Photo by John Todd/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
Jurgen Klinsmann is wasting no time in planning for the future.
A day after seeing the U.S. Men’s National Team eliminated from the 2014 World Cup, Klinsmann shared some of his plans for the start of his next cycle in charge of the program. Klinsmann said on Wednesday that he plans on leaving veterans with their club teams during the coming months’ friendlies so as to tap further into the youth that is coming through the pipeline.
The Americans will not play a competitive match until the 2015 Gold Cup, giving Klinsmann ample opportunity to start a youth movement that he thinks might pay off in the long run.
“A good thing about this next year is that we kind of have the opportunity to see a lot of young players coming to our platform, coming to the senior team,” Klinsmann told reporters in his final press conference in Brazil. “We can give them time to show where they are up to right now.
“The experienced players, or the older players, we can tell them for the next couple of months, ‘Go play in your club environment, we know you inside out anyway, we know what you bring to the table. But right now maybe there’s time for the next couple of friendlies that come up and over the next year that we want to see the young players grow and see how they can make it.’”
Klinsmann has not been shy about fielding young, inexperienced players since taking over as head coach in 2011. He even played John Brooks, DeAndre Yedlin and Julian Green in key moments at the World Cup and each of them turned in performances that drew plenty of admiration and positive reviews.
Now, Klinsmann is hoping to identify which other youngsters are capable of contributing before integrating them into the full group at next summer’s Gold Cup.
“For Gold Cup we want to go with the strongest team possible,” said Klinsmann. “It’s going to be similar to a World Cup. We want to play our best team, and then we can see how many of the experienced players are in it and how many are out. But this transition year coming up is definitely the opportunity to bring a lot of young players now through the ranks and see what they’re capable to do.”
Some of the players Klinsmann might be keen on playing ahead of the bevy of competitions that will be played in the coming years are Mix Diskerud, Terrence Boyd, Juan Agudelo, and Luis Gil. Others in the conversation are Sean Johnson, Joe Corona, Alfredo Morales, Shane O’Neill and Will Packwood.
Those are not the only players in contention. There is an abundance of young talent coming through the ranks right now thanks to MLS’s continued growth and players finding stable homes at European clubs. Klinsmann thinks it is all part of the progress that the U.S. is making as a soccer nation.
“I think overall that we are going in the right direction,” said Klinsmann. “With the competitions we have now happening every year, it just will help us to become more consistent, and more demanding on the players. Not just letting them get away with things.
“We need to get critical in certain moments, making them aware that, ‘Listen, if you had put that ball in the net yesterday, we would be in the next round,’ without making it too harsh. They need that sense of accountability, that sense of criticism, and of the people around them that care about it.”
Excited about the youth movement? Which players would you like to see get extended minutes over the next year?
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