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Jurgen Klinsmann says he isn’t playing the young guys just because they are, you know, “young”

Mar 21, 2013, 10:30 AM EDT


DENVER – Everyone wanted to see Jurgen Klinsmann heading up the national team. For so doggone long.

As U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati wooed the enigmatic German not once, but twice, the deciders as well as the supporters were just so charmed by the progressive and preternaturally positive manager who had guided his home country back in 2006 out of the dark alley into which it had wandered.

Well, this is what Klinsmann always was: positive and optimistic, perhaps to a fault.

We’re about to find out.

Part of the bigger rebuild was likely to include going younger.  That means putting a certain faith in the lesser tested. Faith and optimism walk hand in hand, as we know.

Only, now that things are going something less than swell, the inevitable push-back has arrived. And then the counter-punching, etc.

Among the controversial elements of the less-than-perfect U.S. slog thus far through World Cup qualifying has been the use of younger players over older ones. Mostly, it’s about Omar Gonzalez and Geoff Cameron ushering in the new era along the back line, rather than falling back on Carlos Bocanegra. You could say that Bocanegra would represent the “old guard” choice.

Is Klinsmann right? Or is the optimism and positive energy that guides him leading him down a Brazilian rabbit hole? We’ll see.

U.S. Soccer is paying the man a whole bunch of money to make these tough choices.

Here’s how Klinsmann explained it as the team set up for their first workout in Denver, via U.S. Soccer.

I’m not choosing them because they are young. I am choosing them because they are better in my opinion than maybe somebody else. That being said, giving them the trust, giving them the confidence, and helping them break through, is really just based on their qualities. It’s based on, ‘they deserve it,’ because they are good. They deserve to play right now.

Obviously, when you break them into the international game, World Cup qualifying, which is huge, there is a lot of tension, some are nervous, it’s a normal process. It’s something they will work their way through it, and get used to it, and then a couple of games down the road, they won’t even think about it anymore.

But transition only happen because the players have the qualities.

And here is the video from U.S. Soccer, as reported by Allen Hopkins, a member of the U.S. Soccer staff.


  1. danielofthedale - Mar 21, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    I think off all the choices being called into question, the picking of Omar and Cameron over Boca is one of the least sound, to me at least. I mean I love Boca! He has been a great leader and Captain for the US. However he has not been playing for his team in a lower tier league. The CBs almost pick themselves. I would say the fact that we knew Boca at his age probably would not be around in 2014 that Jurgen probably should have went to Omar or Matt Besler a little sooner.

    Also, I am the only one that think a CB pair or Omar and Besler (who partnered up for almost a month in the Jan camp) with Geoff playing RB like he has done pretty well at Stoke would be a better way to go than Omar and Geoff in the middle with Beltran on the right which is what I think will happen?

  2. mkbryant3 - Mar 21, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Truth from the dale. Totally agree on Boca. He has been incredible for us, but time for a changing of the guard especially in light of his bench time in Spain.

    I can’t wait to see our young guns go.

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