR, you need to be big and fast. Ability to make good, short passes, to control the ball, to keep possession? Not so important. Just kick it and run. Okay, I realize it's not all ODP anymore, but the example still stands. We seem to be taking the best from each state, not taking into account that some states are chock-full of talented kids where other states only have a few. A lot of times, those with the most talent are African-American or Hispanic. It makes a difference in the Bible Belt South. I lived there many years. There's still a lot of hatred there for non-whites, usually coming from the older, less well educated whites. There are still die-hard segregationists. The non whites do not get the same opportunities that the whites do. And are our scouts all equal in their ability to find talent? Those incredible talents are out there. But how do you find them when there's so much country to cover? I don't have an answer and I wonder how JK has chosen to address the problem. Also, most of our kids begin playing in recreation leagues where they depend on parents to coach. Cony wants experienced coaches working with our 8 yr olds. That would be nice, but I think we've got lots more kids available than coaches. And they're parent volunteers! They don't get paid. Even if they turn out to be very, very good, they usually quit coaching after their children go off to college. How do we convince them to stay on at a professional level? We don't just need a revolution with the kids, but with the coaches, too. How do we identify our gifted players on a national basis. A lot of it has to be through the soccer grapevine, but we're still overlooking some of our best players. A country our size should have a bench at least 3 players deep at each position. Why are we struggling to find a left back for the senior team? You know he's out there!

  39. Scott Johnson replied, April 2, 2016 at 2:50 p.m.

    It's interesting to compare rec soccer to Little League in its heyday. Nowadays, baseball is losing some of its command of the American consiousness--but it wasn't long ago that it was the National Pasttime, the sport that dominated all others, including American football, basketball, hockey, and soccer. And LL was (and still is) staffed by volunteer coaches. But the country had a Baseball Culture, and LL and T-Ball and such basically introduced a formal structure to a game that the kids had already been playing for years. That's the big issue holding us back in soccer, is that many kids aren't learning the game until they are older. That said, one must be careful not to overcoach at a young age.

  40. Ric Fonseca, April 1, 2016 at 4:33 p.m.

    Hola again Ginger: You and I are of kindred spirit, as I have was also extensively involved in the former CYSA-S as a district commissioner (Greater LA area) so I know only too well about ODP and the thousand of youth players that weren't allowed to participate simply and because they played in non-CYSA affiliated leagues and clubs, etc. I could go on and on, but I digress, BUT I believe JK found an answer to your question, vis-a-vis the vastness of our country, and since he doesn't have the requisite number of "US Soccer scouts to search for those soccer-playing gems, he obviously turned to his own country, where he does have a better network of "scouts" that seem to always send him the names of potential US-German born kids living over there and who obviously grew up with the sport. And a little tid bit here: Back in the late '90s, in defense of the then Rothernberg-Steinbrecher, and the doctor that succeeded Rothenberg, et. al. led US Soccer, through the Latin American Soccer Coaches Association (LASCA) we submitted the names of I believe 20 names of potential scouts that we had worked with throughout the country only to see the US Soccer Coaching good-old boy network turn most away and kept only three or four, the last one (no longer with US Soccer) from the San Diego area. Lastly your assessment of having lived in the south is well appreciated and understood - at least by me. And as for the "soccer grapevine," I believe that it has been trimmed back way back to the trunk of the vines, but PLEASE don't leave it to the Alianza's "Sueno" outfit as all they want and look out for is the bottom line and benefits only the LIGA MX teams. Saludos y buena suerte!

  41. John Lander, April 1, 2016 at 4:54 p.m.

    I am not going to get into who should or shouldn't be fired but I do know one thing. The USA has, zero world class players. At any age group. If you rate players in the works from 1 to 1000. The US will not have a player in the top 500. I can name 10 counties who's top 30 to 40 players are all better that the US. I can name another 10 who top 20 are all better that the US. We should and will be able to come out of CONCACAF but that about it. No coach on this planet can do more with the players we have.

  42. Raymond Weigand replied, April 1, 2016 at 5:36 p.m.

    Whoa ... I heard a mic drop - somewhere - and then I read your comments. Tough realities ... better to just lay down a smoke screen and blame the coach.

  43. Scott Johnson replied, April 1, 2016 at 6:11 p.m.

    Two years ago, Tim Howard was a legit world-class player, easily one of the top 5 keepers on the planet. But a year off, and two years older, have robbed him of his 2014 form (and nobody else in the US nets seems to be stepping up, despite this country having a long history of producing quality GKs). But other than that, you're mostly correct.

  44. Fetzer Fool, April 1, 2016 at 9:10 p.m.

    Agree AA. Contrary to John's observation, there are players at several age groups. The 2000's come to mind. Not necessarily the one's we watched in O qualifying though. Ginger and Ric allude to some of the issues - logistics and blinders. But whatever the lack of technical ability or creativity, Herzog's conduct and that of his side were a national embarrassment against Honduras in October as was the self-injurious lack of discipline on Tuesday. Such an absence of leadership and message would result in the dismissal of most management no matter the industry. Why should the u23 coach be evaluated under any other standard?

  45. Kent James, April 3, 2016 at 1:31 p.m.

    Okay, maybe I'm an eternal optimist, maybe I'm delusional, but I don't think the failure to qualify for the olympics is a sign that we have lost all credibility as a soccer-playing nation, our coaches are an embarrassment, and we have nobody that can play soccer. It is a minor setback, a bump in the road. I'm not a big JK supporter, and would not be unhappy if he were replaced (though that would depend on the replacement), but coaches can only do so much. And that's not because we have no players; while we don't have the number of world class players we would like (who does?), I disagree with the general assessment that our U23 team was unskilled. I think their failure on the field had less to do with their lack of skill, and more to do with the Colombians incredibly aggressive, fairly physical, smothering defense. As many have pointed out, we do have some major issues that discourage development (I would argue the lack of soccer culture is the biggest, but the size of the country is also a major issue, and, of course, the problem of 'pay to play'), but I think (current results excepted) we are still making progress (though JK may not be helping us much). Not qualifying is a disappointment, not a sign of the demise of soccer in the US.

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