World Cup champ, Euro champ, Germany 2006 coach, Bayern Munich, blah, blah, blah.
Looks great from 10,000 feet, huh? That’s the resume/pedigree trap. Don’t fall into it, because it loves to claim victims.
Hopefully it’s understood by now that sparkling player resumes don’t correlate with quality coaching. And coaching resumes? Well, we need to be careful.
How many of us followed his 2006 team religiously? Did we analyze every game, every roster call-up or fluctuation, and read or listen to [legit] soccer pundits at the time? How about training sessions? Did we go to any of those?
I didn’t. Sure I watched all his games – sometimes twice. Five years later, all I seem to recall is a traditionally strong Germany, but nothing impressive. So I’m not exactly star-struck.
But, and it’s a huge but, here’s 6 pluses we’ve never had before:
- He has soccer DNA.
- If the stories of him rejecting US Soccer’s past offers, and the reasons for the rejections, are true, then he better understands the requirements for long-term success AND he’s in it for the right reasons.
- He’s made public statements of what he perceives to be the issues with US Soccer and in a tone as if they are correctable. That alone is making him accountable for progress in those areas.
- Control. I don’t know how much authority he commands, but if it’s “his people” who will run the youth national teams and scouting network, then they too will have soccer DNA and be aligned with #3 above.
- A stronger global network and credibility. Klinsi’s player recommendation to a South American or Euro club will carry far more weight than Mickey Mouse. Our general American player pool – not just the national team – stands to benefit.
- More eyeballs. Clubs around the world will be following this USMNT more than ever before. As a result, the exposure our players receive will be unprecedented.
If he does nothing more than reshuffle the roster and get some fresh, skilled players on the team, that will be a huge improvement. So tired of kick and run.
Gary Kleiban says
I kind of agree.
Funny how little is needed to declare this a good change.
Excellent post as always. For a quick example of coaching credentials not being necessarily a good indicator for coaching quality: See Sven Goran Eriksen and how he did with Mexico. I agree it is nice to see someone come in with a new perspective, and even though credentials don’t make you good or bad, he has both played and coaches at the top level and been around that environment, he knows what it takes, and on top of that has many contacts that he can go to for advice who have also had success at the top level of the game. Looking at the players he called in, it was just nice to see some new names, and more of a latin influence. And the coaches he has been bringing in seem to mostly be guys who have top level playing experience, but also understand the American player/person, and generally seem to be some of the more skillful players that have represented the US such as Ramos and Reyna.
Gary Kleiban says
Exciting times ahead, even if it’s suspense induced excitement.
Little troubled about this Brek Shea thing, but it would be stupid of me to draw even one conclusion at this point.
Have you seen this video, Gary? The kid seems to be a great finisher…
Gary Kleiban says
Just watched it.
I’ve never liked him. He has an elephant’s touch and from what I’ve seen, zero brains tactically. Maybe I should revisit him, but I doubt he’s transformed into something better than a racetrack horse.
There have been other players with terrible technical/tactical qualities that I’ve hated with a passion, but were international stars. Enter one Julio Cruz. I couldn’t stand the sight of that guy, but he was a good finisher at the club level!
Brek Shea? I want to barf just saying his name. Sorry for being crass. It’s just that for me, this player embodies everything that’s wrong with US Soccer. We’ll see if he’s got international chops. That game is a different beast than MLS. And a good coach has the capacity to bring a shine to a player that hasn’t been seen before. So like I said, I won’t judge Klinsi on this yet.
Just a quick comment: don’t you think MLS needs to become the same beast as the European/International game? wouldn’t that do wonders for the game here?
With Klinsmann, we now have:
— Real hope and optimism for true change and new ideas and new blood
— More interest from media and the average American soccer fan. There’s a buzz. This can lead to marketing dollars to invest in player development.
— Excitement and energy in youth ranks. Even my U13 son can feel the vibes. New hope smaller, skillful players will get a chance.
In the end, Klinsi is bringing in a breath of fresh air, a new vision we’ve never, ever had and it’s a nice feeling!
Gary Kleiban says
Feels like I’ve been drowning out at sea since ’96, and now at least I’ve been thrown a life vest.
Don’t know what his vision is yet …
Agreed Klinsman brings something that has been missing to the USMNT setup. He made his name as a quality player 25 years ago and he had a brief and fairly successful stint with a traditional power back in the mid 2000’s with the German MNT at the WC. Many expected him to fail with a young German team going through a rebuilding phase and they surprised many with a good run on home soil.
But his time at Bayern Munich brought his star crashing back to earth. He comes across as a reformer with some quirky traits. He kind of reminds me of another ex Spurs player who went into management only to flame out early….Glenn Hoddle. He enjoyed brilliant playing career, both in Englnad and in Europe, and became a media darling as a young manager. Then landed the England job and BANG! His eccentric and quirky personality and ideas led to him being toppled from his perch with no love lost.
Hopefully Klinsmann will avoid the same fate……only time will tell. Glad to see he’s widening the player pool net and giving some younger/less traditional players a chance to shine.
Gary Kleiban says
Haven’t see you here before Micky. Welcome!
It comes down to whether he can balance everything. He has to get results with the first team while striking a pragmatic path for improving the future. It will be difficult to succeed at either. I worry about sacrificing one for the other because both are so important.
On the one hand he need to provide something to stem the rising tide of Mexican supremacy at virtually every age level. On the other he needs to face up to the many headed monster that is US Soccer (USSF, College, MLS, and Youth). Can he make decision that will be pragmatic even if his SoccerDNA knows its not optimal? He has limits on money, talent and control. Ultimately, the forces in the game will resist change because they are doing just fine with the way things are.
I’d be interested in how he moves forward on each track, one to make the Men’s team more competitive, and get the younger teams moving forward. The second is to fix the pipeline of players from the youth ranks where our development approach has significant and pervasive flaws.
Yes I think his professional standing will make a difference and the eyes of the World will be on him. This should help some of our senior players move to better situations, but its the long run that really is the heart of the matter. He needs to build a legacy.
Gary Kleiban says
The hydra that is US Soccer. Yes, I love it!
Fixing the pipeline requires federation intervention in the form of incentives and punishments. Anything different, while still influential, will be less effective.
The hydra is definitely the forces of “we like things just the way they are” are firmly in place. We have to something to upset the equilibrium with a reward-punishment system that does not involve (much) money. Power, prestige, and success for states and clubs is where influence can we wielded. The education that I spoke about a few days ago is part of the answer, since most of the soccer community in the USA can’t recognize shit when they see it, and most of the game here reeks.
A few issues: we don’t play the same game across the Country at the youngest ages (11v11 at U-11 for huge swaths of the country). These associations (Texas N/S, Cal N/S, are tournament engines) It hasn’t moved for years. Why? Everyone knows that the small-sided play is better and more appropriate for the younger players. Its not the core of the problem, but rather symptomatic of the USA’s attitude toward the game, and the forces of the status quo.
Player selection at ODP/Nationals etc. is still poor and overly tilted toward size and speed. We need to be ruthless in stopping the forward movement of players who do not have the level of skill and intelligence (if they have size or speed so much the better, but skill/intelligence are not negotiable) to play at the Regional/National level, by not selecting them, and providing the states & clubs feedback on the reason. In other words, no more Marvell Wynn’s!
Clubs and states that employ the normal shit American style need to be refuted. Their success breeds more of the same. Unfortunately, this is where the college and pro game factor in heavily. Teams playing this style are effective in youth victory (state, tournaments, college/pro placement), which is then an effective marketing tool. Where I live (a small state, so few Regional champs), its the number college scholarships that really matters for a club. As long as the college game, is the travesty it currently is, we will encourage the development of mindless running and physicality over skill and thought. The MLS is largely more of the same. If a club succeeds through doing the wrong things, it will continue.
enough for now!