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Klinsmann talks “connecting the dots” in massive Guardian interview

Jun 6, 2014, 9:54 AM EDT

Jurgen Klinsmann AP

USMNT coach Jürgen Klinsmann gave an extensive interview to Graham Parker, published on The Guardian website on Friday. Much of it is familiar to the U.S. fan – the brief rundown of Klinsmann’s appointment, his accessibility to his players, the way the USMNT will approach the World Cup.

But that approach to the tournament is implicitly tied to what Klinsmann talks about most in the interview: his view of development of soccer in the U.S., with particular focus on youth development.

Klinsmann’s contract extension, which keeps him as head coach through 2018, makes him one of the rare national team managers that won’t necessarily have their fates determined by World Cup performance. This long-term approach not only allows Klinsmann to do things like select a young squad for Brazil, with an eye toward the 2018 World Cup, but it also allows him to put plenty of thought into how to best develop the system in the U.S. so that the team can truly become competitive:

No matter what level we’re involved at, it’s trying to connect the dots – we’re trying to connect coaches’ education, we’re trying to connect player development, we’re trying to connect the professional league to the bigger picture, the international picture. So – and this is all changing over the past couple of years – we introduced an academy system with a 10-month season. MLS extended their season longer and longer in order to become more competitive.

Does Klinsmann want the USMNT to do well in Brazil, or is development more important? As he says, ““Well, you want both to happen – success in Brazil then continuing the long-term growth of the game and the players here.”

It’s bound to be a tough tournament, with the U.S. drawn in Group G alongside Germany, Portugal and Ghana. But USMNT supporters should be relieved to know that Klinsmann is thinking long-term, that he’s trying to find ways of connecting the dots so that the team can continue to grow and to build upon its successes.

  1. lyleoross - Jun 6, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    To all those who keep saying that JK is throwing over 2014 for 2018, nope, he’s just multitasking. Look what happened when he did the same for Germany.

    • midtec2005 - Jun 6, 2014 at 12:58 PM

      Agreed. If LD was on the team, non of this talk would be happening. It’s still a strong squad.

      • talgrath - Jun 6, 2014 at 2:58 PM

        I’d point out though, that if LD was on the squad and he wasn’t starting, throughout the World Cup (or at least, for as long as the USA was in it) we’d be hearing the media harp on the question of why he wasn’t starting. In theory, this gets the media frenzy out of the way early.

    • unclemosesgreen - Jun 6, 2014 at 3:29 PM

      I believe you are referring to Taylor Twellman, who has been braying non-stop about this roster being indicative that Klinsmann is playing for 2018 only. Like any competitive person would ever do that. Ever.

      Or you could be referring to Bruce Arena, who will take (and has taken) any opportunity to blast Klinsmann.

      Or any of the other hundreds of lazy American sports writers who took the opportunity to offer this opinion.

      He is playing for now while developing for later. Like any good manager should.

      • lyleoross - Jun 6, 2014 at 4:18 PM

        Yeah, what he said. :)

      • steves4 - Jun 6, 2014 at 5:42 PM

        What’s even better is that Bruce Arena was quoted as saying that the US couldn’t win the world cup prior to the 2002 cup.

  2. chadmoon1 - Jun 6, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    The USA is not Germany. You have to take the best players you have to every tournament. No one will ever convince me that Julian Green, a 4th division German player, should go over LD, the most productive player the US has ever produced.

    • talgrath - Jun 6, 2014 at 12:01 PM

      And that is the disconnect here, you’re not objective you’re subjective and you’re basing your opinions on Landon’s performance from years past, instead of the current realities.

      • christophershearin - Jun 6, 2014 at 12:05 PM

        your absolutely right. To many US fans can not see the forest for the trees. JK is rebuilding an entire system here, and has secured some solid young assets in Green and AJ. We have a solid team for this years world cup, but the leg work being put in now will pay dividends in 2018

    • konmtu - Jun 6, 2014 at 12:54 PM

      Julian Green is only a 4th division German player in name only. Bayern II is restricted to playing in the Regionalliga. They are probably good enough to be in at least 2.Bundesliga in their own right.

      Plus, you can only suit up 18 players, so five won’t even be dressed on any given matchday. So, you can still bring some young players along for the experience without hampering the team’s efforts.

      • imagreatguy76 - Jun 6, 2014 at 7:52 PM

        Is this true? I thought all the players on the roster were available off the bench in the World Cup.

    • tr3y11 - Jun 6, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      I think it’s been noted already that Green was going regardless of Donovan’s in/exclusion. Players you should direct your headscratching to is Wondo/Davis.

    • unclemosesgreen - Jun 6, 2014 at 3:30 PM

      I love that you’re taking shots at Julian Green for being on Bayern II. How many Americans do you suppose could make that roster?

    • jay1934 - Jun 6, 2014 at 5:04 PM

      I agree wholeheartedly Landon makes an excellent midfielder and should not have been replaced by Green. He’ll undoubtedly last as he did in Germany, a total disaster..

      • mknow406a - Jun 6, 2014 at 10:36 PM

        I agree wholeheartedly that Landon would undoubtedly last as he did in Germany, a total disaster..

  3. trogdor4 - Jun 6, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    From now on, no one should say the D word … what’s the point?

  4. mkbryant3 - Jun 6, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    I know CR is a god like player, but Portugal doesn’t really scare me.

    • midtec2005 - Jun 6, 2014 at 3:38 PM

      Me either… but CR does, by himself.

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