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Landon Donovan isn’t the only jaded World Cup snub – Clarence Goodson speaks out

May 26, 2014, 10:28 AM EDT

Goodson AP

With the 23-man squad selected by Jurgen Klinsmann coming under heavy scrutiny for certain selections – and certain omissions – the fans aren’t the only ones confused.

San Jose Earthquakes defender Clarence Goodson isn’t about to second-guess the national team coach when he was trimmed from the squad, but he does want to know one thing: why.

“I asked Jurgen for an explanation,” Goodson said to “It was something that he was unwilling to give me. He said that he would speak with me after the World Cup about it, and I said that I thought I certainly deserved an explanation. And it was something that he was unwilling to give.”

It’s a curious quote for sure, and it’s unclear why exactly Klinsmann would want to wait on giving his player something all players deserve.

“When Jurgen needed a result, he called on me,” Goodson said. “You look at the games that were played last year. Gold Cup final, snow game, 2-0 against Mexico. Were there any games bigger than that? I played in all three of those. So it’s certainly surprising and something I think Jurgen got wrong.”

This weekend, Goodson implied that Klinsmann could have had his mind made up before camp, but that’s something that’s less likely to be true.

However, it’s odd that Goodson would be this openly frustrated with his cut, and clearly there is a little animosity between Goodson and the man in charge.

Left off for John Anthony Brooks, some have questioned the decision by Klinsmann considering Goodson’s versatility along the back line as well as Brooks’ poor performances recently for the national team.

“For me, I thought that certainly I would be going to the World Cup,” Goodson proclaimed.

Landon Donovan the other day spoke about his frustrations with being left out, saying he believed he wasn’t just good for the squad but also thought he was in contention for a starting spot.

  1. jbq2 - May 26, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    You should be asking the right question. Why does Klinnsman want a large number of black players? Brooks, Green, and Yelden are all black. Was he ordered to do so by the “powers that be”? Some time ago, I knew a player on the U-17 squad which played and won in London. He told me that there were orders in regard to affirmative action.

    • mgillie24 - May 26, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      @ Jbq2 You must be joking right now…how is it that you somehow bring affirmative action in the sports arena. Please stop talking before you have a brain seizure…you’re clearly and idiot.

    • briceyj888 - May 26, 2014 at 12:24 PM

      Is this guy for real? Your ignorance is astounding. There are probably a handful of black players on the roster. You sound like some of those French people who want the French team to be all white. And, as for that player in the U-17 team, why would management discuss policy like that with a kid if it really was their policy? Is he involved in picking the players too? Please just go away with your bull, lol.

    • jay1934 - May 26, 2014 at 2:00 PM

      I think it’s more he wanted foreigners in the team because he doesn’t think Americans can do the job. Neither can his foreigners. I think the Americans deserve to be on the team.

    • reformed2012 - May 26, 2014 at 9:12 PM

      Because the first game of the group will be a team composed of ALL blacks.

  2. bellerophon30 - May 26, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    Interesting that more players are now saying that Jurgen’s mind seemed made up before camp even started. Keep in mind that it only hurts them to say this, for the future in getting selected, so it lends some legitimacy.

    And to all the media saying that they doubt this: Well remember, the players know him better than you do.

    • skipvanmeter - May 26, 2014 at 3:34 PM

      If you think about it, sure Jurgen’s should have had his mind made up before the camp started. First of all he had to eliminate other players to get to 30 so he had to be weighing in his mind already all the players. Just goes to reason.

      So then at camp he was mainly making sure that the players he wanted were in decent enough shape. That’s wasn’t a total slam dunk as he did say earlier last week that the MLS players were not in great condition and not in as good a condition as the Euro-based players. So it is possible that Goodson lost out to Brooks because of conditioning and t was that close between the two. Or Jurgen may have already decided on Brooks before the camp started and wanted to make sure with Goodson as an insurance policy.

      I see nothing wrong with that.

      • bellerophon30 - May 26, 2014 at 4:28 PM

        I don’t think Brooks was quite the slam dunk “Join the USMNT and I’ll put you on the Brazil plane” as Julian Green was, but when he was put on the 30, Goodson can’t have felt good. If the 23 was decided ahead of time, I wonder at getting the hopes of the other seven up. Because it certainly doesn’t appear as though he told them ahead of time that they were on the block, and barring injury they wouldn’t go.

        I’m curious as to what happens now if there’s an injury? Does Jurgen pick someone from the increasingly bitter seven guys, most of whom have gigged him (no pun intended, I’m sure they didn’t sleep with Mrs. Klinsmann) in the press over what happened? I don’t want anyone to get hurt of course, but if that happens, Jurgen will be in a bit of a spot.

        Stay tuned.

    • schmutzdeck - May 26, 2014 at 4:47 PM



      This is Goodson’s last shot at a World Cup He is not likely to be back. So what does he have to lose?

      JK wouldn’t explain the cut because he still might need him. But I doubt Goodson is worried about that. Of course he’s mad. What do you guys expect him to say? You don’t think he has an axe to grind?

      You should expect Goodson to be absolutely devastated. Are you crazy?

      And the players do not know him better than than anyone else. They just know a different side of him.

      • bellerophon30 - May 26, 2014 at 5:22 PM

        Dude, assuming you’re a dude, I wanted Goodson to start, besides being on the team. And of course he’s devastated, being passed over for a guy like Brooks who hasn’t proven anything, either in Germany or with the national team. And who likely won’t even play, nobody other than Guzan and Rimando has less of a chance to see the pitch than John Brooks, and yes i’m including Julian Green in that.

        That said, if Jurgen calls any of these guys, they’ll all come a running, even Donovan. It’s a World Cup after all. But the tournament to watch is next year’s Gold Cup, when every veteran player who might be Boca’d or Lando’d will be wondering if it’s worth the effort to show up. Dempsey will be key to watch there. And Howard too, given that US Keepers age well, and Guzan hasn’t quite caught up to him yet.

  3. mgillie24 - May 26, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    Donovan is a fading star and the world cup eats players like him alive. Maybe Klinnsman is actually just doing what he is paid to do. Make coaching decisions, however unpopular they may seem. I think it’s also extremely funny how all of a sudden we have a lot of soccer experts in the US…Everyone has an opinion that they heard from someone else and they take it and run with it because they cant think for themselves. The US has to play Germany and Portugal…even if Donovan went, they’re not winning! Younger guys need the playing time, they need the confidence boost and he made a decision to give them that in this world cup. If you so called soccer experts thought about it, England has had to do the same thing with their squad by omitting Ashley Cole who is an absolute beast at the left back position. Other youngsters need to get in the fold though. They need their chance.

    • apalencia07 - May 26, 2014 at 12:15 PM

      Mgillie so answer me this why didn’t klinsman have most of the younger guys he’s brining play in the qualifying rounds. If he’s brining these guys for experience which I think is needed why didn’t he have them playing in more games during the qualifying rounds to get experience. He relied on veterans to get him here and now he’s going with a team that has no and if any the slightest bit of team chemistry. A few weeks of playing together isn’t going to do anything when the World Cup comes. Every country in the world since the start of the World Cup has always brought veterans and there younger guys to watch or gain a few min of experience. I didn’t think it was a snub till klinsmans son made that inappropriate remark on twitter. Seems like there’s something else going on. If what you say is true he is just brining in guys to gain experience. He should have been doing this months and maybe even a year ago. Not a month away before the World Cup. Brooks and green player like crap in there last few only have one. And that was against concaf. I guess we will all see what happens in June.

      • briceyj888 - May 26, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        Green has a lot of potential, thus the inclusion. He was promised a spot for his allegiance, even though Klinsmann won’t tell you this. It’s a gamble, but it may pay dividends in the future of US men’s soccer.

      • schmutzdeck - May 26, 2014 at 4:51 PM


        Why does it have to be either or with you guys?

        You are forgetting about the 5 World Cup vets on the roster.

      • kadnamz - May 26, 2014 at 8:30 PM

        apalencia07, what teams did they play to qualify? You can’t compare the World Cup to any of the qualifying tournaments that are played. Teams use various players to play in qualifying tournaments. The roster changes with what team is being played.

    • bayoor75 - Jun 9, 2014 at 8:00 PM

      And Green? He hasn’t done anything in his career to warrant the inclusion. You have seen him twice for the national team and can you say, with a straight face, that he deserves to go to Brazil? The poor kid has looked lost on the pitch. The WC will eat, digest and defecate him. I doubt he will even see the field, except in the last game after it becomes obvious that the US will not qualify for the second round – then Klinnsy may give him 20-30 minutes ff the bench.

      I, honestly, don’t know what the hoopla about Green is. He plays for Bayern’s youth team in the fourth-tier league. So? And the US media should stop making him out to be in “hot” demand. He met with Low and Bierhoff (German national team director) in February/March and they told him the reality – there are many young Germans ahead of him in the national team pecking order. ARe you going to pick him ahead of Lassoga? Or Felix Kroos? Draxler? Werner (who has already made over 25 substitute appearances for Stuttgart at the age of 18)? Fullkrig (who made his Bundesliga debut at 19 and scored 8 goals in 2 Bundesliga last season)? Avdijaj (who scored 44 goals and 13 assists for Werder Bremen junior team)? Not to talk of the even richer pipeline of attacking midfielders! NO WONDER HE CHOSE THE US!

  4. mikeymo74 - May 26, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    I understand why he’s upset, but compare his bitter angry reaction to Donovan’s classy response. What explanation does he need other than he wasn’t good enough? Klinsmann probably just told him they would talk after the World Cup because he has other more important things to be doing right now than mollifying Goodson’s oversized ego.

    He brings up past performances from over a year ago (much like the journalists criticizing the Donovan decision), but those are completely irrelevant. What matters is what he would bring to the World Cup matches next month. You can disagree with Klinsmann, but it’s his decision. None of the players who didn’t make it were likely to make a significant impact either way.

  5. saidfrh1 - May 26, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    Clarence deserved to play. I think Clarence is better that Gonzales, better than Brooks.

  6. el timo - May 26, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    Neither Donovan or Goodson were on the first team, imho. So the question was, do you bring these old guys to play scant minutes or do you give your young up-and-comers a taste? Of course you bring the kids, even if it means sacrificing a sacred cow or two. As Michael Corleone said, “It’s not personal. It’s business.”

  7. driftwood119 - May 26, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    I have a problem with Brooks’ selection over Goodson as well. I haven’t seen anything of Brooks other than a tendency to get lost in the defense. But I also have a problem with the selection of Brad Davis. I think if you need a left footed versatile player, Jose Torres who plays for Tigres would have been a better choice. The only thing I can say about this world cup is it is going to be interesting. Klinsman will be revealed to be a genius or a fool.

  8. godsholytrousers - May 26, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    I have a much bigger problem leaving Goodson off the team than I have leaving Donovan off.
    Goodson was there for all the important matches, and his competition (Omar Gonzales) has been as wretched as Landon.

    • el timo - May 26, 2014 at 6:39 PM

      Cameron will take all Gonzales minutes at RB (thank God), and Fabian Johnson will give us the speed we need (and Goodson doesn’t have) on the right flank. Besler and Beasley on the left, Bradley, Zusi, Jones in the middle, Dempsey and Altidore up front…hmmm…who are we missing? Beckerman in front of the backline?

      • saidfrh1 - May 26, 2014 at 8:32 PM

        I would like to see the guy from Iceland over Altidore.

      • adamlnash - May 26, 2014 at 9:57 PM

        Are you suggesting

        Fabian Cameron Besler Beasley

        Jones Bradley

        Zusi Beckerman

        Dempsey Jozy

        This is not going to happen…

  9. mmdot43 - May 26, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    Brad Evans got screwed…instead we got chicken head and all 2 of his caps. TWO!

  10. mknow406a - May 27, 2014 at 2:18 AM

    “You look at the games that were played last year. Gold Cup final, snow game, 2-0 against Mexico. Were there any games bigger than that? I played in all three of those.”

    Wow… Gold Cup final? Playing with the B-Team against Panama… Snow game? Two feet of snow, where nobody could move or run with the ball. and 2-0 Mexico? Facing a Mexico team that was beyond horrid during the entire group phase. Did you play the 0-0 draw in Azteca 4 days after the snow game? Also seemed to neglect mentioning the start v Belgium where the US back line got picked apart.. or not stepping on the pitch for the win against Germany…. I wouldn’t exactly say that’s a ‘sure thing’ resume there…

  11. ravens634 - May 27, 2014 at 7:00 AM

    or maybe goodson was cut because he wasnt good enough.

    • northeastsoccercoach - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      Then surely the coach could easily have explained to Goodson why he wasn’t good enough and what areas he needed to improve upon. If he was in the final 30, clearly JK thought he was close enough that a little improvement would help him and the program in the future.

  12. velkropie - May 27, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    You write as if it matters, the USA and its 3rd sub level players don’t stand a chance.

  13. midtec2005 - May 27, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    I always poo pooed the German American conspiracies with JK, but this episode has probably revived them, quite strongly.

    Three strong American players, and leaders, were left off for Germans that either haven’t shown well, or clearly don’t give a crap. If you’re having trouble, it’s Donovan, Goodson, Evans for Green, Brooks, and Chandler.

    The only thing that can justify JK here is that the three Germans are all very young, so they have a lot of upside.

    • mknow406a - May 28, 2014 at 1:25 AM

      What 3 Germans? Green who was born in Tampa and lived there until his parents divorced or Chandler that was brought into the USMNT by Bob Bradley? Why are Masteroni and Feilhaber “American” while Green, born here, and Jones, owned a home in the USA BEFORE getting called into the US camp are not?

      • mazblast - May 28, 2014 at 3:15 PM

        Never confuse an issue by bringing up the facts.

      • bayoor75 - Jun 9, 2014 at 7:29 PM

        Yes, some Because Mastroeni and Feilhaber HAD achieved some things before they were called up and they always delivered. What has the Germans achieved? Johnson and Chandler have been very inconsistent when playing for the US that Klinnsy even dropped both for a while. Green hasn’t done ANYTHING. Yes, he plays for Bayern’s junior team (4 division) and is their top scorer…is that really an achievement? Really? IMO, NO! Why are we taking someone that will not make an impact at this world cup at the expense of someone who can actually contribute? You’ve seen Green play and his lack of top class experience clearly shows.

        Nobody’s complaining about ALL the dual nationality players – we are stumped by the inclusion of those that don’t merit it. Jones has played at the top level with Schalke and nobody has complained about his inclusion. Diskerud and Johannsson have played well when given the chance, so nobody is complaining about him also…and no one would have complained if Boyd made the team. But Green? Really? Chandler? Johnson? Brooks? Give me a break!

  14. bayoor75 - Jun 9, 2014 at 7:18 PM

    This weekend, Goodson implied that Klinsmann could have had his mind made up before camp, but that’s something that’s less likely to be true.

    Actually, all evidence points to Klinnsy having already made up his mind before camp and that the camp was a sham! Klinnsy has a flawed way of thinking – just because you attend a college before going pro DOESN’T mean you’re not as good as those who went straight to junior teams of European clubs. And, just because you play in Europe DOES NOT necessarily mean that you are better than MLS players.
    So many players in this 23 don’t deserve to go to the world cup because they haven’t proven anything – especially the Germans – Johnson, Chandler, Brooks and Green. Yes, they all have dual nationalities, but don’t confuse yourself, they are Germans through and through, and only picked US because it’s their only chance of EVER playing in the world cup. All of them have other young Germans ahead of them in the German national team.

    • northeastsoccercoach - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:07 PM

      And just because you were a great player doesn’t mean you’ll make a great manager. Many have been great at one, precious few at both.

  15. northeastsoccercoach - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    Everyone knows that Klinsmann’s snubbing of Donovan was about his huge ego vs Donovan’s. This just illustrates it. Any coach worth his salt is going to give his players an explanation in this circumstances. The player isn’t going to like it but he’s going to respect that at least the coach had the cajones to tell him why. And at least the player will know where he stands and what he needs to improve upon going forward.

    You can be decisive and in charge without being imperious. Apparently Klinsmann can not. The fact that USSF made him completely unaccountable until 2018 even before this World Cup only aggravates this. I’m a coach. I know giving bad news is unpleasant. But if you are going to demand your players give their all, at least have the integrity to man up and explain yourself.

    I thought man management was supposed to be his strong suit. It certainly wasn’t tactics or personnel selection.

    • northeastsoccercoach - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      A coach also has to put his ego aside for what’s best for the team.

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