August 20, 2011

IT'S NOT LIKE PELE'S OUT THERE:

The upside of J├╝rgen Klinsmann's retro numbers game (When Saturday Comes, 8/17/11)

Klinsmann, however, has proven himself even more retro than Bradley by stepping back several decades to abolish squad numbers. For the foreseeable future, the US will line up numbered one through 11, with no names printed on the backs of their shirts.

"One of the goals of the roster for this game and moving forward is to create competition at each position," Klinsmann said before his debut match against Mexico, a mediocre clash that ended 1-1, and which never stood a chance of replicating June's mighty Gold Cup final between the same two teams. "There are many players who are established, as well as many players who will get opportunities, and we want there to be a healthy contest for spots on the roster." In other words, it was a standard coaching move to state that we're starting again, and that past reputations will count for nothing. Whether the enthusiasm was so high at the US Soccer Federation and shirt manufacturer Nike - both financial beneficiaries of the inexplicable habit among fans of having a sportsman's identity branded on their backs - is another question. But having seemingly satisfied Klinsmann's principal demand of complete control over the US programme, there's not much they can do about it.


As with American football, just get the system right. The players don't matter.


Posted by at August 20, 2011 7:05 AM
  

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