Sunday, July 31, 2011

US Soccer Did it Right ... Willkommen Herr Klinsmann

From rigid to rambunctious: U.S. Soccer finally lands Jurgen Klinsmann

No longer will the success and failures of U.S. Soccer get pinned on the rigid American style of play. By announcing the hiring of Jürgen Klinsmann yesterday, U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati not only nabbed the team’s first foreign coach since 1995, he has given the keys to an offensive-minded showman unafraid to reinvent the system.

As coach of Germany for the 2006 World Cup, Klinsmann, who turns 47 on Saturday, bucked a longstanding trend by transforming the Germans from a mechanical defensive unit to smooth attackers.

He’s undertaking a similar task with the Americans, who have never produced a great striker and were outclassed by rival Mexico in the last three matchups. ...

See the whole article here, courtesy of NY Daily News.

Kicking Back Comments: Excellent hiring decision. It does give me a bit of pause however. Everyone is excited about this and is signaling it as a turning point for the US National team. OK, fair enough.

But, is there no domestic coach that can handle this? Or does just putting a "foreigner" at the helm (he lives in CA after all), our saving grace? Now that is not the whole picture to be certain, Klinsmann was an accomplished international soccer phenom as a player. Interesting however that our last two coaches really had no international playing experience. Bob Bradley had none. His playing career seemed to end at Princeton. Bruce Arena had very limited, making a single appearance for the US National Team in 1973, and player professionally for the Tacoma Tides in 1976 as a goalkeeper.

Please note, I'm not knocking here, just observing. I only played college ball too, so Arena's accomplishments are significant to me. But were they the crack in the US Soccer domestic armor ... we don't have anyone yet who can coach the US Team with significant international experience.

Prior to these guys was Bora Milutinović, who assembled and led an inspired US Team in 1994. Bora too has significant playing experience.

It makes me wonder. When will a domestic coach "be ready", to bring the US forward as a soccer power? Is it really when this generation of US MNT players gets older, and joins the coaching ranks?

That said about our coaches ... what about our referees?


  1. Is playing experience at the international level the prime skill a US coach needs to be able to do a good job or is it "international" coaching experience the key?

    Did the "Special One" have alot of international "playing" experience or is it his experience "coaching" at that level?

    Isn't it the skill in "matching" the right players against the opponents, and tactics at the HIGHEST level: International Competition the biggest necessary skill?

    I know that the "highest" level of playing experience gives a referee a heads up in getting to the FIFA level. You NEED much more to be successful :Courage,Handing people in VERY INTENSE situations, KNOWLEDGE of the laws frontwards and backwards, etc.

    Just my thoughts

  2. Anon,

    Agreed on all points. I would opine for one to survive as an international player, one has developed all the qualities you described (courage, etc.).

    This may include matching players, as there is a "sense" that develops in those best players in the world to see what "clicks." Now that said, there also needs to be some book work to go along with that, which I am sure has/is being done.

    Regarding players as referees, generally they make excellent referees with some training. Again you can't teach common sense or soccer sense. These too are critical to being successful as a referee. Book work alone won't get it done at the highest level.