Klinsmann: 'I'm 1,000 percent sure we'll qualify'

In an interview with biographer Erik Kirschbaum for Reuters, U.S. men's national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann insisted the USA would qualify despite opening with two losses that left it in last place in the Hexagonal.

"It’s important to put this in the right perspective," he said. "We lost the two opening games and played the two best teams right away. We have eight more games to get the points needed to qualify. We’ve always reacted strongly when things were nerve-wracking. This team is always capable of reacting. We’ll correct this with the two games in March [against Honduras at home and Panama in Panama City] and we’ll take one game at a time from there to get our points. I’m 1,000 percent sure we’ll qualify."

The interview was conducted as Klinsmann was in Berlin to attend a dinner for President Barack Obama.

Klinsmann came in for intense criticism after the 2-1 loss to Mexico and 4-0 defeat to Costa Rica. After the loss to the Ticos, the USA's worst in qualifying in 36 years, the consensus of American media at the game was that Klinsmann needed to be replaced.

"When things go slightly wrong, there are some people who come out and are ready to chop your head off," he said. "In the long run, that’s going to make the development of the team difficult. It’s important to stay calm and be patient. There are definitely issues to be addressed but there is no reason to exaggerate them or panic. I’ve been doing this for 35 years and there are always many reasons why certain things happen, both positively and negatively. It’s important to have the end result in mind. And the big picture is the overall development of the team in the four-year cycle between two World Cups. You have to be ready to take some setbacks during that phase."

Klinsmann pointed to success at the Copa Centenario -- where the USA finished fourth -- and the emergence of young players as support for his argument that USA was headed in the right direction.

"We had a maturing process at the Copa America that was outstanding," he said. "We wanted to have younger players becoming more powerful and confident and got that. There is a real dynamic going on with players like Bobby Wood, John Brooks, Jordan Morris and Christian Pulisic."

Klinsmann said Obama was optimistic that the USA would advance to the finals in Russia.

"He said, 'Coach, it didn’t go well in Costa Rica, but it’s only the start of the World Cup qualifying and you’ll get back on the right track,'" Klinsmann said. "He understands that it's a long qualifying process. He also understands dynamics of soccer as a global sport and how it builds bridges.

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16 comments about "Klinsmann: 'I'm 1,000 percent sure we'll qualify'".
  1. David Mont, November 20, 2016 at 7:38 p.m.

    Soccer America, November 14: Klinsmann: USA will get result at Costa Rica on Tuesday

  2. Richard T. Lynch, November 21, 2016 at 8:05 a.m.

    Thank goodness we got that endorsement from Obama! All is well.

  3. j bapper, November 21, 2016 at 8:39 a.m.

    This guy is a joke. It's all smoke and mirrors with him but the joke is up. It's time to move Gulati... what are you waiting for?

  4. Daniel Clifton, November 21, 2016 at 10:06 a.m.

    "When things go slightly wrong. . ." So that's what Jurgen perceives, things going slightly wrong. The worst defeat in World Cup Qualifying in over 30 years and things are slightly wrong. He is right. There is one slight problem the USMNT has, the coach. He has obviously lost the locker room. Either Gulati makes the change now or after the US fails to qualify for Russia with JK.

  5. Henry Carbo, November 21, 2016 at 10:50 a.m.

    All of the soccer critics who think "just" replace Jurgen with an American coach...have no idea how hard it will be for the team to qualify with a new coach.The mental shock effect for the players having a new coach is tremendous. Jurgen knows what he is doing with the team, leave him alone so he can continue to work so the team...players...staff and the coach can focus and finish the job. QUALIFY FOR WC 2018 IN RUSSIA.

  6. Mark Calcat, November 21, 2016 at 11:19 a.m.

    I may not know the "inside" of the team but with my handy degree in logic and a background in mathematics, I'm pretty sure going 0-2-0 is not a sound strategy. Further, after a poor showing with Mexico they came back and played a worse game against Costa Rica. Facts. While it is mathematically possible to qualify, little in Jurgen Klinsmann's history and judgement with the USMNT leads to confidence. Finally, Gulati is the weak leader at the top. Relying on him to do the right thing is unlikely. Klinsmann is not politically incorrect like Hope Solo. She was a winner which is not a quality Gulati values.

  7. Winston Reyes, November 21, 2016 at 12:58 p.m.

    that's the problem,USA wins and Klinsman continues his lie

  8. Joe Bailey, November 21, 2016 at 1:30 p.m.

    I would love to hear what Klinsmann would have to say about the development of our young players once he's released form his job. Then the follow up question would be, 'So what have you done in the the past five years as the man in charge of the development of our young players?'
    I'd like to go back to an American coach where we can go back to the boring mundane stuff like beat Mexico at home in a WCQ, qualify for the olympics, beat teams we usually beat in concacaf competition... you know, stuff like that...

  9. Julio Moreira, November 21, 2016 at 2:20 p.m.

    I firmly believe that to be President of a Football (Soccer) Federation Sunil Gulati, you must have at least know what a Soccer ball looks and feels, you have to have played the game, kick a ball at least while you were a young man, that is not the case with Sunil who was placed there, as President by the exiting President, Rosenberg after the USSFA gave him $ 10.000.000.00 Dollars to leave.
    So, how are we to expect that Gulati will fire JK and his German American squad, DREAMERS

  10. Ric Fonseca, November 21, 2016 at 3:22 p.m.

    Uh, JUlio, while I somewhat agree with part of your comment, I really do not where you got your info but I was actually there when Gulati was "elected" to the head gig with US Soccer, not "placed there by the exiting President, Rosenberg....(sic) after USSFA (??!!?!?) gave him $10.000.000.00 Dollars to leave..." First, it was ALAN ROTHENBERG, who opted not to run again, and Gulati replaced the guy that succeeded AR, Dr. Bob from Colorado! And what's with the ten million $$$?

  11. Wooden Ships, November 21, 2016 at 5:30 p.m.

    Done deal. Not sure of the wisdom of Arena as the successor. He may or may not get us through qualifying, but one thing he didn't do was expand our player pool. The position that he, Abby and others hold that foreign born, service member kids, should be excluded I really object to. These are quality players and our sons. But, lets not assume that the game is so complex that we need brilliance. Get our most technical players out there, its also time to retire a few that have passive aggressive tendencies. Move on.

  12. Andrew Kear replied, November 22, 2016 at 8:57 p.m.

    For the most part the German American players have been a bust for the US team.

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, November 23, 2016 at 10:43 p.m.

    I think people are taking things Bruce says out of context. Foreign born players Bruce coached includes David Regis (French American), Ernie Stewart (Dutch American), and Carlos Llamosa (Columbian American). Those are the ones I recall; There may be others. Hall of famer and former captain Thomas Dooley retired after the 98 finals.

  14. Bob Ashpole replied, November 23, 2016 at 10:47 p.m.

    Arena didn't expand the player pool? First caps under Arena: Beasley, Donovan, Cherundolo, Lewis, Mastroeni, O'Brien, Wolf and Olsen.

  15. Gio Araya, November 21, 2016 at 5:40 p.m.

    Good, JK is history now.. however, that is just one step.. we need to change the mentality of young players.. otherwise we will keep going nowhere.. talent is there we just need to learn to work on it.

  16. Fire Paul Gardner Now, November 23, 2016 at 9:51 a.m.

    I wouldn't say I'm "1000%" confident in our qualification but I like our chances a lot better now with JK out.

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