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Jurgen Klinsmann to call up players in MLS Cup Playoffs

Nov 7, 2013, 10:44 PM EDT

FBL-WC2014-QUALIFIERS-USA-TRAINING

As it turns out, Jurgen Klinsmann might just call in U.S. Men’s National Team players who are still involved in the MLS Cup Playoffs for this month’s European friendlies.

The exact opposite – that such MLS occupied players would not be selected for the friendlies against Scotland and Austria – had been reported by Sports Illustrated just two days ago.

Discussing his plans on U.S. Soccer’s website, Klinsmann suggested that players who choose to participate in the games on November 15th and 19th would prove that they are “really 1,000 percent dedicated” to the program.

“Because MLS scheduled their playoffs with respect to our FIFA fixture dates, it’s basically working hand-in-hand,” said Klinsmann. “We’re going to bring the best players into Scotland and Austria no matter where they play. No matter if they play like Michael Bradley in Italy or the guys in the [English] Premier League, the Bundesliga or the guys in Liga MX in Mexico and MLS.

“Because of MLS creating that window between their playoff games, that helps make our two games really exciting.”

FIFA statutes require clubs to release players for matches coming during the international breaks like the one next week, meaning teams involved in the MLS Conference Championships may be shorthanded in upcoming matches. It’s a situation that’s guaranteed to infuriate managers still involved in MLS Cup.

“We are trying to bring in the strongest group possible, so we follow all the games happening right now, if it’s in Europe or especially if it’s here in MLS with the playoff games,” Klinsmann said. “It always helps when they come in every game and train together. We see so many things in training and in games.

“So for us, in the few opportunities we have to see them directly together, we can send out specific messages, and we can discuss with a lot of players – especially players from MLS and Liga MX – what their offseason should look like after the playoffs are done.

“Having everybody on board, getting everybody together and having those meetings are very crucial to us because we build chemistry for the World Cup. We want to see who’s really 1,000 percent dedicated to everything we do.”

As to the strain on players involved in MLS playoffs, Klinsmann views it as a positive for what he’s trying to accomplish on the international level. “If you’re the [USMNT] coach, it’s where you want to see your national team players stepping it up,” the coach said. “You want them to put their stamp on the game. … This is big-time now.”

  1. hildezero - Nov 8, 2013 at 12:46 AM

    I like Klinsi’s seriousness here but calling up players that are playing in the playoffs is wrong. The players that play in clubs that are still playing should not be the ones not getting called up. Like Brad Davis, Corey Ashe, Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, or any player from Portland. Or than that, it’s okay. Although Zusi is important…

    • bear06 - Nov 8, 2013 at 2:15 AM

      I highly doubt Ashe is getting called up. He’ll probably call up a few national team MLS players for the upcoming friendlies.

    • talgrath - Nov 8, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      Nobody is playing an MLS game while these friendlies are going on, why shouldn’t he call them up?

  2. drewvt6 - Nov 8, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    Poor move on JK’s part. He’s lucky LA and Seattle were knocked out tonight.

    • bear06 - Nov 8, 2013 at 2:13 AM

      Smart move on JK’s part. There aren’t many games left until the WC so it’s his right to call anyone he wants.

      • drewvt6 - Nov 8, 2013 at 11:35 AM

        Anyone involved in MLS playoffs should opt out. No one from any Euro league would fly to the Americas for a friendly with Honduras or Panama during this break.

      • bear06 - Nov 8, 2013 at 1:12 PM

        If they opt out then their U.S. MNT stock is gonna go down.

    • talgrath - Nov 8, 2013 at 3:48 PM

      You do realize nobody is playing in the MLS post season while these friendlies are going on, right?

      • bear06 - Nov 9, 2013 at 1:34 AM

        Some people just like to whine even though they don’t know what they’re talking about.

  3. charliej11 - Nov 8, 2013 at 7:52 AM

    If long term soccer doesn’t make it professionally in the US, and the nat team takes a huge hit, does that make JK’s run look better or worse…better….and he is German and wouldn’t care two licks about you watching soccer in this country on Saturdays.

    Very selfish move.

    • bear06 - Nov 8, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      Very selfish move? You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about charliej11.

    • supercoop8 - Nov 8, 2013 at 1:40 PM

      This is incoherence; JK wants to sandbag the MLS so his tenure as USMNT appears fruitful long-term??
      JK in his tenure has changed the culture of the USMNT, deepened the player pool, to which Gold Cup call ups for MLS players draws a greater national audience. Will he make a decision that prioritizes the USMNT above the MLS?? Of course, that is his job hot shot. A decent World Cup campaign garners interest of the sport in the US, which then garners support to the MLS, to not understand that simple fact is foolish.

  4. bobinkc - Nov 8, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    I wonder how some of you lads would like it if your team was competing the final conference round and Jurgi pulled two of YOUR best players to go do friendlies of all things. After 120 minutes of action on Wednesday, I didn’t want to do anything but go to bed happy; and I wasn’t even out there busting my buns to win.

    Zero, I hate to tell you this, but Zusi and Besler are both very important…to Sporting Kansas City. So you can have your friendlies, just without our boys, because they are going up against Houston again in the conference final.

    If it really is important to you lads to have soccer become a major in the US, doesn’t it behoove us to allow our professional teams to play at full strength all season? I realize that it is a warm fuzzy to be called up for MNT, but where soccer is really making inroads against the other pro sports is down in the trenches during the regular season and in the post-season games, not the occasional USMNT game and especially not the so-called friendlies.

    • bear06 - Nov 8, 2013 at 1:20 PM

      You do know that your team is not going play during the friendlies right? Also some people have to stop complaining about JK calling up these MLS players, he can call up whoever he wants because he is the U.S. MNT coach and he is just doing his job.

    • talgrath - Nov 8, 2013 at 3:46 PM

      The teams aren’t going to play during the friendlies as MLS has a gap specifically for this in their playoff schedules. Beyond that, for the players it is country before club, always; you only get so many chances to play for a national team and there is no bigger spotlight for your talent than the World Cup. Every player wants to be on that plane to Brazil come next year, I guarantee you that none of them would have a second though about it if it was a choice between the playoffs and the national team. The coaches know the national team call-ups are more important, that’s why they only grouse about the MLS schedule making teams play through absences, not about Klinsmann’s call ups.

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