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Jurgen Klinsmann on the short MLS offseason, on the U.S. under-20s, on Landon Donovan and more

Mar 1, 2013, 5:46 PM EDT

US national football team head coach, Ge

There has been no louder – and certainly no more influential – advocate of shrinking Major League Soccer’s off-season than U.S. national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann.

He said a year back that MLS down time was too lengthy, too easy-breezy on world class athletes who needed to get off those comfy sofas and get back after it sooner – and that player development in this country suffered because of it.

Not so much because Klinsmann said so, but due to other scheduling factors, Major League Soccer did indeed reduce the interim. At three months, this was easily the shortest MLS off-season yet. (Since clubs were back in training camp in mid-January, the actual player down time was closer to six weeks in many cases.)

In his latest podcast from U.S. Soccer, Klinsmann talked about the effect of a reduced off-season, mostly as it relates to potential U.S. men:

We hope the players respond positively to it, that they feel, ‘OK, I can adjust easier or faster to a heavy rhythm of games.’ Once season starts, they are traveling all over the place, playing games every three, four, five days.

Also, mentally, you need to adjust so that hopefully, with the shorter offseason, it is easier for them to get back into that rhythm and their bodies adjust to it. It’s all about how fast you can recover from games, about how quickly they can regenerate and hopefully it makes them even stronger.”

On the same podcast, Klinsmann also revealed that he spoke via Skype to Tab Ramos’ under-20 national team earlier this week, before they met Canada for a spot in this summer’s FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey.

I told them it’s about being a giver here. Don’t think about yourself, just think about teammates, think about the big opportunity you have. If you are all givers, you are going to beat Canada and things will turn out OK. And the way they played was exciting, some good combinations, some good flow of the ball, even on a difficult surface, because it looked a bit bumpy there.”

Klinsmann also addressed injuries and availability with Steve Cherundolo and Landon Donovan and more. No real surprises there, although he did seem to add a little more boil to this kettle by saying “If” rather than “When” on Donovan’s return to the national team.

And did the U.S. manager reveal a little something about the way the United States may set up tactically in the future, perhaps playing without a true holding midfielder? In talking about the important relationship between central mids Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley, he mentioned more training sessions ahead, where perhaps they could train to set up without a defensive midfield anchor – so long as Bradley and Jones develop an understanding of how one of them absolutely has to hold the midfield if the other goes forward.

  1. charliej11 - Mar 2, 2013 at 6:44 AM

    Professional of him to list all of the positives and none of the negatives of a very short off season.

    Soccer is great because it is an endurance, a sprint, a physical, a skill sport. As such the body does need off time…and by off time, I mean stay in shape, stay skilled, but not going 110%. He is a fool not to realize this.

    • bear06 - Mar 5, 2013 at 4:39 AM

      You’re an idiot charliej11.

    • bear06 - Mar 5, 2013 at 4:48 AM

      Also you do know that the best leagues in the world (EPL, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A) all have short off seasons right?

  2. barneysbullet - Mar 2, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    I’m sure he does realize it, Charlie. This guy’s coached a few soccer games.

    • joeyt360 - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      And played a few of them too.

      Besides, he wasn’t being asked to pro/con it. He was an advocate of the shorter offseason, and he was explaining why he was advocating it. It’s a bit tendentious to criticize him for not arguing against himself.

      • bear06 - Mar 5, 2013 at 4:43 AM

        Yep, he was one of the best strikers in the world back in his day when he was playing.

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