This is who we want running the US national team?

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So here’s the presumptive next US coach Jurgen Klinsmann spouting about 700 different cliches when asked what American soccer needs to do to improve. It’s nothing but platitudes and generalities, on top of the lovely European anti-middle class attitude that Soccernomics rips apart.

He’s right that too much of American soccer is pay-to-play. I grant him that point unreservedly. But much of what he says is already getting done and believe it or not, it’s being done by MLS. Look at the what the academies have already uncovered in just the short time they’ve been in existence. Look at Andy Najar, for example. Look at Jorge Flores at Chivas. They are working with the immigrant communities and they are finding some gems too.

Spouting populist generalities might be enough to make you sound credible on ESPN, but he better have some “how’s” to go with all those “why’s” or else Sunil Gulati should laugh him out of his office.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Klinsmann is a charlatan and if we hire him, we’ll be fortunate to qualify for Brazil 2014.*

CLARIFICATION: Since I think I was too vague here, let me say this. I don’t think we won’t qualify for the World Cup, but I could see Mexico-with-Eriksson type situation. If that came to pass, and we were struggling in the Hex, would the USSF be able to swallow its pride and $$ to can him the way the Mexicans admirably did with Sven? If the USSF dumped him, then sure I could see another coach turning it around. But if he were to stay and struggle, what then? Why not pick someone with more experience? Why not set our sights higher?


28 thoughts on “This is who we want running the US national team?

  1. Before, I pass judgment on Klinsi, I would like him to sit down with say, Grant Wahl (or perhaps Dan Loney since I assume he lives in SoCal), for an extended interview to answer a few questions about specifically how he would accomplish the things he talked about and, perhaps most of all, where the heck the money would come from.

    He may have specific ideas, but this ESPN interview simply was not a forum where he could offer lengthy answers to these important questions. As you say, at this point all we have from Kinsi are cliches, but I think its a bit unfair for everyone on here to assume he hasn’t ponder the details of how he would accomplish these things when he has not really been offered a chance yet to explain himself.

  2. That has definitely been the hallmark of Klinsmann’s career as a player, as a businessman, as a manager. Complete fraud.
    Others may have been deceived as to his being a world class striker, a competent and self-sufficient moneymaker, as an inspiring manager to a German side at a low ebb in its talent.
    But not our Stollar bloodhound. He can smell the Fraud in a handful of parts per million, and if Juergen’s rank in his eyes how could I dare to suggest otherwise?
    Bring back Bradley! He’s the genuine piece of work.

  3. I keep making the mistake of clicking on provocative headlines only to realize they’re Aaron Stollar blog postings…

  4. I know that WaPo story a few days back said that, but it hasn’t been confirmed by Najar or his family. As of now, he’s still a US possibility. When he declares for Honduras, then we’ll deal with that shitstorm.

  5. Ooh, ouchie. All I can say is that I absolutely believe this post. This is not merely an “attention-getter.” I’m not on Around the Horn.

    But, as always, thanks for reading!

  6. I agree with a lot of the comments here. Sure, that claptrap works on ESPN with an unsophisticated audience, but I’d like to hear him interviewed by Grant Wahl. See if he is the real deal or not.

    My favorite is stil Dom Kinnear.

  7. Like the “we’re going to give up 7 goals in the WC” one? Like the “we’re going to give up 2-3 goals a game” one?

    I’m not in love with the guy, but let’s be realistic here.

    On Najar, let’s find out his citizenship status before we start having coronaries over whether he decides to play for the country he was born in and spent most of his live living in.

  8. I stand by that prediction as well. Little did I know that England would start imploding upon minute 1 of the World Cup and that Algeria wouldn’t even bother attacking in a match where it needed to win to advance.

    You’re a brave man Brian to be out there defending the US defensive corps.

    I totally agree.

  9. I’m not defending the US defensive corps. I’m pointing out that you have a recent history of reacting a little hysterically to something negative.

    You may stand by those, but they were off the mark.

  10. Lets see, 22 year playing career, 514 games, 232 goals, with teams like Inter, Spurs, and Bayern Munich. 108 Caps, 42 goals for Germany. Won UEFA Cup, European Championship, and WC as a player. Coached Germany to 3rd place in WC 2006 (when they were considered long shots to make it to quarter finals) and Bayern Munich.

    Lives in US (and loves it here), and wants the US to succeed in soccer.

    Please present the resume of the coach you want instead of him.

    He’s young enough to have the enthusiasm that the US players need and doesn’t worry about upsetting the ‘establishment’ if he feels he’s doing the right thing (see Germany, ’06 for details).

    I don’t believe we will see him in that role, because he wants to change the USSF and they don’t like change.

    Your dire predictions about this team were way off, even if you “Stand Behind Them”. The fact that you don’t admit that you were wrong, when the events prove that fact, makes your other predictions even more silly.

    So, if JK is named coach, please tell me the three teams that will move ahead of us (I have already assumed that Mexico will be there) to qualify for Brazil 2016?

    Here’s a look at the last Hex (led by the US), in case you forgot:

    Team Pts.
    USA 20
    MEX 19
    HON 16
    CRC 16
    SLV 8
    TRI 6

    So, somehow JK would result in a net -13 points. REALLY????? Sorry, I just don’t see it.

  11. None of this matters whatsoever. Many many good players have made bad coaches and vice versa. Almost totally irrelevant.
    “Coached” a veteran-led side at home. Still his greatest accomplishment. Then takes over Germany’s richest, most successful club and proceeds to not even last a full season before getting whacked. He didn’t even last a full season. This man, who we want to manage our national team has been a manager for a grand total of 79 matches and and only 57 if you don’t count friendlies.

    So do I, doesn’t make me qualified either.

    I’m going to detail this in a new post in the next 24 hours but here are a list of people who I’d rather see than Klinsmann and who I think might get at least asked to interview by Gulati.

    Schmid, Nowak, Capello, Nicol, Low, Antic, and Scolari.

    What establishment? Who would he upset? Name some names. Don’t be one of the mouth-breathing paranoids who think there is an unseen hand manipulating the USSF into bad decisions.

    Again.. back up your charge here. Has anyone authoritative ever been quoted saying as much?

    You’re right, I was slightly too negative about the USA’s defense. In the end, they only shutout they managed was against a team that simply never bothered to attack (Algeria). In the end, the defenders as players weren’t good enough. Instead of giving up bundles of goals, they gave up occasional goals at the beginning of matches. It happens. I’ve moved on.

    Here’s the perfect example of what I fear… Considering the money it would take to sign Klinsmann, would Gulati have the stones to fire him if the US got off to a similar start in 2014 qualifying that Mexico did in 2010 with Eriksson?

    I’m more than open to good reasons why Klinsmann should be hired. Where are young players who say he aided their development? Where are other coaches or managers who say that Klinsmann has been an influence? I’d love to see some of that. I’m always open to changing my mind.

    But so far, all I see in defense of Klinsmann is the usual of use of him by US Soccer fans as a savior that they can pin all their hopes, fears, and paranoid theories on to.

  12. Sorry Aaron,

    Klinsman has a point.
    Should he be hired by Gulati? Not necessarily but hate to tell ya, we really need to offer more youngsters the opportunities to play at the highest levels of soccer in this country.
    It can’t be in a pay to play system.

  13. That part I agree with. But we’re not hiring him just to do the big picture youth development stuff, we’re also hiring him to actually coach the team. What about his record as a coach makes you think he’s the right person for that job?

  14. I with you Aaron. I am sick and tired of hearing we need to get down to the grassroots or inner city playgrounds to find players. In the Arizona/Texas/So Cal Markets – it is rare to find a quality side without a fair number of latino players. To generalize and say the reason U.S. Soccer isn’t competitive is because we don’t have many minority players competing is bull-shit..

    This undercurrent or thought process is what I fear the most….(comment removed)….especially if the current US Academy scouting hierarchy (also predominately latin) remains the same. If the recent Dallas Cup U20 call up (whom Rongren chastised as not playing with the heart to wear the badge) and now a special “hispanic” U20 camp being held by Rongren in SF, we are in trouble.

    Balance Balance Balance. If a kid is blue, black, green, brown or white – if he can play and his desire and hunger to compete and achieve is there – choose him. But choose him based on the merit of his upside to compete on the worlds stage rather than the color of his skin or worse, his economic status.

  15. 1. Are you familiar with the changes in the academy system in the country and the growing number of free opportunities for elite players?

    2. Pay to play is not a US-only system. Soccer coaching is not a charity in other countries. Are there necessary changes to how we do things and the level of cost? Of course. But the notion that no child ANYWHERE in the world has ever paid to play soccer is absurd and one of the roadblocks to serious discussion about the issues we face.

  16. I’m don’t necessarily want Klinsman as our coach.

    But your ad hominem attack on him is over the top and unnecessary. Why not simply discuss his points?

    I happen to agree with Klinsman’s points. I also agree with your point that change and improvement is slowly taking place. Most of it is being driven by the MLS. None by USSF.

    So why are you going off on Klinsman for stating an opinion that many share?

  17. I’m more than open to Klinsmann being the next manager. Of the list you put out, the name that intrigues me is Nowak. I think Nowak is overrated as a club coach because his management style wears thin on players after a couple of seasons. He also doesn’t rotate his players and burns them out before the end of the season. None of those flaws is likely to be a major factor for a national team coach and he could be a real possibility. However, if I had a choice of US based coaches, I’d pick Kinnear or Schmid.

  18. I have no idea whether he’d be a good coach for the US. But your original post suggested he wouldn’t, and the evidence provided for that claim was a diatribe from him about *policy*, something not normally in the job description.

    I’m with Brian.

  19. This clip was presented by a local radio host in Dallas who “thinks” he knows soccer, but really doesn’t have a clue. As I was listening I was thinking many of the same thoughts you expressed Aaron. Despite living in the US for 12 years and supposedly being “heavily involved” in the game, he still fails to recognize many of the actual initiatives put into place by both US Soccer and MLS. So he was either playing the part of the foreign football know it all for the ESPN cameras or he’s woefully ignorant about soccer development in the US. Either way, I’m not a huge fan of him being our next National team manager.

    I want Schmid.

  20. I’m not that big of a fan either. Actually, I could go either way. I’m just not a big fan of acting like someone who coached a team (sure they were already good) to the semifinals of the World Cup and took his club (sure they were already good) to the quarterfinals of the Champions League and was in third place in its league when he got fired is an absolute soccer imbecile and will set the national team back.

  21. Sure it matters. It shows he has experience at the highest levels of soccer. It isn’t the ONLY criteria, but it does matter.

    Yes, he took a veteran team and completely changed their style of play. This team was widely considered to be no up to the caliber of past German sides and still led them to 3rd place. As for Bayern, they had problems adjusting to his coaching, but looked much better in second half of season. Came in second to a team that was a one year wonder.

    Good, look forward to it.

    Just look at the nameplates on USSF. Start with Gulati and work your way down.

    Well, he didn’t fire Bradley when the US wasn’t looking good (and it cost the US, dearly). I don’t think that anyone in US Soccer would fire a coach during qualifying, period. They are just too conservative.

    I don’t think there is a ‘savior’ out there for the US. To me, Klinsmann provides an opportunity to go in a different direction than we are currently heading. Right now, any decent US College coach would be able to guide the US through qualifying, period. We are just that good and there aren’t enough other good teams in our group to challenge us (at least not anytime soon). That is the problem. USSF has grown content to keep sending a team to the WC and collect the $$$$ that goes along with it. The problem is that, since 1994, do you really believe that the US Men’s program has really significantly improved? I don’t.

    The insight that Klinsmann brings (and I’m sure there are others as well) is that the way youth are trained/discovered and the focus of these players needs to change. Yes, MLS has started to go to an academy system, but these systems still lag far behind the regional USSF led ODP, DDP, etc. They also have some of the same problems of allowing kids who can afford them to get there.

    I’ve seen ODP, DDP, regional league, etc up close and personal. The bottom line is that there are still way too many people at the top of these ‘systems’ (directors, long time coaches, etc) who are more interested in self promotion and money than player development.

    My worry is that the US stays stagnant and in the next 15-20 years IS passed by CR, Honduras, Canada, etc. That is where we are currently heading, IMHO.

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