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Run, run as fast as you can: A few words from the man who made the U.S. fit

Dec 5, 2012, 12:47 PM EDT

US midfielder Eric Lichaj fights for the

A brief distraction from the impending Champions League matches and Steve’s excellent Breakfast with Jurgen posts to bring you some news from a former United States national team coach that’s still relevant.

Mike Woitalla does a fascinating back and forth with Pierre Barrieu, the fitness coach under Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley. The U.S. has long been considered one of the most fit teams in the world, and Barrieu — who is currently serving as the fitness coach at UAE — played a large role in making that happen.

The Americans under Klinsmann are taking a bit of a different tact, with the German head coach upping the level of fitness even higher. One of the things they do is run every morning for 20 minutes before breakfast. Woitalla asked Barrieu for his reaction to the news of the increased work levels.

My first reaction is no reaction. I totally didn’t take it personally. This is down to the coach’s decision. I’m not going talk on behalf of Jurgen. I don’t know why it’s the case. I don’t know if that automatically means he thinks the fitness wasn’t good before.

If you wake up and go for a morning jog, some coaches think there is some positive in doing this, but I don’t think it’s the case. It comes down to making choices and why they’re doing more fitness work than before. That’s a question for him. For me, it doesn’t affect me one way or the other. I’m supporting the U.S. If they think it’s the best thing to do for the team, then great.

So… different strokes for different folks. But you’d have to think the current U.S. team probably doesn’t exactly love the early morning runs.

Check out the whole interview over at SoccerAmerica. There’s more good stuff, including an intense discussion of making players faster and an nice anecdote about the U.S.-Algeria match in 2010.

(And a nod to MLSSoccer.com’s John Bolster for pointing out the Q&A.)

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