October 16, 2014


THE RIFT IN AMERICAN SOCCER (Cy Brown, 10/16/14, Sports on Earth)

He was honest again in the lead up to the USA's 1-1 friendly with Honduras, this time about the problem with so many USMNT stars returning to Major League Soccer.

"There's nothing I can do about it," Klinsmann said. "I made it clear with Clint [Dempsey]'s move back and Michael [Bradley]'s move back that it's going to be very difficult to keep the same level that they experienced at the places where they were. It's just reality. It's just being honest."

That upset MLS commissioner Don Garber. How upset was he? Upset enough to rush out a press conference and attack Klinsmann for his comments. The presser was full of Garber blustering about how U.S. Soccer and MLS must come together for a common goal, which sounds well and good. But the most important quote comes when Garber talks about the future of American soccer in general.

"I want Jurgen to embrace the vision, and I believe we all need to sit down and talk about his alignment with that vision," he said.

And that's where things break down. He wants Klinsmann to conform with how MLS thinks soccer should grow in America, or rather, how the success of soccer should grow MLS as a business. His vision is of American soccer growing the most through the success of its domestic league. That vision doesn't conform to Klinsmann's goal as manager. His goal is to field the best players for the U.S. men's team and win games by making sure the very best American players become great at their jobs. It just so happens that almost every great player in the world is fostered in Europe.

The irony is that our rivals in CONCACAF love MLS, where their players have achieved world class status and made them significant global powers.  For instance, two of the best players on the field that night were MLS products Boniek Garcia and Andy Najar.  

It's the speed and physicality of the league that sets it apart and it has to be better for Americans to play every week here than to sit on the bench--often undeservingly--over there.  Jozy Altidore would be better playing striker on Jermaine Jones's New England Revolution than riding the pine in Sunderland.

If Jurgen wants Bradley to play better maybe he should play him at his natural position instead of one he isn't capable of filling. If he wants Dempsey to play better, maybe he should make him five years younger.  He should have been retired along with Donovan. 

Posted by at October 16, 2014 5:40 PM

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