Jonathan Klinsmann, "too much American," says Hertha coach

Jonathan Klinsmann, the son of Jurgen Klinsmann, parlayed a strong Under-20 World Cup for the USA into a contract with German club Hertha Berlin. He made his first-team debut in December for Hertha in the Europa League and saved a penalty kick in the game against Sweden's against Ostersund.



Jonathan Klinsmann has dressed for two Bundesliga games this winter, but Hertha goalkeeper coach Zsolt Petry is not happy with his progress, saying it has stalled, which he blames on his work ethic.

"He's got the basic skills, and taken a good athletic development," said Petry, who evaluated Klinsmann before Hertha signed him last summer. "But he does not bring his skills to the field every day. All of the coaching staff misses that. The past two, three months did not go as we hoped. The serious, focused German working is not fully in him, there's too much American left in him. His personality development has stalled a bit.

"You can see that in training. He does not talk too much to his teammates, has little contact, not a lot of charisma, confidence and determination. One word: The body language is still missing. Without it, you won't get far in soccer. If he can do it, he can become an option."

On Tuesday, Klinsmann responded by saying his laid-back approach helped keep him from being nervous.

His position as the No. 3 keeper behind Thomas Kraft, 29, and Norwegian Rune Jarstein, 33, should be unexpected for a first-year player. Klinsmann, who turns 21 in April, has started nine games for the Regionalliga team in the fourth division.

16 comments about "Jonathan Klinsmann, "too much American," says Hertha coach".
  1. Ben Myers, March 7, 2018 at 7:51 p.m.

    What about his feet?  Are they as good as most European and Latino keepers? 

  2. John Polis, March 7, 2018 at 8:49 p.m.

    So he has too much American in him? How about the German part. Is there enough of that? Dumb statement by a coach who should know better, or else the translation is off. I understand all about attitude in training and charisma around teammates. But too much American? Really?

  3. Michael Barnstead, March 7, 2018 at 10:30 p.m.

    Hard to even respond to a statement like that from a  Coach. The arrogance in that statement is maybe just too German. The kids a good young talent that needs to be coached. 

  4. Bob Ashpole, March 8, 2018 at 9:13 a.m.

    These comments are reacting emotionally to the implied criticism of Americans. This is just a reflection of cultural differences. What the comments miss is that his coaches are not satisfied with his progress. What happens on the field transcends cultures. 

    Keepers are expected to be leaders, so the mental aspects are very important. Athletic ability, technique, and tactics are not enough for a professional keeper.

  5. frank schoon, March 8, 2018 at 10:12 a.m.

    Obviously the Coach is Right On!! I'm sorry that some see it as an affront to their own culture. All I've got to say is that if you interpret this as some kind affront or offense than you shouldn't be in this sport in the first place. He's lucky he's not in Holland for there criticisms are so much harsher there.
    Just look at how our sports commentatorshere are afraid to say anything negative.  A player in MLS can make a lousy pass  with the ball ending up 6 rows in the stands and they'll end up making comment "good try". In Holland if you make a 40yard cross field pass with the ball landing on the left foot instead of on the right, not only will the fans  "Boo' but also  the commentators  will show no "Mercy'; but,here, it, "oh, nice try, rough winds out there".
    The German coach knows what is needed for a goalie to be a good pro and one of the main qualities is "PRESENCE". Being "mousy" ,keeping your mouth shut, not showing leadership and  not letting the opponents know you're there ,all these qualities have to be present to be a good goalie.
    The American training methods are not respected in Europe,just like the status of the MLS, and this is why American players jump at a chance to be trained in Europe: therefore I understand why the German coach brought the American criticism.


  6. Right Winger replied, March 8, 2018 at 1:52 p.m.

    Frank, you are right on.  The intensity of the game and expectations of both the coaches and the fans will not be mirrored in this country for a long time.

    The training sessions alone in Europe are so much more intense and the pace is something that a lot of players from here can't even comprhend.  What may stand out here may be just another day in the foreign arena.  The expectations are greater there than they are here and in turn the teaching ability of the coaching there matches what they expect.  There is a lot more to being a soccer athlete than being big, strong and fast.  There is an old saying out there.  When in Rome do as the Romans do.  I do not know much about this kid other than what has been written but he certainly has the genes.  Now all he has to do is produce.

    The way we play the game here is not the way it is played in the rest of the world.  So either get with it or head for the bus station.

  7. Kevin Leahy, March 8, 2018 at 4:28 p.m.

    It’s a stupid statement! If Jonathan has a problem it, is his. His father probably told him what was expected. It is just a ridiculous generalization that shows the coach we’re he is lacking.

  8. R2 Dad, March 8, 2018 at 9:06 p.m.

    I couldnt find the article, buy apparently his innability to speak fluent german is a big part of this. If he's like lots of other children of immigrants, he probably understands a lot but hasn't spoken much, so it's an issue of being confident enough in his german to direct the wall, etc etc. There is a good story there with father vs son when trying to get your kid to speak--it's a universal struggle all immigrants can understand.

  9. frank schoon replied, March 8, 2018 at 9:34 p.m.

    R2, I don't think there is much of a language problem. First of all I'm sure he has enough basic German just by being around his family and I'm sure he has taken German in school, and ,after all , he has German relatives and has been to Germany many times. Realize the German he needs to know to function as a goalie is very limited to certain commands applied to various soccer situations, were not talking here about in depth soccer discussions.  
    And also soccer players know English as well. It is not about language but more about abilities 

  10. R2 Dad replied, March 9, 2018 at 12:29 a.m.

    "I didn't want to go to England or America because I knew English already," Klinsmann said. "For me, German was unfinished and I wanted to be able to integrate myself in Germany.

    "I was born here. I was born in Munich. I wanted to be able to come here and speak freely. I wanted to learn German. That was definitely one of my top priorities."

    Maybe the high expectations that come with the name is a burden he's not ready to bare? I don't know.

  11. frank schoon replied, March 9, 2018 at 6:58 a.m.

    R2, I think what he meant about German is more like being able to carry on deep discussions in German, the everyday stuff  a normal German experience, which is so far beyond what you need when being a goalie where the language needed is so limited too standard situations in the game and which doesn't even require complete sentences. For example, Move up!, Cover him! Even just pointing at an open man who needs to be covered, First post!, I got it! Get out , Go!!  Besides players ,defenders , also know what to expect in these situations where the goalie is involved. He's been there now how many months, and we're talking fully language immersed. It took me 3 months total immersion, here to speak English for I never spoke a word of English at home and never learned it in school back in Holland, which is totally unlike  Klinnsman.

  12. frank schoon replied, March 9, 2018 at 6:58 a.m.

    R2, I think what he meant about German is more like being able to carry on deep discussions in German, the everyday stuff  a normal German experience, which is so far beyond what you need when being a goalie where the language needed is so limited too standard situations in the game and which doesn't even require complete sentences. For example, Move up!, Cover him! Even just pointing at an open man who needs to be covered, First post!, I got it! Get out , Go!!  Besides players ,defenders , also know what to expect in these situations where the goalie is involved. He's been there now how many months, and we're talking fully language immersed. It took me 3 months total immersion, here to speak English for I never spoke a word of English at home and never learned it in school back in Holland, which is totally unlike  Klinnsman.

  13. R2 Dad replied, March 9, 2018 at 5:13 p.m.

    Frank, you're probably correct, but I just don't know and don't have any other info. As to your point about learning english in three months, I have no reason to doubt you, but a more direct comparison might be that if you have kids, how difficult was it to get them to speak dutch? For some families it's simple--we are friends with a dutch family where both parents are from NL and the kids are fluent. But if, say, the kids are stubborn, or only one parent speaks the language, getting the kids to speak might be more difficult. It's a situation I see often in my urban environment, and it interests me because my family has language issues like this. But maybe I'm just projecting.

  14. frank schoon replied, March 9, 2018 at 6:19 p.m.

    R2, don't forget I'm in my early 70's. In my days I grew in Holland without a TV. Today's kids grow up watching TV, American shows and what not... It is totally different now. You can learn the language in 3months to get you around for basics stuff, for you're fully immersed. Even today it is still an ongoing process with me. I still ask my wife from time to time what does word mean.LOL

  15. Bob Ashpole replied, March 10, 2018 at 12:56 p.m.

    R2 Dad, any adult player picks up some foreign phrases just by playing. In the US Spanish is often heard. Fluency is not required. No one should be having a conversation during the run of play. 

    I am confident that Klinsmann knew enough German to communicate on the field before he ever signed with the club. It would be extremely unusal for a German team to communicate during the run of play in a language other than German. Personally I cannot imagine it happening.

  16. frank schoon replied, March 10, 2018 at 1:33 p.m.

    Hey Bob: Tranquillo, de la recha!, esquirda, pecho, portero, passa passa, mas mas !, Caramba!, vamos vamos, Centro centro... Not bad  for a guy who played in DC on Spanish teams where I was called El Rubio...LOL

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