REPOST: What’s the deal with Jurgen?

This was originally posted on September 20th of last year.

I (not necessarily Matt), still stand by it.


Is he really a good coach?

So if Jurgen can stir up a hornets nest, so can I. I’m curious to know what the big deal with Klinsy really is. A lot of USMNT fans really really want him as head coach and I want to know why. I’m English, so first and foremost I support England, but having lived here for 20 years, I REALLY want to see the USMNT national team get to the next level in International Soccer. I just don’t see how Jurgen can take them there.

He’s had two managerial spells. One with the German National team and one with Bayern Munich.

With Bayern, he coached for less than a season (08-09) and was fired in April 09, with Bayern knocked out of the German domestic cup in the quarters, Champions league in the quarters and in third position of the Bundesliga, endangering their next years Champions League qualification.

He was given a squad that had won their domestic league the previous year and set them a few steps backward.

Germany's 2006 success had more to do with their fans, the players and hosting the Cup then their coach.

Klinsmann was more successful with the national team, at least on first glance. He took a young German team to third place at the 2006 World Cup and did do a good job of shunting out the older generation of players who had failed so miserably in the 2004 Euros, revamping Germany’s national footballing program on the way.

BUT, lets look at his results. Klinsmann’s first two years in charge did little to impress the footballing world, as they did poorly in friendlies building up to the 2006 World Cup (which Germany was hosting, so no need to qualify).

At the big dance, they won their group, but had less than challenging opponents in Costa Rica, Poland and Ecuador. They then beat Sweden (a solid team, but no world beaters) in the first knock stage and then an average Argentinian team on penalties in the quarters. They lost 2-0 to Italy in the semis.

Keeping in mind that every game they played, they were spurned on by their home fans, and that they had a relatively easy route to the semi finals. I would venture to say that the players got them as far as they did and not him as a coach. When they needed him to do something different and come up with a tactical magical moment, he failed and Italy won late in extra time.

After the World Cup, with the German press and pubic in full support, Klinsmann decided to resign, saying he didn’t have the drive anymore and wanted to spend time with his family. Joachim Löw took over and has taken an even younger Germany to the next level, and they are one of the favorites at Euro 2012 and Brazil 2014.

Did Klinsmann realize that he didn’t really have what it took to take Germany further and intelligently decide to step down on top? The cynic in me says yes.

A fantastic striker and amateur diver, Klinsmann and the word defense aren't very synonymous

I’m not saying he’s a bad coach, but I really don’t think he’s what the USMNT wants. I wouldn’t go as far as to say Klinsmann would be a step backward from Bob Bradley, but I don’t think he offers anything special.

Klinsmann was a fantastic striker in his playing days and his coaching style is reflective of that. I don’t believe the word defense is in his lexicon. This is not what the USMNT wants. The US’s counter attacking style and speed is one of their strengths, but they do not possess the skill to just outscore their opponents. They need discipline at the back and Klinsmann cannot provide that.

Who would be perfect for the job. Honestly I don’t know. What perplexes me though, is why so many people think “California Klinsy” would be the savior of the USMNT.

Your thoughts!

25 responses to this post.

  1. Still agree with Shaun. Still would prefer Bisela.


    • Posted by sfshwebb on 2011/07/28 at 2:13 PM

      Not sure Bisela would be the ideal option (unavailable too), BUT MAN THAT WOULD BE FUN (as i think you stated elsewhere). At the very least, the casual fan would be blown away by the awesomeness of the random and attack minded formations!


    • Posted by dth on 2011/07/28 at 2:13 PM

      Yeah, that’s not happening. He’s with Bilbao.


      • Posted by dikranovich on 2011/07/29 at 8:21 AM

        didnt bisela leave a club coaching job in spain to coach argentina back in 98?


    • Posted by Johninho on 2011/07/29 at 8:56 AM

      Bielsa, not Bisela. It appears dyslexia is contagious.


  2. Posted by Justin on 2011/07/28 at 2:54 PM

    The idea for us, is getting someone with knowledge beyond the limited exposure our past coaches have had. Parents are more likely to peruse soccer with their kids if they think good thing will follow. In the past, our players have to sell themselves abroad b/c these coaches have no connection to open opportunities for them. Some do, but some shouldn’t have to. We have our first kid in the Barcelona Academy, but they did it on their own. With Klinsman, he may have better ideas how to set up our breeding grounds, spark interest and in the long term lift our quality of play. He would most likely stick it out longer, than someone else who comes in for one term and bolt. He is Californian, as you say, and therefore has a long term interest that others from abroad may never share. IMO


    • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/28 at 3:57 PM

      Get your job decriptions straight.

      ” With Klinsman, he may have better ideas how to set up our breeding grounds, spark interest and in the long term lift our quality of play. ”

      That wasn’t part of Arena’s or Bradley’s job and is part of the reason the USSF turned down JK just recently when Sunil wanted to replace Bradley with him.

      Why should it be any difeerent now?


      • B/C of the Tabarez Effect. What Tabarez has done with Uruguay is simply amazing, and might be what finally pushed Sunil to finally relinquish control to Klinsman to build the program from the ground up.

        For those that don’t know, Tabarez demanded full control of the entire Uruguayan national football system U-17 and Up when he took over. He had a vision and has implemented it. The results: Copa America Semi-Final, WC Semi Final, U17 WC Final, and 2nd place CONMEBOL qualifying for the upcoming U20 WC (effectively keeping Argentina OUT).

        I’m not positive JK is the right guy, but it’s about time that Gulati step aside and let someone with a vision to take the helm and finally help define an American brand of soccer and fix that tactical deficit that our teams are facing. That is the lesson from Uruguay’s Tabarez experiment and hopefully the lesson that Gulati has learned.


        • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/07/28 at 5:05 PM

          But if there are doubts (very well-founded in my opinion) about his ability to even being a competent manager of the national team, isn’t it a possible recipe for disaster to ask him to remake the entire system? If you’re going to hire a guy for that job, you better be sure he’s the right guy.

          Also, that task might be quite a bit more manageable in a country of 3 million than one of 300 million.


        • Posted by Connor Walsh on 2011/07/28 at 5:51 PM

          yes, yes, and yes


  3. Posted by baconcat on 2011/07/28 at 2:55 PM

    It’s more about what Klinsi is demanding of the whole US Soccer system that it be just that from the ground up: a system. One cohesive style taught at grade school up. No more relying on gumption and athleticism alone to propel us into the next round.

    It’s a necessary step if you want to win the world cup in our lifetimes. Otherwise all the Hiddinks, Benitez and Bielsas of the world will only enjoy marginal and temporal successes with the US.


  4. Posted by Johninho on 2011/07/28 at 5:28 PM

    Thought is – fix the word you meant to say as ‘public.’


  5. Posted by Justin on 2011/07/28 at 7:12 PM

    You guys got my point, we need to abandon the NCAA college soccer system, while occasionally providing a spark it diminishes our ability to compete internationally. Most American sports require solid frames to take the physical punishment our main sport demand. Futbol, Footchee ball, or Soccer does not, while physique is important, often times footballers do not require the same physical development and can therefore be competitive much younger, but that is hard for most American families to understand. Most families do not sacrifice like the dempsey’s did for Clint. Most have a hard time understanding the opportunity that awaits those that go through the academies. They also think the education of the child will slip, when of course it is the exact opposite. One day though, one fine day. Then we will compete regularly at the highest level, and soccer will take over other sports b/c if there is one thing we Americans like more than anything, it is to show off our dominance. Hopefully football will be more humble international relations than our typical foreign policy, hey a guy can hope can’t he?


  6. Posted by dth on 2011/07/28 at 7:18 PM

    So, uh, I’m hearing a lot about how US Soccer needs a top-down system that everyone plays. Let’s leave aside that particular argument and concentrate strictly on Klinsmann vis-a-vis this system: advocates, what reason do you have to believe Klinsmann can build such a system? He’s done nothing remotely close the sort, and has no sterling managerial or executive experience indicating he’s ready for such an upgrade in responsibility?


  7. Alright, I know the Sweatpants is now gone. We can sit back and hope and speculate all we want. But not to Mr. Buzz Killington here but seriously establishing an academy system, scrapping the entire US system and starting from the ground up, abandoning college soccer, let’s be a little realistic here. Klinsy doesn’t have a bag of magic soccer fairy dust. There’s not some European soccer potion that’s being hidden from us, that if we hire someone from Europe they are going to start selling by the gallon. The talent level of our teams isn’t going to change over night. Our development system, despite some of the flaws it may have, is our system. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but instead of looking around world and saying let’s do what they do. Let’s focus on taking what we have. Working with it, making small calculated changes here and there, and make our grass a little greener one step at a time. Dumping gasoline on it, and tossing a match doesn’t make grass grow. Let’s find someone to take us another step forward, not let’s try and find the miracle cure.


  8. Posted by Justin on 2011/07/29 at 6:27 AM

    Reviving youth interest will increase our talent exponentially. Sitting talent might be limited, but that is the perfect reason to scratch the system as it stands. Curious the your criticism leads to my primary reason for a change in totality, to our approach. Parents are proud, once we improve development, and thus recognition, parents will be indifferent as to the sports they support for their children. Right now sports are very race oriented, blacks are mainly Football and Basketball, Whites are mainly Baseball and Football. My son’s Soccer team gets picked on by other kids for being gay soccer kids, and this is in FL where soccer has solid popularity, but kids think soccer is lame and Football, Baseball, and Basketball are cool. My high school team was treated much better, 20 years ago, but we were the best in the state so our success separated us from the other teams, our school was proud and often we had bigger crowds than the football team b/c of it. So my point, he can spark interest b/c he knows how to win, help us set our academies up to breed better players, improve recognition and notoriety, help our players get into squads overseas and all with just his experience and vision. We instantly become more competitive b/c as a coach, well he can at minimum recognize talent better than Bob O, and therefore select a better squad and more appropriate formation based on that talent. Let’s not forget he played in 3-5-2 4-4-2 (4-4-1-1) even Germany had a mod 4-5-1/4-3-3. So I don’t anoint him God, but merely give credit to experience and knowledge both of which he has.


  9. Posted by dikranovich on 2011/07/29 at 8:33 AM

    to me it is obvious. klinsmann is under fire right out of the gate, which is good. he gets three games to show what kind of a handle he actually has on the current system. for gosh sakes it should be good, he lives in so cal, consults for an mls team and he is a soccer fan. go get em jurgen, or marcelo, or whomever. one thing i know for sure. usa will be playing s lot of the 3-5-2 from here forward and that will be such a boon for soccer in the usa. why would the usa not be trying to master this formation? i always thought thats what coach arena was doing, the most successful us mens team coach ever.


  10. Posted by John on 2011/07/29 at 8:36 AM

    The U.S. team is one of the few teams in the world that doesn’t have a coach with high level playing or coaching experience. Yes Arena and Bradley made it to a World Cup, but they never played in one and never coached in one of the world’s top professional leagues. When you get to a WC, the atmosphere is different, the pressure is different. The U.S. (I am American) needs someone who understands America, American kids, the youth system, and can translate enthusiasm to the media. Klinsmann has all of that and more. He has proven he can guide a team through a World Cup, despite much criticism. He exudes confidence and has fun doing what he does. This will be infectious to all U.S. soccer followers, including the players. He’s the man for the job and I hope they hire him. It’s time for the USA to step up a level with their coach. They can’t hire a foreign coach who knows nothing of America – or comes in with an attitude like American’s no nothing and it’s my way or the highway. Believe it, Klinsmann’s the man and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an announcement soon.


  11. Posted by mjbjr on 2011/07/29 at 10:16 AM

    Compared to even middling players in Europe, U.S. players are skill-less. As a example, USMNT players constantly fail to trap a good pass cleanly, with the ball skttering a yard or two to the side or bouncing up to their waists. You’re not gonna fix that in two or three weeks at a time at a USMNT training camp.

    Clearly, Barcelona shows that “the team that controls the ball controls the game” is the way to go, but you need real skills for that.

    From what I saw, Klinsmann’s failure at Bayern was the result of introducing a new unfamiliar and foreign system to an already championship team that would have none of it. U.S. players would have no basis to reject a new system.

    In my opinion, Klinsmann would be great as head of a national system.

    The U.S., *all* of it, need to stop playing “soccer” and start playing FOOTBALL.


  12. Posted by Dikranovich on 2011/07/29 at 12:05 PM

    Beautiful football always gives way to a more defensive minded game. It happened on the 70 when germany and Argentina dominated because they found a wAy to stop brazil. Then Italy in 82. The same thing happens at the club level whenever a team like Ajax or barca come along and redefine the sport. Other teams find a way to neutralize. USA has a defined style


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