Klinsmann misses the mark with comments questioning USMNT player belief

Jurgen Klinsmann


One thing Jurgen Klinsmann has never been afraid of doing since becoming head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team is speaking his mind. He will praise players, and criticize them, and speak frankly about the state of American Soccer.

Klinsmann spoke his mind again recently in an interview with ESPN, stating that, in his opinion, American players are held back from success in Europe by a lack of belief rather than a lack of ability. A statement that surely turned some heads in the American soccer community.

“It needs to take the U.S. team, in a World Cup to go into at least a quarterfinal, if not a semifinal, to give more credibility to American players,” Klinsmann told ESPN. “But it’s also the American players, when they go to Europe, to prove it, that they become big players in Europe. So it’s also down to do they have the belief? They have the qualities, but do they have the belief?

“Because you go into a European top club and if you want to play in a top five, six teams in England or in Germany or in Italy, you have 15, 16, 17 national team players on the roster. So you have to kick somebody out. I think the American player still doesn’t have this last belief that they can kick somebody out. This is something that they have to build.”

In my latest Goal.com column, I took issue with Klinsmann’s comments, stating that he missed the mark with the notion that it is a lack of belief, and not ability, that has led to so few Americans playing in UEFA Champions League.

Give the column a read and let me know what you think of Klinsmann’s comments. Agree with him, or think his comments were off the mark?

Share your thoughts below.

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268 Responses to Klinsmann misses the mark with comments questioning USMNT player belief

  1. Scweeb says:

    To be honest i can’t even remember what you wrote on that article cause the trolls on that site are horrible. best thing about sites like this and theshinguardian are that the community is pro USA and we try and have decent discussions. But i agree the statements JK was making was to the General USA soccer base. And i think more to the up coming group of players.

  2. Brit says:

    If you are the coach and you the biggest competition just about to start do you want to say in the media that your players are not as capable as the players on other teams? I don’t think so. You want to be Gene Hackman in Hoosiers measuring the basketball court and telling the players they deserve to be there, they just have to believe it.

    Seems like Klinsmann is doing the right thing here.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      Big difference between saying “All you have to do is believe and you’ll make it” and “you would have made it but you don’t believe in yourself.” The whole “belief” thing was a bit much, but as I said in my piece, I know what he was trying to do, just think he missed the mark with his choice of words.

      • Ryan in NYC by way of NC says:

        Language barrier maybe? I mean he IS German. I feel what he was trying to say – I just think he was trying to be too clever in how he said it.

      • addage says:

        Landon Donovan is a poster child for Klinsmann’s view. Here is a very good player with even better ability. He has chosen to be a big fish in a small pond.

        I don’t think that’s true of every American.

        I don’t think Klinsmann is espousing a “tinkerbell” theory here– it’s not shouting “I believe”.

        I do think he is saying there is a mental toughness necessary to make the jump to true elite level. Some of our younger players have seemed to feel a sense of entitlement about their abilities. I like Juan Agudelo but I think he is capable of doing more. Maybe these are the things Klinsmann is talking about.

        • bottlcaps says:

          You can have all the belief in yourself you want. But it comes down to your coach or manager, deciding, not you, if you are going to play, which is based USUALLY on ability, not belief. You can be better than 98 percent of all the players in the league and still, if the person you must beat out for your position is only marginally better, the coach will give him the game-day nod.
          And most people, especially Klinsmann, forget that LD had to pull teeth to get loaned to Everton after signing a big contract with the MLS. This was at a time before there was no Beckham or Henry or any other DP. and the MLS had Donovan as it’s poster boy and refused to let him go on transfer, even after a lucrative offer from the EPL team!. It wasn’t Donovan who wanted to be a Big Fish in a Small Pond, it was the MLS, And it was important as it gave the MLS some star power and set the basis for Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley to return at the height of their careers, because, like LD’s, it was not a sacrifice to be part of a movement to make the league better.

          • KNPonder says:

            Donovan did not have to sign that deal in 2009. The loan with Everton was part of that deal. If he wanted out of MLS, then he would not have signed that lucrative 4 year deal. I am not knocking the guy, he did what was best for him. However, I do not believe it is fair to say that MLS is guilty of making Donovan the “big fish in the small pond”. That is the path he chose.

            • GW says:


              My understanding is that MLS would not okay the first Everton loan w/o LD’s signature on that contract extension.

              And he allegedly knew he needed that loan so they had him over a barrel.

              If you recall, that loan went a long way to boosting LD’s confidence for what was a very fine 2010 WC performance.

          • Josh D says:

            Beckham was here before Donovan went on loan to Everton. And MLS didn’t hold a gun to Donovan’s head and say, “Sign.”

            The ones who really want to test themselves abroad are the likes of Agudelo, Holden, and Cameron who patiently wait for their contracts to end so they can escape MLS’ iron-fisted hands.

            • Shyam says:

              Cameron was a transfer. Your point still stands regarding the other two, but if MLS had dug in their heels on Cameron he’d still be in Houston.

            • The Imperative Voice says:

              Agudelo nearly flushed this cycle with a disappearing act while waiting out MLS.

              Cameron’s play has been uneven since moving abroad.

              Holden isn’t even playing right now.

              I get what you are driving at in terms of controlling contractual destiny, but all that glitters is not gold. Going to Europe is sometimes either the best or worst thing a player does. It made Dempsey but has more or less derailed Adu’s whole career.

        • Josh D says:

          Perfect example. Donovan could have been the first American superstar. He has the talent, just didn’t have the heart or guts to dig it out.

          Guys like Keller and McBride are the true pioneers who really fought against American bias. Any player playing today who complains that they aren’t getting time because they are American are making excuses. It has always been about talent, unless the coach just doesn’t like you which (newsflash) happens to everyone regardless of birth nation.

          The media is beginning to turn on youths heading abroad and failing. I admire them for trying. Until kids are playing soccer 24/7 since they could walk; until they are being trained by fully licensed and experienced coaches from the age of 12; until they begin playing professionally at age 16/17 they won’t ever progress farther than their counterparts abroad.

          Klinis is spot on: During any given 90 minutes, we can beat any team in the world. Will we do so by dominating possession and shots? Nope. But we have the players to drag out wins.

          The last World Cup showed that the US performs better when we’re scored on first. We’ve always liked the underdog mentality: it takes away the pressure.

          What Klinsi wants is for players to take the pressure on from the first whistle. That’s what believing is; not making a comeback every.single.bloody.game. That’s what champions do. It’s what we do in the Gold Cup. Now it’s time to do so in the World Cup.

          • Chewp says:

            One of the best posts to sum up our soccer situation. All the folks drinking the Bradley and Demps to MLS kool aid are nuts.

          • Rory Miller says:

            I must not have seen your credentials on determining someone’s heart and guts.
            I am not going to fault Donovan for not living up to some overly opinionated fans’ ideas of how he should live his life. He tried a few times in Germany and turned down several opportunities in Mexico to build MLS and enjoy a lifestyle he liked. Fans need to realize these players are also people and they have to live their life. There’s probably not a single one of us who couldn’t move abroad SOMEWHERE and make more money or be more important to the locals there than we are to our current situations but not doing so doesn’t mean we lack the guts or heart.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          This is stale Landon criticism. Landon started out abroad with Leverkusen, was there 5 years, came back to SJ and LA (with a stint back at Bayer to finish his contract), then went on Munich and Everton loans. He may have become the face of MLS in the late 00s but as his career progressed he was actually successful when he went abroad. In the Everton loans he showed extremely well and the Merseysiders were simply unwilling to pony up.

          Bradley had a few successful stints abroad and then got caught up in a Roma transition period/ numbers game.

          Dempsey was extremely successful at Fulham and then made the proverbial one move too many to Spurs, where the unreliable AVB used him less. He did come back to Seattle but now he’s back on loan at Fulham.

          Jozy goes up and down but had sufficient success at AZ.

          I’m trying to figure out who we’re talking about because my perception is Klinsi is being harsh on his own players, when he should know their resumes better than most and really know better. Unnecessary drama.

      • Sabella says:

        I think there is validity to the “belief” comment. I’m not suggesting it applies universally but the fact is, one needs both ability and confidence in oneself to succeed at any level. There have been many times when I have been watching our guys play abroad and felt like they were holding back, almost unwilling to take a chance one v one, etc. Conversely, Dempsey, may have achieved more than his ability should have allowed for due to his belief. I think he is the exception, though.

        The value of belief and attitude should not be underestimated.

      • Tab says:

        Think you’re missing perspective here Ives.

        Klinsmann’s words were pretty modest and reasonable. He talked about the importance of self-belief and how we need players in the Champions League. He knows that few American players are really at that level technically. But he — rightly — is demanding more.

        This is just basic sports psychology. He wants players to push themselves relentlessly.

        And these comments are also largely about and for the future.

        What he said really wasn’t unpleasant or barbed.

        • Tab says:


          Things change quickly. And the line between what is talent (or technical ability) and what is conviction and belief is hard to pin down.

          Take even Spain. We think of them as almost peerless in producing amazing ballers. But before they finally beat Italy in 2008, they had this monkey on their back. Many of the players discussed how they didn’t think they could do it. That turning themselves into the glorious team they are now was in some important respect a psychological transformation.

          Something similar holds even for our best players. Who of course are not this moment at that highest technical level.

          • Rory Miller says:

            It should also be notes that Klinsy seems to talk to the press WAY TOO MUCH. Maybe it’s because they seek him out since he was a star player but hardly a day goes by that I don’t see something in my news feeds about him.

            • GW says:

              People like you used to blast BB for never saying anything.

              And in the absence of comments from BB most of you made stuff up.

              At least this way, JK owns the controversy.

        • baldomero123 says:


      • Nic D "the TX 2 Stepper" says:

        People don’t have to like the truth but we need to call it what it is …

        Juergen spoke no lie. Only a few times have I seen the US look like they had belief.

        2010 World Cup against Algeria
        This last Gold Cup
        Bosnia Herzegovina friendly
        And maybe a few others

        Nearly every time the US takes the field they look and they play as if they are inferior to their opponents. The SWAG is not there. The BELIEF is NOT there.

        Jozy SHOCKED the hell out of everyone for the last couple of weeks because while he is still not scoring he has looked the part and played the part of a physically dominating Forward. He ain’t gonna score but he is gonna give it everything for 90 minutes. The CB’s he’s up against have been getting a man with some belief. His team has been better because he has been better.

        The US always looks better when Dempsey is closer to the front line because he believes that when he gets his opening he is gonna score. He oozes confidence that says get me the ball and see what happens. Jozy had the same swag last summer.

        When Dempsey is in the midfield tripping and falling and not pulling the trigger on his shots the US struggles. Same goes for Donovan (recently upgraded from Landy-Cakes) because when he believes he is better than his opponent he mercilessly runs them up and down the flank and out hustles and out works them for 90 minutes. When he plays like the inferior man in the match up our right wing disappears along with the return of “Cakes”.

        Confidence, belief or swag or whatever you call it is far too often missing from this team. And why?

        Because these guys are NOT challenging themselves to the point they no other place to go.

        David whips Goliath’s ass not by luck but because he honed his skills against lions, bears and other predators as a teenage shepherd boy.

        Klinsman FTW!

      • quozzel says:

        Right now something to consider is that MLS is growing…and incidentally throwing out some very large DP contracts to American players with “name” recognition.

        If I’m Michael Bradley, no way I pass on $36 million dollars and guaranteed playing time with Toronto FC just to ride the bench at a fifth that for Roma. Michael Bradley is a professional soccer player and when a deal like that presents itself…you sign it. You have to. Likewise when Seattle comes calling with a similar deal for Dempsey…again, you sign it.

        Americans will bust their heads against a wall in Europe…if that’s the only way to make those big dollars. But the rise of MLS is sort of putting a damper on that necessity.

        I know we as Americans are dying to see our guys “take over” the big leagues…I also don’t think it’s going to happen. That implies a supply/demand imbalance that just isn’t going to happen. MLS continues to produce better and better talent…but MLS is also more and more able to sign and hold onto the top-end guys.

        I personally think MLS is one of the most underrated leagues on the planet right now. Mexico (barely) placed fourth in CONCACAF this qualifying cycle…and it had everything to do with MLS. Because MLS isn’t just helping the USMNT; MLS scouts have done a very good job of turning over the likes of Honduras, Costa Rica, and Jamaica for talent…they’ve figured out that $100,000-$200,000 buys you one heckuva Honduran soccer player.

        We saw with our own eyes during his loan spell with Everton that Landon Donovan was capable of being a difference-maker in the EPL. Everton beat EVERYBODY – Man U, Arsenal, Chelsea, City – when Donovan was there…I remember when he was on his tear, the English press starting murmuring about: “okay, he’s killing the lower part of the table, wait until he sees Ashely Cole.” Donovan then proceeded to break Ashley Cole’s foot going in for a 50/50 ball, and not coincidentally, Everton beat Chelsea 2-1 that day, and even before then he was pretty comprehensively eating Ashley Cole’s lunch.

        Landon Donovan was better than Ashley Cole, at least in 2010. I saw it. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it…though it seems many have short memories.

        It’s worth noting that Ashley Cole was until this season untouchable in Chelsea’s lineup, and got the sort of deals no American was ever going to be offered. And no EPL team would answer the comparatively paltry $10 million transfer fee MLS was demanding for Landon Donovan…and this despite the fact that every time Donovan scored, the Everton faithful started chanting “USA, USA, USA!”

        So yeah, on this, I think Klinsmann is maybe missing the point. “Belief” is great…but why beat your head against that kind of wall, when MLS is willing to swing a DP deal for you and get you five times the money (and respect) you’d command in Europe?

      • beachbum says:

        agree with you fwiw. thanks for making the case too

      • chad says:

        He’s German, read between the lines or determine what he meant before assuming.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      as has been shown, players will make whatever career moves they want, no matter what klinsmann says.

      my biggest problem with his statement is that he doesn’t seem to know that we’ve already been to a world cup quarter-final. he should probably know that.

  3. William the Terror says:

    Seems like he setting the bar pretty high. He wants players on Champions League teams, but, at the same time, you don’t get a call-up if you’re not playing regularly. So, while he talks about having the belief to push your way into that top 16 or 17 on a Champions League team, that’s really not going to be good enough in the end. He really wants players who are regular starters on CL teams. You can regularly make the bench on a CL team, but if you’re not match fit and playing a lot, he’s calling in Beckerman instead.

    • GW says:

      “Seems like he setting the bar pretty high. ”

      That is the point.

      • Jovins says:

        But he’s rewarding players like Beckerman (who has never challenged himself in Europe) while punishing someone like Klejstan who almost certainly would be one of the top MLS players.

        So the end result is that players are rewarded for being slightly less talented and never having the opportunity.

        • GW says:


          Maybe Capt. Crofton never challenged himself in Europe because no one wanted him there. They have to offer to buy you right? I don’t think JK holds that against him.

          I love Kyle and he would be a fantastic player if he had any talent; but he doesn’t. Or at least I thought he didn’t but he has come a long way since JK started using him more regularly. And he has shown himself to be a little more talented than I thought.

          Beckerman is where he is because he does what the manager asks him to do. He is what they call late bloomer and he has the heart of a lion and more desire than anyone else. Cruyff always used to say that the fastest man on the field was the one who started running first.

          Beckerman is where he is because of his heart, grit, brains and desire and just a bit more talent than I thought.

          In that sense he the perfect example of how far self-belief and desire can take you.

          JK is not punishing Sacha. Sacha’s problem is he is not as good as Mikey and does not really fit in anywhere else.

        • beachbum says:

          excellent point Jovins, thanks

    • Dirk McQuigley says:

      Take Klestjan and Jones for example. Both have played in the CL and one is now sitting on the bench and the other is playing in Turkey. Both players are not certain of getting on the plane to Brazil either. Champions League is a nice aspiration but right now, if I were the manager, I would rather my players getting regular playing time and peaking at the right time. In the long run, I think Klinsi is correct, but the reality is that no Americans are going to be playing in the CL THIS season. Post WC, there will be some in Europa League, including Sunderland (which may end up in the EL if Man. City, their League Cup final opponent, gets a spot in the CL which they are on pace to do.

  4. Karl L. says:

    He’s not that far off the mark. American players don’t seem to have the stamina to fight day in and day out to either hold on to a spot or to move up to a better team.
    Skills wise we all know our boys are far behind the best in the world.

  5. Brian says:

    No need to reach so far. It is just a standard motivational tool “you have the talent, i believe in you, now believe in yourself and you can do it”. In fact I can’t be sure but I think that coupled with positive thinking was the gist of ‘the secret” (a seeming standard on all ladies bookshelves). I doubt he is talking about anyone in particular. why would he? any angle he works has got to be made in order to get the best performance out of each individual come june.

    • William the Terror says:

      Spend a lot of time inspecting ladies’ bookshelves, do you? Whatever works!

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      If he’s not talking about anybody in particular then what led to the comment? What leads him to believe a lack of belief is the problem? Doesn’t come out of thin air. Something led him to that comment and that notion. While I do think he’s a smart guy, and has a method to his madness, I doubt he’s full-blown Mourinho and concocting something without something as a trigger leading him to say this.

      • Mike Santoro says:

        I think his comment is very obviously pointed at Bradley and Dempsey. Im sure he’s pissed that instead of transferring to a UCL team and fighting to make the game day roster while risking not getting playing time and not going to Brazil they came to MLS. He hasnt hid the fact that he’s disappointed with them. With all the pre-season MLS talk it seems like it boiled over and he was taking a barb at those two in particular.

        • Ives Galarcep says:

          Agree Mike. In his eagerness to make a point he made way too general a statement, while also offering what comes off as a thinly-veiled jab at two of his best players.

          Klinsmann’s done a great job as USA coach, and there’s no denying he does a good job of motivating players, but folks need to at least consider the possibility that he could have missed the mark. Seems to me there are some folks who think he’s infallible and everything he does and says is perfect. It really isn’t. He’s done well, but in this instance, he missed the mark.

          • dikranovich says:

            it is interesting to hear coach klinsmann talk about hopefully getting jozy into a big club after the world cup. that would suggest he is ready to lean on jozy regardless of his present or future form.

            ives, is it possible that you have it wrong on this one???

          • Josh D says:

            Not sure how he misses the mark. He’s sending out a message to the team that he’s not happy. A poor call is saying specific players. He didn’t. We all know who he means, but those players have saved face because he didn’t call them out. Is he meant to be silent?

            What else is he supposed to do? His best players are now playing in MLS. Beyond Donovan, we have not had a successful attacking player come out of there. Guys like EJ imploded when facing teams outside of the region; and guys like Altidore didn’t step up until they moved away.

            Both Dempsey and Bradley have admitted that they “couldn’t say no” to the money offered to them. Klinsi wants them to think of more than just money; he wants them challenging themselves – and beyond physically, they won’t be challenged in MLS when compared to England or Italy.

            Klinsi makes mistakes. Here he’s doing what any coach would do: taking a stance without harming his players directly.

        • Duke says:

          JK talks out of both sides of his mouth a lot. Players that try to get to a higher level and fail to get minutes… he loses their phone number. Parkhurst is the latest example after the disaster in Germany. Shea is another that has been hurt by moving abroad. Dempsey was going anyplace at Spurs and Bradley was falling out of favor in Italy too.

          I dont blame any of these guys for coming back to MLS. After all, they have to earn as much as possible while they can and if MLS offers Dempsey or Bradley crazy money, then theyre crazy not to take it but the real bottom line is that its better to play 90 minutes every week than to ride Euro pine

          • Joe+G says:

            But it’s magical *European* pine!

          • Byrdman says:

            Fair comment. I dont have a problem with a coach saying push yourself. But the example of parkhurst is fair. Shea hasbeen horrible the last 18 months.

          • Nic D "the TX 2 Stepper" says:

            Not true. He called in Shea, Parkhurst and etc. after they moved and SAT. The only persons he did not provide chances to we’re actually get PT (Lichaj-unrated and Chandler-dog house?)

            He’s trotted out players who have ridden the a Euro pine while not calling in 90 minute players.

          • beachbum says:

            +1 great post Duke

        • tw says:

          My thoughts exactly. He may also be speaking in general terms about how he’d like to Americans make that last leap to regular Champions League starter level. (I think Beasley was actually there briefly.)

      • Lil' Zeke says:

        Ah but you showed your hand mentioning Mourinho! It’s clear to me today’s bone of contention is a canard calculated to take the pressure off your players.

  6. JayAre says:

    Klinsman has a point though. Americans in Europe have the cushion of MLS when they can’t fight for spots anymore they’re back home collecting a nice check where as a lot of other players can’t just run back to their home countries. Love it or leave it Klinsman really pushes his players to be the best

    • William the Terror says:

      Europeans and South Americans also have the same luxury of collecting nice MLS checks. See any of several DP flops. At least the returning Americans are doing it honestly and coming back while they can still play.

      • do says:

        but shouldn’t they keep proving themselves? If not for themselves, then for their country?

        • beachbum says:

          who says they aren’t? let’s see what happens this summer, if the MLS moves make MB and Clint and the rest turn into dog poop players or not. we’ll see

    • GW says:

      “Americans in Europe have the cushion of MLS when they can’t fight for spots anymore they’re back home collecting a nice check where as a lot of other players can’t just run back to their home countries.”

      Some Americans.

      • JayAre says:

        Namely Michael Parkhurst and Maurice Edu. 2 former champions league players who folded immediately things got hard. I think people are looking at MB and Dempsey way to hard, they’ve already accomplished a lot and gone where not many Americans have gone. What sucks is that those guys pave the way for guys a level below like Edu and Parkhurst only for them to flop and now we are back to square one. I think those are the people Jurgen was talking about not Dempsey or Bradley.

        • GW says:

          ” folded immediately things got hard”


          Both spent nearly a year trying to get PT.

          Edu went on loan to Turkey. Parkhurst is quoted as saying the only reason he is left Germany was because of the impending World Cup. Otherwise he would have stayed and fought for a place

          You are wrong.

        • Nic D "the TX 2 Stepper" says:

          Edu wanted Euro football in Turkey but the teams couldn’t agree on the price.

          Parkhurst had options in Europe (Denmark) but would have had to take a haircut which is the reason he left his UCL team to go to Germany ultimately to come home.

        • Dirk McQuigley says:

          And Edu had the severe misfortune of being on Rangers, which were dropped down to the third rung of Scottish football which had nothing to do with their performance on the pitch. That is how he ended up in Turkey and incidentally how Bocanegra ended up on a second division side in France. Rangers were in the CL not for nothing.

        • Eurosnob says:

          Very few people took an issue with Parkhurst and Edu returning to the MLS, moving to MLS is a good move for both. But someone like Bradley is a relatively young player, who has quality to be a starter on a very good team in a top 3 leage in Europe and face top notch competition day in and day out. This is how good players get better. They fight for their right to be on the field and they want compete against the best. Deuce has already remarked that the decision making in MLS is much slower than in Europe. The reality is that when Bradley and Deuce take the field at the WC, the team they face will be moving the ball much faster and crisper than the MLS teams.

  7. Gerard D. says:

    Don’t think it missed the mark at all.

    Can imagine his frustration. We have two marquee players that took the money and ran to a far inferior league when times started getting tough. Jozy–while clearly having his issues–is having another go at making it in the top flight and challenging himself. Bradley? No. Dempsey? Heck no.

    You can be absolutely sure that the market value for both Dempsey and Bradley is not what MLS paid for them. The league was not purchasing talent. It was purchasing brands.

    Look what it did to Dempsey. Seriously, look at how far he has fallen.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      So you think belief alone would have there be scores of Americans in the Champions League? Really? That’s a stretch by any measure. I agree that I’m sure he’s frustrated about Dempsey and Bradley, but having that frustration lead to a rather clumsy comment about lack of belief being why there aren’t more Americans in Champions league doesn’t make the comment any more true.

      If Dempsey had stayed at Tottenham, would he be playing Champions League soccer now? Nope. Wouldn’t even be playing it next year. Bradley is the one case you can really argue, but frustration with ONE player’s decision shouldn’t lead a coach to make such a blanket statement about “American players” as a group. That was clumsy and off the mark.

      • Gerard D. says:

        Both Bradley and Dempsey could be playing the Champions League next season if they stayed at their club.

        And you’re actually proving his point. They came to MLS. They both ran into adversity and came running home for a payday. Roma and Tottenham are both in line for Europa and potentially Champions League spots for next year.

        They could have stayed and fought for a spot, but they thought they weren’t making it further so look for non-European opportunities.

        And yes, frustration with a trend of players–sparked by a marquee star followed by another marquee star–the two players in the position to reach the ultimate level–is certainly enough.

        Even Landon Donovan deciding not to have a go in the EPL, opting to stay with the Galaxy. He’d be in line for a potential European spot as well.

        • Ives Galarcep says:

          Out of curiosity, did you actually read my column? I made it pretty clear that his comments were very likely driven by Dempsey and Bradley, but you don’t make a blanket statement about an entire pool of players because of your unhappiness with the moves made by two players.

          As for Dempsey and Bradley, you’re really going to chalk up Dempsey’s decision to a “lack of belief”? The guy gets offered a huge deal, more money than he’s ever made, at the age of 29 no less. So you’re saying because he chose a mega deal over spending a year and a half at Tottenham, where he MAYBE gets to play in Champions League, that it proves Klinsmann’s point? Nope, sorry, not really.

          I can see the argument being made for Bradley, but do you honestly think that a player who spent eight years in Europe fighting for playing time and starting jobs in three different leagues suddenly “lacked belief”? He was offered life-changing money, and as much as it was a surprise to see him come back at 26, I also can see how a guaranteed $40 million contract would make me consider coming home.

          And how did they come running home after running into adversity? They’ve both been in Europe six+ years, playing for different teams, and coaches, but NOW they’re “running home”? Sorry, but that’s a stretch. They didn’t go looking for “non-European opportunities”. They were approached with huge offers that MLS had never even offered before six months ago.

          • Josh D says:

            You could play the tabloid card and say that Bradley Junior has never been happy that his dad was fired. They both stay quiet about it when asked which means there’s still resentment. If you want a headline you could link Bradley’s move to a two-finger salute toward Klinsi and his system of coaching.

            And sorry, life changing is going from nothing to making a million a year. Life changing is not going from being rich to becoming richer.

            • GW says:

              Mr. D,

              “They both stay quiet about it when asked which means there’s still resentment If you want a headline you could link Bradley’s move to a two-finger salute toward Klinsi and his system of coaching. And sorry, life changing is going from nothing to making a million a year. Life changing is not going from being rich to becoming richer.”

              Being quiet means the Bradleys are smart and have nothing to say about JK. And there are any number of things that that could mean, resentment being only one.
              Both Bradleys know that JK is Mikey’s boss and both know there is nothing to be gained by getting into a pointless public conflict with him, one that would have no winners.

              And that would hurt the USMNT.

              And Mikey’s brand.

              I don’t know Mikey so maybe he is as petty and stupid as you portray him. And maybe he was a billionaire who prior to the TFC business was independently wealthy on par with Carlos Slim.

              But I tend to think he is a pretty sharp guy.
              40 million dollars, even for him is in fact life changing, not because of the cash amount but because of the connections he will make while shilling for the TFC brand.

              Life changing in this instance is about suddenly having a lot more options than for example, a guy like Boca, will have when he leaves the game.

              Mikey is a sharp boy. He’s seen what Beckham has done with his life after football. All Mikey is doing is getting a pretty good head start.

            • the original jb says:

              Actually, going from >$1 mil a year to over $5 mil a year is absolutely life-changing. If nothing else, the pay raise means he won’t have to find another job after he hangs up his boots. Can’t picture MB sitting around watching soap operas in ten years, but what these guys have to consider is what would happen to them and their families if they suffered a career-ending injury tomorrow. I believe that Bradley just had his first child, and that changes your perspective on life.

              Not sure I agree with Ives that this comment was aimed at Bradley and Dempsey, but if it was then it was meant to push the younger up-and-comers, not because JK wouldn’t have done the same.

            • beachbum says:

              hey Josh, you make some good points on here often tho we don’t always agree. I think you missed the mark here tho

        • Joe+G says:

          Let’s remember that Dempsey was told his services were no longer needed by Tottenham. Finding another potential CL club was going to be tough.

  8. EFX22 says:

    Sorry Ives I dont agree with you on this one. JK has a point here. If you take a player like Jozy and compare him to Hernandez (ManU & Mexico Nat) Jozy has proven to be more effective with good service. In other words Man U believes that the MX league is better that the Dutch league!? Jozy recently gave an interview where he himself said that he freezes in front of goal, this is a belief issue. He later went on to say that in AZ he had more service,how many times have we seen Hernandez have the service and not score? Fact is when you go to a relegation type team in any league you are not playing attacking futbal its defensive all the way. Jozy at ManU would do better now after Dutch league.

    • Maykol says:

      Altidore better with service than chicharito? Not so sure about that. Chich scores on 27% of his shots and i think he had the best minutes to goal ratio in the premiere league

    • Milford says:

      In the EPL Chicharito scores goals out of nothing. Jozy misses sitters.

    • JayAre says:

      I’m Starting to think Europeans don’t want Americans to dominate another sport and steal the market from them. It’s unbelievable that the best offer jozy altidore could get was Sunderland. A striker that’s proven himself on the international and club stage not to mention he’s only 24 then you have Hernandez who rides the bench and is the 4th striker getting clean up duty on a world class team getting so many offers

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      Sorry, but your convoluted post in no way explains exactly what it is we “disagree” on. Where in your entire comment do you even make a point that’s contradictory to anything I said? Did I say Americans don’t need to play in Champions League? Nope, so what are you “disagreeing with” exactly?

      • EFX22 says:

        “If Klinsmann is really worried about Dempsey, and more so Bradley, establishing a new trend for American players, he really shouldn’t be just yet. Both Dempsey and Bradley are exceptions to the rule.”

        Why? Should we not hold these guys as the torch bearers? If the younger generation is looking at them I think it justifies concerns from JK. Why would you categorize them as exceptions?

    • AcidBurn says:

      CH14 misses sitters too, just that he gets enough service to put them away. I’m too lazy to look them up but he’s not automatic.

      Point is that CH14 and Jozy are being used differently. Jozy is alone up top and playing more of a holding role with literally no service while Cheech is sent on to get in the box and make runs in gaps in the service, and Cheech is very good at that. Cheech also has Januzaj, Nani, and such feeding him crosses and another quality forward occupying the defense…while Jozy is isolated and has midfielders like Johnson and such who love shooting from 35 yards out.

      Cheech is a world-class poacher, but not a complete forward. Cheech’s comparison would be Fletcher, who has been awful too at S’land.

      Take Cheech and drop him in Jozy’s role at Sunderland and he would fail miserably too.

      • Milford says:

        Sure Hernandez misses some chances. Every player does. The difference is that Jozy misses MOST of his chances except one so far.
        Altidore was given a chance to prove what he can do in the EPL an so far, as even he admits, he hasn’t taken taken advantage of it.
        At least he has the decency no to blame somebody else for his failure.

        • GW says:

          Hernandez does not play the target man role.

          Jozy does.

          They are both fine players but they are asked to do different things in a different way.
          And Chicharito has been around a while so he is acclimated to the league while Jozy is not yet.
          It’s not a good comparison.

    • Solid says:

      let’s just put their stats together
      Hernandez in England: 57 goals in 141 games
      Altidore in England: 4 goals in 61 games

      Hernandez with Mexico: 35 goals in 57 games
      Altidore with the USA: 21 goals in 66 games

      there is a reason why Hernandez has been linked with teams like Real Madrid, Athletico, Valencia, Dortmund, Inter, Chelsea, Arsenal, Milan, etc. even at his worst form while Jozy could only get a move to a midtable english side now fighting for relegation.

      • EFX22 says:

        link to espnfc.com

        link to espnfc.com

        Tell me again which player has the better support cast?

      • atleticodemadridfan says:

        Those stats miss the point being made by previous posters – that Altidore is hampered by playing with inferior quality midfield and wing play, therefore is getting less service in the box, so less chances to score with USMNT or with Sunderland. If Jozy played on el Tri. or Man U – he would most likely have higher goal totals – the US midfield and wing play does not compare with el Tri’s individual skill on the ball.

    • XYZ says:

      I remember reading an article that said he was the most effective striker in the history of the Premier League. Behind him were Thierry Henry, Aguero, and van Nistelrooy. I don’t see how Jozy’s 2 PL goals make him more effective.

  9. esteban says:

    YANKS need to be playing in Europe.

    That’s all. MLS is a fine league and getting better each year but it’s not enough for our boys and their journey to win the World Cup.

    • dude says:

      Didnt Jozy also take the money… the BPL pays crazy amounts of money. Jozy didnt go to sunderland for the sights and sounds its about money as well. people hated this move for good reason Sunderland is crap.

      its why i also hate Agudelo going to stoke in a couple of years but you cant blame the kids for taking the money.

  10. esteban says:

    so the problem is our boys from age 14-18 aren’t being challenged enough? Can USSF or MLS ensure that we loan those talented youth players to foreign leagues? Like Eredivisie? Omar Salgado or Jack MacInerney, it would be great for their development though maybe they are too old. they’re 20/21 right?

    • Joe+G says:

      There’s almost no way to loan a player under 18 across the border without an EU (or Mexican) passport. FIFA rules don’t allow it.

      Not to mention, there’s probably not much demand as teams have their own 14-17 year olds that they are looking to get playing time.

  11. francis badger says:

    For Klinsmann, the key goal for American players should not only be to play in Europe, but to reach the highest levels of European club soccer, which means competing in the UEFA Champions League.

    “We need players one day, like Brazil, like Argentina, that play Champions League. Champions League in Europe is the crème de la crème,” he said. “This is where the trend is made in the Champions League. In European Champions League. The way they play this year in the Champions League, you will see it in the World Cup in Brazil in summer. The systems, the approaches, because it is the best of the best. We do not have players there.

    do any of our players fit what CL clubs are looking for?

  12. AcidBurn says:

    Not sure why JK is calling out Howard for not being at a big club. He’s possibly the best GK stats-wise in the PL and on a top-6 team. Howard has nothing to prove to anyone.

    Howard moving to Manchester United would be a step-down to a mid-table team (sorry, couldn’t resist – haha).

  13. biff says:

    Yes, I do think Klinsmann is taking direct aim at Bradley. And I gotta say, I love Klinsmann’s message, which seems to include a very strong signal to guys like Jozy and Geoff Cameron and other under-30 guys in Europe not to wimp out like Mikey-Cakes did and cash-in for an MLS retirement package. In other words, Klinsmann is warning the best USMNT players in Europe to keep striving for the best and not be tempted by inflated offers and an easy life in MLS. And probably also he’s letting younger players who now play in MLS know that he would value them more playing in Europe than in MLS.

    The bottom line: Sounds like Klinsmann is not happy with MB and the signal of weakness and surrender his move back to MLS sends to others, the lack of belief, the lack of fight and grit and the flimsy excuse that you just can’t get a decent break in Europe if you are a Yank.

    • Dennis says:

      MB got more money for that move than most of us will make in a lifetime. Given that an athlete’s career can be ended by injury in the next moment, it is difficult to call the move any kind of surrender.

      If anything now MB (along with Defoe) have more pressure with the very public task of making Totonto a leader in MLS by their play. If anything, MB went from a spot where he was getting plaudits by just getting on the field on game day to play a role, to one where he will be expected to produce game changing moments every game.

    • biff says:

      @Dennis: Just because Toronto made MB an offer he couldn’t refuse does not mean that Klinsmann has to like it. That is my point. With these Klinsmann statements, it would appear that the MB-Klinsmann honeymoon is over. MB has made his bed and now he has to sleep in it and his backers can argue all they want that MB is the greatest player and indispensable and should be named captain of the USMNT but it ain’t gonna happen now–at least for the next four years under Klinsmann. Would not send the signal Klinsmann wants for his players. Klinsmann wants fighters who want to play at the highest levels and don’t give up and Jozy has now jumped ahead of MB for the captaincy, maybe also Geoff Cameron, who, let’s be honest, has already in just 20 months accomplished more than MB did during his years bouncing around Europe.

      • danny says:

        Biff- Saying Cameron has accomplished more is just wrong and I don’t even want to argue the facts because I think you’re being too emotional about this. If in the next two years, Bradley leads TFC to championships in MLS and Concacaf Champion’s league, will you still say Bradley wimped out and has shown “weakness”. If that happens, it will be a great accomplishment for Bradley, but also bittersweet because then we will say Bradley reached his MLS ceiling at 28 years old, and now he has nothing left to accomplish in MLS… but who knows what might happen then. One could argue (not me) that his role at TFC will actually be much more similar to his role for the US Nats as the engine of a team built around him and that could benefit the Nats.

      • Ali Dia says:

        Agree to a certain extent — it’s true that everybody has been very soft on Bradley (Ives and Grant Wahl certainly didn’t challenge him during their interviews) and Klinsmann has always been adamant about fighting complacency. Hearing MB spout boilerplate about “commitment to the TFC project” etc. was sad because eventually repeating crap like can lead to actually believing it. It was a cash grab and I would’ve taken it too. But he can’t be enabled to spout rubbish or it will bleed into his mentality and Klinsmann is right to send him a message.

        But I don’t think Klinsmann has it in for Bradley in the way you are implying. He knows he is still our most valuable player and he wants to inspire him to his maximum performance. Putting Bradley (or anyone) in the doghouse for the long-term doesn’t make sense unless you plan to stop selecting them entirely. They just become bad apples and poison the culture. But you’re right that he needs to send a message, at least in the short-term, to the group — he’s the leader and he’s got to give the lesson.

      • GW says:


        “Geoff Cameron, who, let’s be honest, has already in just 20 months accomplished more than MB did during his years bouncing around Europe.”

        Care to elaborate?

        • biff says:

          Sure, GW. Cameron has been liked and valued by both of his Stoke coaches (Pulis and Hughes); is loved by Stoke fans; is liked, accepted and respected by his teammates (he is part of the gang, one of the guys); is already a well-known figure in the British “football” press and widely known by Premier League fans. But most importantly, Cameron has established himself as a pillar of the Stoke team in perhaps the best and most important league in the world. He starts every week. His success (and wide-based acceptance) has been translated into Stoke’s huge desire now to bring in more Americans. Cameron is basically doing a great PR job in England on behalf of American soccer players, not by words and fawning news articles, but by solid performances, by getting the job done. And that is opening the door to younger players like Agudelo.

          It is impossible not to respect MB for moving to Europe as a kid and the gutsy effort he put in during his time there at various clubs. But with all due respect to MB, the bottom line is that not much of lasting value came from it. If he would have stayed a few more years and established himself as a starter at a club, then the European story probably would have had a happier ending. Cameron already has accomplished far more in Europe and is building a foundation for a potential legacy in Europe.

          All that said, Toronto made an offer that MB never would have been able to achieve in Europe and you can’t blame him for signing the dotted line. But as noted above, that does not mean it was beneficial for the USMNT or that Klinsmann has to be happy about it and try to sugarcoat it. Klinsmann is simply telling it like it is and in the process appears to be warning others not to follow the same path.

          • GW says:


            Interesting, so your argument is Cameron. seemingly the first and only credible American to ever play in England or Europe, single handedly opens up England for Americans and thereby insures a stream of EPL battle tested players for the USMNT.

            And it follows from your argument that without Geoff, UK and European soccer people would not have known that there were good players to be had in the colonies. What it boils down to is you are saying everyone was impressed by Geoff in his two years at Stoke but Mikey labored in obscurity during his European career.

            I guess they also forgot about that McBride fellow and that Dempsey fellow down at Fulham.not to mention a a bunch of other Americans including MB30 and going back to the likes of Harkes, Reyna and O’Brien.

            That is quite a feat and should put Cameron in the running for best American player of all time.

      • Dennis says:

        JK certainly does not need to like it. And he may well be warning against complacency, but as far as captaincy is concerned, I’ve pretty much given up trying to predict JK’s decisions. I am not sure Cameron has accomplished that much, he is a regular starter at Stoke, but that is no more than Bocanegra did at Fulham, and certainly not impact Bradley had in Holland, or with Verona.

      • beachbum says:

        Klinnsman may not like it, but to take swipes like this 4 months before the WC is a good? Your skewed view of MB is fully revealed with your Cameron claim too. peace

  14. Dennis says:

    It is kind of strange, Agudelo goes to the EPL and can’t get a work permit (because JK didn’t play him?) so is loaned out to a league that has seen other US players score lots of goals, but whose defensive is routinely derided here as being very soft.

    I suspect JK is more or less warning some players against complacency in their new surroundings, but I’m not sure who. Parkhurst and Edu basically had little choice but to return to MLS, Bradley is way too competitive and a year at Toronto will pay him more than most of us will make in a lifetime, it is hard to see how a father turns down that kind of security for his family, Dempsey was facing a tough time at Tottenham and like Bradley, he got a lot of cash, Wondo was never really recruited by a CL team. Beasley did not see that much time for the USMNT when he was on a CL team, but in the last year while on lesser teams, he is a starter.

    Maybe JK was just being provocative and hoping some players would say “FU, I’ll show you!” I’m not sure just what was going on in JK’s mind or what effect it will have.

    • Joe+G says:

      It’s an interesting balance of comments with his earlier “there’s no demand for Americans in Europe” statement. I think that was mostly about loans (which are certainly hard to get for 2 months), but also in general. That was lashing out more at the teams.

      This is more about the player side of that equation and telling them that the reason they aren’t in demand is they don’t try hard enough.

    • GW says:

      . “Beasley did not see that much time for the USMNT when he was on a CL team, but in the last year while on lesser teams, he is a starter”


      What makes you say that?

      When DMB was with PSV and in the CL he was in integral part of the US WC qualifying effort and was on the 2006 World Cup team.

      When he was on Rangers in 2007-8 and they were in the CL he was an integral member of the Gold Cup squad but then got hurt and lost most of the 2008-9 season.

  15. KJ says:

    He’s not saying overall, but rather in regards to the few are talented enough to make top teams, but not break through. Our top players have made good teams: Roma, Tottenham, Everton, and so on. But it seems the players plateaued. And I think that’s what Klinsmann is getting at.

    • Birgit Calhoun says:

      Do you think they got there only because they had that irreplaceable talent? There are many players here in this country who didn’t have the inside track. That’s what it takes. You have to be a weathy parent’s child to go to a soccer academy. The parents send their kids to Barcelona and because they have the money they stay with hem there for a year because little what’s his name is only ten years old. The child may have talent. But what about the talent that doesn’t have sponsors?

    • beachbum says:

      how about the belief by those players to break thru and make those teams, and play on them? can’t be a non believer and accomplish that. Insinuating that MB is a non believer is silly to me if that’s what Klinnsman was trying to do

  16. mike says:

    shots fired.

    MB and Dempsey better duck.

  17. Sheriff Bart says:

    I think JK is correct in his remark about the USMNT making a strong run in the WC. It is a definite attention getter. Players stock rises and falls over the course of 3 or 4 games more during the WC than a whole season in club play. So if American players want to make a splash it is certainly a good way to do it. However when it comes to Brazilian players I wonder if he remembers that it was only a few years ago that they were basically shunned in the EPL becasue they were perceived as being too soft. And besides Chelsea and Tottenham there are not too many players from South America playing on Champions League quality teams.

    • Joe Timbres says:

      Well, if Suarez isn’t Uruguayan….and Tottenham is CL quality and Liverpool isn’t…then I think you may be huffing paint:-)

    • EspinDOHla says:

      ” And besides Chelsea and Tottenham there are not too many players from South America playing on Champions League quality teams.”

      I’m not so sure you watch the Champions League. Yep, not many South Americans on Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG, Man City, etc….

      • Sheriff Bart says:

        Your right that there are quite a few players. I should have stated specifically from EPL because that is what it seems that KJ and Ives are setting the base line with. When it comes down to it the way it stands at this moment in time is that I would dare say that it would be very difficult for any Yank to make the 18 of any of the clubs you mentioned.

  18. Birgit Calhoun says:

    As far as I am concerned he is off the mark. Klinsmann has come to believe that American players have all the talent in the world all they need is believe. Has he been away from Germany too long. I am from Germany and I talk to people who do not believe that it has more to do with believing than actual skill. In this country kids do not play day in day out in front of the goal the way the boys there do. It shows. American kids have to be taken to their practice by their parents. They just don’t have the experience it takes. This may change when the schools hire coaches who actually know what real soccer is all about. There are players who have all the skills they need, but often they are passed over because their coaches think some certain skill counts when it is really not that important. American soccer still has a ways to go and belief doesn’t change that.

    • Ali Dia says:

      It is not Klinsmann’s job to tell the “truth” or give an accurate market assessment of the current US player pool and its various qualities. It is his job to motivate them, more specifically to inspire them to an optimum performance at the World Cup this summer. Criticizing their ability or giving an honest technical assessment of their talent compared to other countries would serve no purpose.

      • beachbum says:

        so publically insinuating that players are soft is the way to motivate them? disagree

        • Ali Dia says:

          Not all players, no. Heck, do this to a Dutch player and you would get a truly epic sulk. I think Klinsmann believes that Bradley and Dempsey are tough enough mentally to take this as a challenge — he has done this before with Dempsey

          Is he right? I don’t know… we’ll find out I suppose. I don’t think any of us really has the information or context to understand the individual relationships. Guy does have a reputation as a motivator, and his track record over the past 2 years suggests (to me) that he knows what he is doing.

  19. Landon Klinsmann says:

    I think he is setting up Dempsey to sit the bench in the World Cup. He doesn’t want it to be a shock when it happens. I own a Deuce jersey, so please understand I am not a hater. Still, between injury, league downgrade, and current form, Dempsey needs to step up with Sounders and Spring friendlies if he wants to claim a starting spot in midfield. His hitch with Fulham isn’t proving anything. Never thought I would be saying this just a year ago, but times are changing fast and Klinsi is sending signals for players to read.

    • 57Tele says:

      Although I agree that Dempsey may not see much playing time in the World Cup, I don’t think Klinsmann is concerned about people’s reactions to the players he ultimately starts and/or dresses. With respect to Dempsey in Brazil, what position would he play? Does he play the withdrawn forward? That seems to be Landon Donovan’s best position. If Donovan lines up at that position, he would likely have to beat out Altidore because I don’t think he has the pace or the defensive prowess to play outside halfback against the group competition. I guess it’s a good problem to have. From reading the posts, I’m probably one of the few people on this site that thinks Donovan is better than Dempsey, so if anyone reads this, I’m sure I will be called out for my stupidity.

      • Joe Timbres says:

        He’s about ready to play 24th man off the plane if he doesn’t get his crap together, and by how much he has been playing and not resting – stupid, coming from a Timbers fan I feel that says a lot – it may be because of injury

      • Landon Klinsmann says:


        I was referring to Dempsey, not “people” and I do think Klinsmann sees the need to give fair warning. Bradley is in because he is the best in that position, period. Altidore is in because Klinsmann has already publicly stuck up for him and blamed his BPL shortcomings on ball service, which Klinsi probably thinks would be better with Bradley, Zusi, and Lando chipping in balls. I agree that there are some square peg / round hole issues up front, depending on what formation Klinsi goes with. My guess is that Deuce is the odd man out unless he is just too hot to sit on the bench. I think right now that an Altidore & Aaron Baconator combo up top is what we’ll see, with Dempsey coming on as a sub. I also think that we’ll se different tactics and formations against each foe (I know, duh) with Dempsey being best suited for a start against Germany most likely of the first round, if any.

      • BobbyB says:

        I agree. Dempsey is in big trouble. Move to MLS has backfired. He needs to turn it around quick or he will be fighting with others for substitute playing time.

      • Birgit Calhoun says:

        I agree with you. Donovan is the best player in the squad for the position he usually plays. I venture to say that Donovan is the key to winning in Brazil. But I would go a step further. The best player to play in front of Donovan would not be Altidore. It would be Wondolowski contrary to many other voices. My opinion also puts Dempsey on the bench. Furthermore too much is made of AJ’s current form. He lacks experience.

    • biff says:

      Possible, Landon Klinsmann. But if true, about Clint, then he also would be setting up MB for a bit of bench duty also. Klinsmann is rocking the boat with these new statements, talking like a man secure with a new 4-year contract. The gloves are now off. No guarantees. Even for MB.

    • GW says:

      If June rolls around and he feels Clint should be on the bench he’ll bench him.

      I see no evidence that JK feels the need to make decisions before they need to be made and he does not seem to be overly concerned about making hard or unpopular decisions.

      JK has gone on incessantly about no one’s place being safe if they don’t put in the work.

  20. Morpheus says:

    It is really impressive just what people will let a coach get away with if they have success. Some of you people are hilarious. Klinsi is obviously mad at Dempsey and Bradley, but couldn’t just rip them individually so he comes out with this ridiculous statement.

    Jurgen, if you’re mad at someone, call them out by name. Don’t just call out your whole player pool in the process. That was just dumb.

    • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

      If we would’ve done that ppl would say he is unprofessional, drama queen etc.

    • Gerard D. says:

      Do you hear the things said by coaches elsewhere?

      Just last week Moyes ripped his own ownership before saying his own players were weak minded. Mourinhno was talking shop about other teams and their transfer markets and how bad it is, and… lots of other fun things.

  21. espada says:

    It does take a lot of mental and physical fortitude to be in a Champions League club. I’ll disregard that Bradley and Dempsey did take a payday to go back to MLS, but I’ll say that they made that decision to not risk playing time or being injured before a World Cup (Walcott, Falcao). It sounds like JK had a belief that those two would somehow break into CL football and lead the way, which ultimately didn’t happen. Klinsmann sent a message to current and future players to always aim for the next level instead of coming back to their domestic league because he does not want that to keep happening. To be honest, I do find it disheartening to see them come back instead playing against the best in the world or fighting for a spot in a top European club.

  22. Alex H says:

    If a Euro coach plays a South American or a European player and they blow it, it’s just one of those things. If a Euro coach plays a yank and he blows it then the coach gets all sorts of grief for sending an American to do a European / South American’s job.

  23. dman says:

    Disagree with Ive, agree with Klinsmann.

    Klinsmann is telling all of you that you are wrong, you settle for something less than your best, you are intimidated by the competition. JK is a better judge of the skill in the US pool, he has been around top soccer players more than anybody in the US system has. This is part of a very consistent message from Klinsmann ….AIM HIGHER.

    Soccer is 80-90% mental. Its not always the best athlete who rises to the top, its all about who wants it more, and who believes in themselves the most.

  24. MikeG says:

    The best leagues in Europe and South America have development and competition at a level much higher than MLS. MLS teams are taking small steps in the right direction with youth development. There is a closing gap between MLS and Europe. Until MLS can match Europe it is still best for top US talent to sharpen up skills, tactics, and mental speed of thought (anticipation of play) in Europe. Dempsey and Bradley are highly talented, but have a ceiling. Tottenham and Roma signed players with more talent to replace them. They were surplus to requirements of the team and not for a lack of effort or skills. They are now on MLS teams where they have arguably the highest talent ceiling on there club rosters. I honestly do not think MLS will take away any skill or mental edge as long as they remain motivated. I just hope youth and younger players realize what they see on TV in European league’s is the real deal compared to MLS who is not quite there yet with player development and coaching. Too much NCAA influence bloats MLS right now.

    • Birgit Calhoun says:

      The proof of their skill will be in the pudding. It seems some of the players, like Defoe, have made the switch from Europe to here to wind down. They are coming here to play their final sort of retirement years without getting too banged up before they hang up their boots. The first examples were George Best and Beckenbauer. I can’t name everyone, but current ones are Henry, Keane, Beckham and others. They love it that they are not recognized in the street. They make money while they can still play and they can show their team mates how to get better. This country has to get its own style and develop players that can be as good or better than European players. It takes time. Klinsmann knows that and he seems to just be stirring the pot.

      • Joe+G says:

        There is something to be said for the psychological side being a bit easier in the US. Miss a PK and you won’t see your name blasted across the sports pages in 6 inch type in the US & Canada.

        • beto says:

          +1 and you dont fear the difference between a couple places in the league standings. In Europe the difference between 16th and 17th or 7th and 8th or 1st and 2nd place is worth everything. In MLS as long as you are in the top 50% your okay.

  25. Bob34 says:

    Those comments may’ve been aimed at Bradley and players in the future in Bradley’s situation; fight to be the big fish in a big pond not the big fish in a smaller pond. Good speculation but none of us know for sure & I’m not sure those comments do miss the mark especially regarding players in the future.
    BTW: until someone over at goal.com stops that Jack Davis guy from commenting, I can bear to try and read through any of the comments….

  26. Ali Dia says:

    I don’t mind Klinsmann challenging Bradley and Dempsey. They have both shown themselves through their careers to be among the most exceptionally strong mentally that we have ever produced. They won’t check out or become bad apples. And I don’t think Klinsmann blames them for taking the big fat mouthfuls of cash they just choked down. But he has got to give them motivation and what does he have to work with now? He has to poke at them psychologically and he only has a couple of doors he can go through now that they have left Europe and taken their big paydays.

    Those two guys need to show up with something to prove at the WC or we are screwed — That is where Klinsmann is trying to go and I don’t mind him taking a risk to get there. A B+ performance from both and we are 3 and out in Brazil.

    • AMPhibian says:

      + Yes! This statement was a long time designed and rehearsed, of course. Not only should it motivate Demps and MB, but he is also echoing the kind of comments from fans and media that have fueled Donovan’s fire most of his career. In one stroke he lights a candle in front of all three, to try to get them to jump a little higher as we reach the final games and practices before the WC. These dudes are as determined or more than any players on the team, they will use this, and won’t let it affect their working relationship with JK. Quite frankly, if we want to do anything significant (make it out of the group), we will need them all to play at their very bests.

  27. AMPhibian says:

    Off Topic:

    I was listening to Men in Blazers’ most recent podcast, which got me watching a ten and a half minute video of Man City – Chelsea game (3rd Feb 14) highlights, and that made me want to know if there was any new videos concerning BB’s new gig at Staebek. This is the first things I found, and thought it was worth sharing: link to youtube.com

  28. Sorry says:

    Ives, you basically proved why people go to your blog for the newsfeed and not your actual opinion. You come off like somebody who wants to prove you’re a legit soccer pundit but you really are not. You’re quite arrogant (see your protests about how Dean would go first in the MLS draft and that you called that before anyone else as one of MANY sad examples). Lalas comes off like an arrogant prick but he’s smart and articulate as hell. You’re simply not. So either accept that we disagree with you and graciously leave it at that. Or come up with something illuminating like Vecsey or Wahl.

    • Joe Timbres says:

      No kidding, I come here for the reddit style news soccer feed. Time for me to branch out, have fun coming to Portland Ives but not shocking you have become arrogant. Best of luck to you

    • AMPhibian says:

      I find it ironic that you use the word “arrogant” twice in these series of insults. I get the strange feeling that you speak for no one but yourself. I’m sure that even people who may usually like reading the comments more than the articles, won’t get behind a statement like the one you made.

    • Ali Dia says:

      Bad news, Ives. Pretty sure your ex-girlfriend just found your blog.

      • Ives Galarcep says:

        Haha. Apparently so. “Sorry” was pretty emotional there. And if I’m not “really a soccer pundit” why are you on my site taking so much time to write a comment? Ah, well, it is what it is. I’ll live without you.

        And Joe, if defending my opinions makes me arrogant then so be it. People are entitled to disagree. I don’t know about you but I believe in a world where people can have differing opinions and still get along.

      • beachbum says:

        thanks for that…hahaha!!!

  29. go euro or go home says:

    It is very possible for players to develop more in a situation where they are one of the best players on the team than in a situation where they have to fight and scrape for every minute they get. This “testing yourself against the best” thing is getting a little ridiculous. What about learning to BE the best?

    Being in a situation where you are not playing or not appreciated can stifle development. Being in a situation where you are relied upon as a leader and given some freedom can bring a lot out in your game.

    It’s just not as simple as everyone, including Klinsmann, is making it.

    • AMPhibian says:

      This is really difficult, you make a good point. The easiest thing to know is that when you play better competition, it forces you to get better. If I wanted to be the best I could be at chess, and had a chance to play 100 times, each time choosing either Magnus Carlsen or my father, I give 99 to 100 of those games to Carlsen, because I’ll learn from more mistakes, take in some of his tactics and strategies, give myself the notoriety to play others of higher caliber in the future, to feel comfortable in that atmosphere of attention, and so on. Not to say the differences between the leagues is as drastic as it is between average dads and Magnus Carlsen, but…I am really starting to regret this analogy. Anyway, i like your point, so many great things can be learned from being a leader, and it will be crucial to have those more intangible things sharp when it comes time to play Ghana.

      • go euro or go home says:

        I was a chess player too, so appreciate that attempt! :)

        It goes beyond even leadership to confidence. At 26, Bradley and other players are more than capable of developing their game (many people [especially around here] believe that a player is fully developed by 20 or 22 for some reason). One of the greatest things that can happen to a player is to be the best player on the field. I mentioned the confidence piece, but that inspires players to take touches they did not know they could, to make passes they did not know they could, to defend like they were not previously aware was possible.

        When I see youth players played up because they are “too good” for their age and then they become just another player on the field, I seriously question why that decision was made. Why take this kid out of a role where he is doing special things on the field just to make him an ordinary player who is sometimes even scared to get the ball now because he is so intimidated by the “higher level” of competition. This is not an exact comparison to Bradley’s situation of course, but I believe that there is a lot positive that can come from him being in a situation where he is able to take the game by the scruff.

        It goes much deeper than that as well when you start thinking about the potential growth of MLS and what that will mean for developing young players in this country, but I will leave it at that for now.

    • GW says:


      To learn how to be the best it helps to be around the best or around the guys who developed the best.

      You are making JK’s point for him.

      A champion’s league contender typically has a squad of about 30 or so players. Across all competitions a team like that will play maybe 50 to 60 games.
      I notice that if you are not earning regular playing time, making a case for being a starter or at least a very valuable player, you get rotated off the squad, to be replaced by a younger, cheaper, better, player, fairly soon.
      It is dog eat dog, the oldest motivational strategy in the world. I don’t understand why anyone has a problem understanding that.
      That is what happened with Dempsey and Mikey. And their teams were not even in the Champions league though they had ambitions to be.
      Yes, they chose to leave but it coincided with them slowly being marginalized
      Maybe they could have fought their way back to relevancy, or maybe not but the point is they are better players for the experience.

      Where you are correct is I think both Mikey and Dempsey did their best to develop themselves and be ready for finally getting to a reasonably top class team.

      • go euro or go home says:

        As for the “dog eat dog” world being motivation, I would argue that is not always the best environment for a player to develop. A lot of players are capable of motivating themselves with an inner drive. A lot of athletes are actually turned off by that sort of competition and they actually want to know that they are valued in order to perform (look at the way QBs are treated in football).

        I agree that there is value to competition, but I just think that there are more ways to reach full potential than to have to put yourself through hell to get there. For instance, look at how many teams and coaches Bradley has played for in the past decade. Why should he still be in this “testing” phase? Hasn’t he moved beyond that to a point where he is finally ready to perform?

        As a final thought, how much better would Donovan be right now if he had been playing for Everton for the last eight years?

        • MikeG says:

          Look how difficult it is for High School football players playing there hearts out for a college scholarship. Many do not get a scholarship. NCAA football is the next level. Many only graduate. A very small percentage make it to the NFL. Nobody gets a free ride to the top and no Yank should get a free ride in Europe. Go Euro Or Go Home.

        • GW says:

          I don’t pretend to know how every single team in Europe and the UK develop their young players but I’ll hazard a guess that some do it your way and some don’t.

          As for your Mikey comment, an argument can be made that a player should learn something new every day and certainly with every new team he plays for. What is wrong with that?.

          Michael Bradley is a very cerebral player who has benefited from growing up as the son of a coach with access to excellent players to serve as examples for him to learn from.

          So his constant learning and developing is second nature to him; it is his best asset along with his extreme fitness and his relentless nature. It also means he knows a lot about coaching. These intangible characteristics, allied with his belief and desire, have taken him much further than his modest talent might otherwise have suggested.

          And that answers a little, your point about Mikey being ready to perform.

          Over the years it seems he does best when he is the MAN. Like he is now with the US and like he was at Chievo. I think his best time at Roma was when DDR was hurt. But that was DDR’s team and as long as he was around, Mikey was never going to reach his full potential.

          I assume he will make TFC his very own. And it could be that he will wind up like Donovan, where his best and most notable performances will be in the World Cup.

          And as for Landon, I’m sure he would have benefited from the competition and the tutelage of Moyes’but I think he would have grown bored and frustrated with the incessant mediocrity and the lack of winning so I see him eventually leaving Everton and moving elsewhere.

    • beachbum says:

      the most on target comment in this whole discussion. cheers

  30. Hopper says:

    Seems like Ives is in the minority here, but at the end of it all, if the US does well in the World Cup, no ones going to care what Klinsi says or said.

  31. TomG says:

    I dont even listen to Klinsi anymore. He’s white noise to me. He talks off the top of his head without any censor and contradicts himself half the time. Two months from now he will give a presser saying how US players have great heart but don’t have the technical skills to play at the highest level. He’s a kook, but as long as the team is playing well, that’s what’s important.

    • GW says:

      “and contradicts himself half the time. ”


      I ‘m sure I haven’t heard ever single one of his interviews but I have found him to be very consistent, especially if you actually follow up and research what he said.

      • TomG says:

        Surprised this has somehow missed you. Just about every roster he comes out with, he’s quoted as saying, something along the lines of,”we are not bringing in any players who aren’t X,” only to bring in three X players, causing the soccer community to go crazy. Usually it’s something about club form then he calls in guys like Brek Shea and Stu Holden who havent played in a month. It’s annoying and easily avoidable if he’d just speak in less absolute terms and more circumspectly, but that’s not his thing. Whatever. It makes for good press.

        • GW says:

          Mr T,

          In the examples you cited I researched the situation on line as best as I could and found JK’s rationale for the moves reasonable.

          Like I said, on every JK roster I’ve seen, the players included , as well as the players excluded, made sense once I looked into it a little.

          The other thing is I don’t expect a manager to make everyone happy with his choices.

          I could find JK’s rationale for picking, for example, Brek Shea perfectly reasonable but there will almost certainly be a Brek hater who won’t.

    • Fredo says:

      I’m with TomG.

    • chad says:

      Klinsmann has achieved more than any US soccer player or coach…period.

      If you don’t listen to him…who do you listen to? The US soccer mentality is self defeating and will not improve without a perspective to challenge.

  32. Eli Hunter says:

    I agree with Klinsman he hit the mark emphatically. We have guys in the MLS good enough to play in European leagues. Danish,Dutch, Belgium come on look at Sasha. These guys are scared like Besler and Gonzalez….USA aint making it out of the group stage.

    • John says:

      Klinsmann has the best job ever. He just gets to say sorry the players aren’t good enough and goes to collect his massive check. Nothing is ever asked of his abilities as a coach. Ghana and Portugal both have weakness that can be exploited but everyone’s given Klinsmann a pass already so why bother.

      • Gerard D. says:

        We’ve given him a pass? Nothing is ever asked?

        Klinsmann was universally lambasted by anonymous (read: cowardly) sources for the first months of his tenure.

        We then had the most successful year in USMNT history.

      • beachbum says:

        +1 John

      • GW says:


        Did I miss the 2014 World Cup? Did we already play Ghana and Portugal?

        What were the lineups and how did we do? What about Germany or is that next?

  33. MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

    I agree with Jk. Players should Always compete to the best of their abilities.

    But it’s hard to say “No” to DE money.

    I hate that Deuce and MB did that move. But I see why.

  34. QuakerOtis says:

    I also suffer from slow-news-cycle-in-build-up-to-an-event-I-am-very-excited-about.

  35. Carlos Danger says:

    I’m sure all American players want to play CL at one point….. Then reality sets in and they understand that they’re just not good enough.

  36. Del Griffin says:

    Can’t blame the players. Money talks.

    Can’t blame klinsi. He wants what’s best for his players.

    I think the blame for this falls to MLS. They are spending waaaaay above market value for these americans hoping that it drives some interest in their league. There is no way the financial interest in the league is enough to support every team doling out huge contracts. Its speculative and hurts our guys.

  37. usaalltheway says:

    If we want American players to be the best they can be competitively, they need to play with the best. Those players are in European leagues, not the MLS.

    This isn’t a debate. If you don’t see it that way, you missed the point.

    MB90 is the perfect example. He has the talent but not that extra that it takes to bump the best of the best from their spot. He couldn’t handle not being one of the starters so he took advantage of what the MLS has to offer him. Hint: It isn’t competition.

    There are other reasons to play in the MLS but it is NOT because it’s more competitive.

    On a side note, please don’t take my comment as some referendum on you as a person if you disagree with my point of view. We can disagree without being at each other’s throats.

    • GW says:

      “MB90 is the perfect example. He has the talent but not that extra that it takes to bump the best of the best from their spot. ”

      Mikey is not a good example. He took his average talent about as far as he could.

      He might have been able to maintain his overall level better had he moved to a team in Germany or elsewhere in Europe but he’s not going to be making any quantum leaps regardless of where he plays. And while he won’t be at the very peak of fitness going into the WC, that was going to be true TFC or not since it is now clear his PT at Roma was going to be minimal.

      “He couldn’t handle not being one of the starters so he took advantage of what the MLS has to offer him. Hint: It isn’t competition.”

      He’s not really explained his rationale beyond platitudes but there is no evidence to support that he could not handle not being a starter. That is an assumption on your part.
      If he just wanted to be a starter there were a number of other teams in Europe who were interested in him where he most likely would have started.
      My guess is MB30 looked at the TFC deal and realized he would never ever, better it in any way. MIkey is a professional and a very large part of being a professional soccer player is making enough money to be secure. Based on what little I know about the deal he would been insane to turn it down. It just came a little sooner than he might have wished for but hey we all have to grow up sometime.
      This deal is all about growing the MLS brand. It’s about big money for Mikey and the league. He’s just good enough and has a high enough profile to be worth it.
      Mike Grella o Preston Zimmerman, other professional American soccer players in Europe of recent vintage, are not getting this deal. Neither is Mo Edu or Jonathan Spector .
      So it certainly does not have as much to do with his talent as all you purists might hope for.

      Besides, Mikey probably believes he will use the WC to prove all of us wrong about him.

      • usaalltheway says:

        MB90 play on a top four team in a top four league and was starting 70 percent of the time before the injury. Those are the facts. And on top of that Roma made a point of bringing him on to the team.

        Like I said, there isn’t a debate. He could have pushed himself more and gotten a starting spot. He just didn’t do what it takes.

        He saw the money in the MLS and took it. I can’t fault him for that but to suggest that going from Roma to Toronto is about “playing time” or anything other than money or being the big fish is just silly.

        Another point: 6 months is a long time in the world of sports. His form very may well drop off before the Cup.

        • go euro or go home says:

          You are ignoring the previous 6 years of Bradley’s career! All of a sudden he is a quitter? Do you know how many teams and managers he has played for in his career? What was his reaction to the Villa debacle? He has proven that he is not a quitter, but if you want to have that opinion, go for it.

        • GW says:


          “Like I said, there isn’t a debate”

          Correct.What you do is more like a political campaign.

          You select a few facts, distort them, make some broad brush statement about a person’s thought processes that are impossible to verify, then throw it all on the wall and see what sticks and what slides down.

          That is certainly not a debate.

    • 57tele says:

      I think for both dempsey and bradley, they needed tranfers to make sure they are playing regularly going into the cup. There is much more depth now and I don’t think anyone is a lock to start. Anyone whose forms dips can be replaced by someone else. I think both of them took the most lucrative offers they had that guarantees playing time. I think both of their teams had made recent purchases for players at their positions.

    • TomG says:

      All these folks are such hypocrites. Any of you who wouldn’t take $6 Million and moving to a better situation for your family over $800,000 is a liar and a hypocrite. Anyone in their right mind would take the Toronto deal.

      • Gerard D. says:

        Good for you.

        Then soccer isn’t the most important thing to you, thus proving Klinsmann’s point.

        • beachbum says:

          my family is the most important thing to me, as it is to most human beings, including Klinnsman I would bet, and to MB, Clint and the rest too

  38. beto says:

    Klinsmann just wants to coach talented and determined players like he was… I agree with him a bit that i doubt any player in our pool would walk into the Chelsea, Munich or Madrid locker room and act they they desirve a starting spot but hey thats realistic! We had Gooch at AC, Jj at Schalke, Bradley at Roma, Duece at Spurs, Landon & Howard at Everton, many others in smaller UCL teams; its not for the lack of trying!

    The problem here is that UCL managers dont look at the USA (or Concacaf) when they are shopping. They are looking at players already in the UCL and the later stages of the WC, Euro, etc… In that regard yes, we wont see players at big UCL clubs until we are already in those games.

    Telling Howard, Jozy, Clint, Landon, Bradley or whoever that they should be playing at bigger clubs right now is wishful thinking.

  39. Raffi says:

    I’m curious. Most agree these comments were targeted at Dempsey and (esp) Bradley. Perhaps Klinsmann didn’t call those two out directly on purpose because that would be too confrontational and the thin veily (very thin) was just enough to not spark mutiny but hopefully piss them off in a way to motivate them to prove him wrong. This is under the assumption that Klinsmann knows the USMNT is better with those two in top form and this is just a motivational ploy to get them going?

    Perhaps is a little too Mourinho-esque but not beyond the pale of possibility. And while I think the statement is off the mark (it really comes down to ability), I don’t have an issue with it being not correct if it serves to motivate the intended targets properly.

    Seems a bit risky to me, but hey, I’m not paid to be the coach.

  40. John says:

    Klinsmann does a great job at making sure any failure the US has in the World Cup will be on his players and not him. Any success they have it’ll be because of him. Great situation he has built really.

    • GW says:

      You are right about the first part.
      You are wrong about the second part. JK has always been very good about crediting the players and not criticizing guys like Howard, Cameron and Gonzo for their Honduras f++k up.
      When he was interviewed just after the 2010 World Cup Donovan said, in so many words, that he felt they could have gone further but the difference between Ghana and the US was not the talent, per se, but the mindset, and the soccer intelligence, “all the little things” as Landon put it.
      He was basically saying that Ghana, who had and have a number of guys at the highest levels, knew how to win games like this while the US did not.
      This is what the rationale for playing in the champion’s league is all about.
      This is why JK believes in keeping JJ and his much maligned mind set around the USMNT.
      Winning close games is something you learn how to do and CL competition is the ultimate classroom for soccer. Look at Chelsea’s recent CL win. They were not the best team but they figured out how to win against better teams.
      That is all LD and JK were and are saying.

      • John says:

        Sure but are we just paying Klinsmann to go just go around and say our players need to be playing at a higher level. You could also look at the Chelsea CL run and say they had a great manager whose tactical approach got results.

        • GW says:

          You could but Di Matteo did not kick one ball or tackle one player.

          The players bought in and they did it, not Di Matteo.

          And if you really think all JK does is go around giving interviews then I don’t know what to tell you.

          In that case why not just hire Alexi Lalas as USMNT manager?

      • John says:

        Pretty much the question is if we go out in the group at the World Cup. Will it be because we don’t have the quality of players or because Klinsmann couldn’t put together the right tactics to get the results?

        • GW says:


          Tell me why Spain, after years and years of being talented also-rans, bridesmaids, runners up, whatever, suddenly went nuts and won everything worth winning and might do it again?
          Answer that and I’ll answer your question.

          • John says:

            My point is really just that Klinsmann has the perfect situation. There’s no pressure on him as a manager. The US can loose each match 4-0 in the World Cup and we’ll just hear that we don’t have enough quality players in Champions league.

            • Leo says:

              There’s no pressure on Klinsmann?

              He didn’t just take a new title along with his coaching duties and sign a big contract extension?

              There is a ton of pressure on Klinsmann. Or did you miss that period of time prior to the snow game in Colorado?

              • John says:

                I think there was pressure to get to Brazil but there isn’t any to do anything there. The extension being given to him before the World Cup shows that.

              • GW says:


                The contract extension means that if they want to fire him it will cost them a bit more money but they will fire him any way. If you doubt me, just read the sports pages anywhere for a little while.

                And JK keeps talking about how they need get to the quarters, which means getting out of the group and winning the first knock out game. If JK did not want any more pressure he should just shut his mouth.

                Make no mistake if they get lawn mowered by Ghana. Portugal and Germany and that is VERY possible, say 3-0, 3-0 and 4-0, JK will draw an enormous amount of fire and there will be pressure to can him.

              • beachbum says:

                @ John, good points seems to me. thanks

      • Glenn says:


  41. Dan says:

    I hope he takes Timmy Chandler for Right Wing for USMNT in the WC. He is best for the position
    despite the recent injury. He has been playin all 90 minutes and playing well for FC Nurnberg
    There is no better Right Back.

  42. Jonnypauly says:

    It’s been a while since I have seen Ives defend himself so many times. Glad to see him joining in the conversation again. I just wish he would answer my questions directed at him on Twitter. Especially my question regarding San Zusi

  43. dude1 says:

    Can we talk about what he’s really talking about? Bradley and Dempsey. They had the ability to play for a champions league team, but they ended that quest early because they wanted more stability. You can argue about which mentality is better- the mentality to strive for bigger and better things, or the mentality to take the offer that provides the best situation for the family. But when it comes right down to it, the latter was the reason our two best field players are coming home. It was a mentality issue.

    In terms of quality, the early rounds feature clubs either equal or inferior to many of the clubs our boys currently play for (Sunderland being one of the exceptions). If MLS is going to start throwing money around and sweeten the pot, our boys will have to show the mentality to compete over the mentality of comfort.

  44. Brett says:

    We have the ability, and I think the best of our young players (Mix, Fab, AJ, Bedoya, Jozy in form) have the belief, but what is missing is the belief of others. High profile teams in high profile leagues aren’t going to take risks on unproven Americans unless we impress on the world stage.

  45. Bean says:

    Klinnsman performed well as a player at a high level and knows a bit about the mentality needed to play.

  46. BobbyB says:

    I come here for newsfeed. No one can deny the passion that Ives shows and has been showing for years. I also think SBI coverage of MLS is great and quite deep. On this opinion however, I believe that Ives is incorrect. My opinion. His opinion. Whatever. I know what JK meant and so does everyone else. To try to make something else out of it is silly and a bit petty.

    • Ted Tran says:

      Yep a whole lotta something bout nuffin

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      Just to be clear, you “know” what Klinsmann meant and since you disagree with me on exactly what he meant that makes it petty? Okay, we’ll disagree on that. I think he missed the mark, and while a lot of what he said was legit, he missed the mark with a very specific comment he made. You don’t have to think he did, that’s fine, but just because YOU don’t think it meant anything, and Klinsmann was completely in the right, doesn’t mean that anybody disagreeing is “making something out of nothing”.

  47. Leo says:

    Ives, I came here to disagree with you; however, while writing this I’m starting to come over to your side…a little.

    I think Klinsmann is guilty of sending his players too many “messages” over his tenure as head ball coach. First it was, “If you’re not getting regular first-team minutes, you’re not on my squad.” So guys like Dempsey and Bradley come back home to get that guaranteed PT, then this comes out. He needs to stop worrying about getting into their heads and make his messages more targeted.

    I agree with some of what Klinsmann is saying. If you’re giving up on your dream and you don’t believe in yourself, you are setting yourself up for some level of failure. You cannot, by definition, succeed at something you’re giving up on. Now, perhaps it’s a little different if your priorities change. I don’t blame *any* professional for wanting to return home, especially if they have a wife and kids to take care of.

    All that being said, and while I agree with Klinsmann’s statements about Champions League being the next benchmark for the great American player, what he, in particular, should be focused on is a strong domestic league. Even better than a strong domestic league is two or three strong domestic teams that can boast six or seven national team players each competing for playing time. With the salary cap and the influx of foreign dollars making its way into MLS, that’s now nothing but a pipe dream; however, that should be Juergen’s dream come true.

    Put it to you like this: you didn’t see Del Bosque crying about Fabregas coming home.

    • Fredo says:

      Yep, we win the World Cup when we have a strong domestic league. Not, when we have a few guys playing in UCL.

      • Leo says:

        So you have three guys playing in the UCL playing alongside guys that hold the ball a touch too long…

        I know I have to keep reminding you of this: this is a team sport. Two or three talented guys do not a team make.

  48. Lonestar says:

    The odds are high that Dempsey and Bradley were never going to see the Champions League. Ironically, Klejstan played Champions League, but he probably will not make the World Cup roster………something to think about…………………..

  49. JCC says:

    My opinion is actually the opposite. I actually think it IS the American belief in themselves that holds them back in Europe. Americans are used to getting their way, and there is an air of entitlement that to a certain extent makes American players complacent when it comes to competing in Europe. It`s not necessarily a conscious attitude on their part, it’s built into the American psyche. If they were just competing against other Americans I think the attitude would be a lot different, but Americans view foreigners as inferior, so the idea that they can’t beat out those they find inferior gives them a chip on their shoulder. Humility doesn’t come easily to Americans, but it’ll be needed if they want to succeed in Europe.

  50. MisterJC says:

    While I don’t think he’s infallible, I’m with Klinsmann on this one. I don’t think his statement is as general as it appears at first glance. Not only the players, but the fan base and media just seem to have this inferiority complex with regards to our soccer rep. There are reasons why we don’t have folks not just in the UCL, but top clubs. Talent, of course, has some bearing on that, but we have talented enough players in our current pool who could be on those kinds of teams. I don’t think the proper mentality has been exhibited to push through to that level, and I believe that is what Klinsmann is referring to in his interview…

    • Brain Guy says:

      I agree. These are entirely appropriate comments from JK. Regardless of whether they are directed at Dempsey, Bradley, or any other specific players, the comments point out what JK perceives as an obstacle to big success on the international stage. He is describing an attitude that not only says “I’m good,” but also says “I’m better than the next guy, and I’m going to take his job.” It’s the difference, I guess, between fitting in and standing out. And I don’t think the point is necessarily limited to American players. The best WC teams, says JK, are made up of guys who have no fear, and who have confidence that they can just beat their competition. He wanst the US to shed its underdog persona and start to believe it can run with the best, because even with vastly improved skills and tactics, they’re not going to crack the top tier unless they believe they belong there..

  51. wood chip zip says:

    Americans never lack in belief. You are so so wrong. I see why you took “with an American Voice” out of your blogs title.

  52. BrianK says:


    I am a huge supporter of Klinsman but I agree that he was wrong to paint American players with such a broad brush. Beyond the points you made in your piece on goal.com I would offer another thought.

    Klinsman has always projected himself as a visionary, a facilitator of change, someone who is willing to go against the grain so to speak. What I find interesting is that Klinsman, along with many on this board, seem to be focusing on the downside/negatives of the Dempsey-to-Seattle and Bradley-to-Toronto moves.

    I would have thought that a visionary or someone with a more positive outlook would see the possibilities that such transfers will create:

    1. It is good for the American player psyche to know that they can command top dollar in the world soccer marketplace. Doesn’t anyone think that such moves will boost American players confidence and at the same time put huge pressure,….positive competitive pressure that is, on the players that receive those contracts. Dempsey and Bradley have a lot to live up to for themselves and other American players who aspire to command such contracts in the future. I am thinking it will bring the best out in these two players.

    2. Built into Klinsman’s comments is the assumption that European leagues will always be better than other markets, like MLS. What he is not acknowledging is that the Dempsey and Bradley moves are accelerating MLS’s development and that in short time, it is possible that MLS will surpass many of the European leagues, if it has not already. Look at Italy,…for example. Traditionally one of the great leagues in the world, Serie A has fallen on hard times. Italy’s economy is struggling and several great clubs are quietly living off past glory bargain hunting because the wallet is empty,….think AC Milan. That is not to say that MLS is better than Serie A right now,…but rather it is possible that MLS may,…in the not so distant future, eclipse Serie A because of a number of factors,….macro economic, infrastructure, perception, etc. Another more glaring example,…If you had asked a Scottish soccer fan 20 years ago to envision the SPL being on skid row today,….do you think they would have looked at you as if you were some crazy American? The point is,…in a market driven environment, nothing is static,….there is change and it wrong to assume that things will not change. Furthermore,…change has to start at some point,….and maybe the Dempsey/Bradley moves are the beginning of that change. Klinsman, in this case, is focusing on the near-term and negatives of these moves.

    3. Maybe American players are getting tired of being branded ‘sub-par’ because they are American. It was laughable how the Clint Dempsey transfer (Fulham, Liverpool, Tottenham) saga dragged out after the season Clint had in 2011/2012. What do you think an EPL club would have payed for an English player who had scored 23 goals from midfield? €30MM? Instead, the clubs were squabbling over €6-9MM for Clint. There was clearly prejudice at work. Andy Carroll,….£35MM? Are you serious? A quick story from John Harkes’ time at Sheffield Wednesday. Harkes had an excellent season at Wednesady in ’93/’94,….playing multiple positions and demonstrating a superhuman work rate. They reach the FA Cup Final,….and when the line-ups were announced Harkes was starting,….as he had been for most of the season and in critical games. The first thing the announcer says to his color man when he sees the line-up,…”are you surprised the American is starting?” So maybe it is time for American soccer to be bold and confident and change the paradigm! Forget the old world and their prejudices and simply leave them behind. We can build beautiful stadia, pay high wages and put fannies in the seats and move on. Maybe Klinsman is wrong but right,…maybe American players should show confidence in themselves and not worry that they are not playing in Europe and develop the game in North America. Isn’t that what Landon Donovan has said all along? Maybe is 5-10 years,…many of the worlds best players will be flocking to MLS.

    Needless to say,…A little disappointed in Klinsi.

    • beto says:

      +1 the only thing that we have (some) control over is MLS. Of course English clubs are going to overpay (and play) English players, we are going to do the same for American players!

      Its time to make MLS and CCL as good as it should be and not put our soccer aspirations in the hands of midtable European managers…

    • GW says:

      BrianK says:

      “Klinsman has always projected himself as a visionary, a facilitator of change, someone who is willing to go against the grain so to speak. What I find interesting is that Klinsman, along with many on this board, seem to be focusing on the downside/negatives of the Dempsey-to-Seattle and Bradley-to-Toronto moves.

      I would have thought that a visionary or someone with a more positive outlook would see the possibilities that such transfers will create:”

      I have never heard JK refer to himself as a visionary. I’ve seen numerous articles and pundits describe him as such but that is not on him.

      “1. It is good for the American player psyche to know that they can command top dollar in the world soccer marketplace. Doesn’t anyone think that such moves will boost American players confidence and at the same time put huge pressure,….positive competitive pressure that is, on the players that receive those contracts. Dempsey and Bradley have a lot to live up to for themselves and other American players who aspire to command such contracts in the future. I am thinking it will bring the best out in these two players.”

      The Deuce/MB30 moves were marketing driven. Realistically MLS is aiming at the casual, comparatively uninformed North American fan. Deuce/MB30 have the requisite high enough profiles and good enough records. However, absent the World Cup, hopefully, producing a couple of new USMNT stars there is not a new wave of Americans that will suddenly come to MLS on similar monster contracts.

      “2. Built into Klinsman’s comments is the assumption that European leagues will always be better than other markets, like MLS. What he is not acknowledging is that the Dempsey and Bradley moves are accelerating MLS’s development and that in short time, it is possible that MLS will surpass many of the European leagues, if it has not already…”

      Define what you mean by a “better league”. MLS equaled or surpassed many European leagues a long time ago in nearly all but the following areas, developing top flight players in quantity and quality numbers, producing consistently competitive teams especially in international competitions , and generating local and national “passion”.
      And those areas take a lot of time and defy simple solutions such as the injections of vast amounts of capital.

      “3. Maybe American players are getting tired of being branded ‘sub-par’ because they are American. It was laughable how the Clint Dempsey transfer (Fulham, Liverpool, Tottenham) saga dragged out after the season Clint had in 2011/2012….”

      Clint’s passport had little, if anything, to do with his transfer issues getting out of Fulham.
      The biggest problem with Clint was he was 29 and the kind of money you wanted for Clint normally gets spent on much younger players. It always takes a year for anyone to adjust so they needed to look at him as a two/ three year proposition and Clint’s age made that an issue. That last year was so great it was also thought he might not be able to repeat it, hardly a controversial point of view.. Any way you look at it if Clint had been 25-26 it might have been very different.

      Harkes in 93-94? Are you kidding? MLS did not even exist when the Steve Sampson’s boy and former Prell model was at Wednesday. Justin Bieber had just been born. If you want to talk about discrimination that current American players face citing 20 year old examples is quaint and besides the point.

      Liverpool paid 35 M for Carroll, the alleged next big thing at the time, because, among other things, good British players are always over valued in Britain. You know why? Because they are as RARE as wooly mammoths.. And thus they have a value to the British public who are no less nationalistic than you are in terms of seeing one of their own do well.

      The UK and Europe are prejudiced and racist. Tell us something that hasn’t been obvious to half blind observers for centuries. They are casually prejudiced about just about everybody over there. But they have no monopoly on hatred and intolerance.
      Have you ever moved to another country and lived and worked there? Unless you have you can’t really appreciate the obstacles that most every foreign soccer player, not just Americans, over there have to negotiate. It can be very hard regardless of your profession. Talent is one thing. Cultural adaptability is another thing.

      One other thing, for a lot of the other foreigners in Europe if they fail they may have to go back to true, dire, third world poverty. In some cases it is close to literal life and death.
      The consequences for Gatt, Shea or Lletget if they must return home to the US having failed are a little less deadly. And those same foreigners see the US guys as competition, literally taking food out of the mouths of starving people.
      Tell me who has greater incentive to do anything to make it, to succeed?

      Landon is a unique case and is not a good example of what most American players deal with. He signed a big contract with Bayern Leverkusen almost right out of IMG and so the money thing was off the table for him early.

      His focus was not the Champions League or playing for the EPL champs. His focus as a kid was the World Cup so he oriented his entire career that way.

      LD is a USMNT player first and a Leverkusen/Quakes/ Galaxy player second. This is not normal.

      LD took advantage of his status to get himself onto MLS teams that basically kept him in shape for the three World Cups that he would eventually play in. He represents a most unlikely, non-repeatable, phenomenon.

      “Needless to say,…A little disappointed in Klinsi.”

      I don’t know why.

      JK is a manager, a coach. His job is get the best US eligible players together and form a team to do well in the World Cup. Filling their heads with useless fantasy won’t help them. He is also represents the program as a spokesman albeit a very plain spoken one and his vision is a little different from yours. He has an unvarnished view of what competition in Europe and soccer is all about.

      What you really want is a spin doctor for your POV and apparently, JK ain’t it.

  53. Ian Woodville says:

    Why does anyone take Jurgen seriously? These latest comments are just as silly as most of what he says. Are some American players intimidated by playing in Europe? Probably, but so are many other players from lesser soccer countries and even some from the big countries when they move to England or Spain.
    Isn’t about time that Americans accept that we know just about all there is to know about developing soccer players and that the missing piece in terms of producing world class players is attracting the best young American athletes to soccer. If all those superior athletes who choose football or basketball played soccer, where would we be? And attracting more good athletes involves providing more and better paying jobs for players here in the USA. How about we start with the pitiful pay for American players in MLS?

    • GW says:

      If you are trying to make the World Cup team then my guess is you would pay very close attention to what JK says.

      Otherwise,when you have a manager who is as media accessible as JK you have to accept that not everything he says will be unquestionably wonderful.

      It’s all good because JK’s comments keep driving interest in the USMNT. There is no such thing as bad publicity for this team.

      Right now it’s a slow news cycle for sports in general and USMNT topics in particular. And it will be a month or two before we can really assess how World Cup ready the two poster boys, MBTFC and Deuce, really are.

  54. chuck says:

    Michael Bradley sure didn’t believe he could take anybody out, so he took the safe, easy and profitable route.

    • beachbum says:

      how do you know he felt that way? He took the money because he’s a family man. It’s really not that difficult to understand. Making that choice of his into some kind of revelation about his self-belief is off target imo

      • chad says:

        You been listening to Hall & Oates or what?

      • Ali Dia says:

        Yup. We will never know for sure what his feelings were from the sporting/competitive perspective. Maybe someday he will say something about it in a book. (If that book reads anything like his interviews, count me out)

        But you’re right — nobody in their right mind would’ve refused that offer. While MB would certainly have looked forward to a comfortable financial future regardless, the incremental pay raise amounts to real, no-nonsense wealth — the kind that ensures the security of his family for generations to come. I’m sure he slept just fine with that knowledge.

        • chad says:

          you just confirmed chuck’s post…we’re you trying to agree?

          • Ali Dia says:

            No, I confirmed beachbum’s take really, which was that it’s not possible to say “Michael Bradley sure didn’t believe he could take anybody out”. We don’t know that — it’s a suspicion, quite possibly an accurate one, but speculation nonetheless. My point is that it’s irrelevant in the end — even if he truly did believe with utter confidence he could force his way into the first XI consistently, he still would’ve left (in my view). That number was too spectacular to pass up, and there could be no guarantee of anything like it ever coming along again.

            I would, however, confirm your Hall & Oates drop, which was enjoyable.

  55. chad says:

    How does Klinsmann miss the mark? I see lots of excuses made in this forum for the US players…but if they/we want to compete at the top level….selling out isn’t going to make it happen.

  56. beachbum says:

    Klinnsman missed the mark when he went so outspoken with his displeasure with MLS as a breeding ground for the talent pool. Whether that is accurate or not is NOT where he missed and not what I’m referring to.

    Where he missed was in calibrating Garber and MLS’s response which was to buy the American players and so bring the USMNT to MLS; they couldn’t just sit by with their domestic product while the USMNT coach let on such displeasure with them…bad business

    If Klinnsman really wanted them all in Europe his approach on this kind of backfired seems to me

    go ahead and rip away at this!

    • chad says:

      no rip except your excessive use of ‘not’ and it makes your post difficult to follow.

      • beachbum says:

        here reading genius, just digest this part, the word ‘not’ is not included

        Where he missed was in calibrating Garber and MLS’s response which was to buy the American players and so bring the USMNT to MLS; they couldn’t just sit by with their domestic product while the USMNT coach let on such displeasure with them…bad business

        If Klinnsman really wanted them all in Europe his approach on this kind of backfired seems to me

        • Ali Dia says:

          Dude how frustrating is this? Hell you and I don’t agree half the time, but I’m starting to worry we are getting punk’d by somebody.

        • chad says:

          Wow, some sensitive reactions to some light-hearted humor.

          Really sorry if I hurt your feelings…which seemed to cause you to resort to insults.

          • GW says:

            Mr. chad,

            There is no such thing as light hearted humor.

            Not when it comes from strangers.

            Some SBI regulars are xenophobic and distrust new posters.

            They tend to take things more seriously than the circumstances (internet blog, fake names, lack of personal accountability) would indicate.

            While I’m sure you and your friends find you a laugh a minute, on the internet you are not as funny as you think you are especially when you realize (then again you probably don’t) that a sense of humor and sarcasm are two things that, once you get past the glaringly obvious examples, are nearly impossible to transmit accurately on a forum like SBI.

            If you want to keep posting here simply develop a thick skin and ignore the unpleasantry from me and others.