If you do not have 54 minutes to spare to watch the interview I just recently posted, then here is what you would have missed.
During the interview with Allen Hopkins many various topics were discussed. Anything from why he has opened up training sessions to what was some of the advice that he was given from his coaches that sticks with him today. Before we break down and analyze the interview here were a few of my side notes.
1. Allen Hopkins asks the longest questions EVER! They seriously never ended.
2. Allen Hopkins must think that JK is Medusa because he looked very tentative to look the USMNT boss in the eyes.
3. Allen Hopkins is not aloud to say the word specifically ever again.
4. I do not like Allen Hopkins.
5. A few times Jurgen tried to make references to American sports by relating Michael Jordan, Steve Nash, and Phil Jackson to…well something, but its hard to tell what because every time he used an example of a non-soccer playing American you could see the desperation in his face to come up with any other sports term and just throw it out there. And if we wanna get really picky Nash is not even from the US of A.
Back to purpose of this article.
Much of the discussion was based around player development. Klinsmann frequently stressed the importance of internal motivation in players. ”First one on the pitch in the morning and last one off at night”. That phrase has been used in sports since the beginning of organized athletics. This characteristic is one in which he believes is the only way for a player to keep improving. Once a player is able to realize that having that dedication to work on the small things in practice at full speed, chase down 50/50 balls, and continue to improve fitness then a sharpness to their game will begin to form. JK believes that a players fitness level is always something that can use improving. He has shown that through his implementation of healthy eating habits and constant fitness work outs in camp are vital to a players overall well-being, which will carry over into his performance on the pitch. One of his more interesting points on developments is his explanation of a question to why players like Fabian Johnson, Danny Williams, and Alfredo Morales have come out of the wood work to come and represent the United States. With the development academies in the US being fairly new, a player that has gone through 10 to 12 years in an academies like these in Germany will have a more natural ability to have better vision, tactical awareness, and alertness. His last point is that he always wants to see players challenged when they are ready for a step up. He brought up the fact that Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard’s current performances are great, however he wants to see them in Champions League now. A new challenge they both are ready for in his eyes. For other players currently based in the MLS, he wants them to challenge themselves and go to Europe as well and work their way up the ladder when they are ready. He mentioned Juan Agudelo and Brek Shea as players that are looking to go abroad, but it must be when they have learned all they can here and need that new challenge.
Style of Play
From living in the United States for over ten years now, Jurgen Klinsmann has seen the way that America likes their sports. He sees that Americans like a proactive game and attacking style sport that sees their team “Go for it first”. Once he made this observation he took up the task in finding the right direction to try and take the national team in that direction to playing that brand of football. The only question that he was then left with was whether or not he had the players to do that. This began the process of bringing in new players, new formations, and new mindsets to the entire US Soccer foundation. His goal is to be able to stop reacting to games and begin playing a style in which some day he feels will allow us to take the game to Brazil and Spain and stop waiting for the counter attack. This is where his belief that staying in top shape and physical condition can allow the US to run a team into the ground. This also has much to do with one thing the US is famous for being pretty terrible at…staying organized defensively. The back four of the US has many problems, but this is not the time nor place to rehash this dilemma. He believes that having good organization from the back will be a strong foundation for the US to then be able to take more risks and bring the game to their opposition.
The question everyone is asking and we finally got a different answer then “It allows us to play better attacking football”. His main points this time while talking about a formation is that he wants to make sense strategically. There are a few points that I was glad he brought up, but I was disappointed they were not expanded upon…Allen Hopkins (cough cough)! His explanation to the choices of using one striker in the first few games was because of the obvious lack of necessary shape of the striking core. JK saw that Altidore, Agudelo, and Buddle were all no where near 90 minutes shape which was why he only started one allowing them to put in a hard working shift and then be subbed off/on for one of each other. His explanation behind the mysterious love for Kyle Beckerman in the number six role is because that is his position. He would rather have a player be playing his role with less talent then another of greater talent playing out of position. This brings up one more question. Why was Danny Williams played out wide for 3 games in his first few appearances then?
Only briefly was the 2014 World Cup brought up, but one positive sign was the fact that when it comes to Qualifiers, he is all about the points. This is what friendlies are for the experimentation of different roles and different players against various strengths of teams. It is clear that this summer he is all business and ready to get the United States clear through to Brazil in 2014.