Monday, August 8, 2011

Jurgen Klinsmann: American Soccer Players Need To Be Fitter And Play Thousands More Hours

Grant Wahl has another great interview with US Men's National Soccer Team Coach Jurgen Klinsmann up on today in advance of the US-Mexico friendly on Wednesday.

Some key points to the interview, which can be read here:

  • Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, and Alejandro Bedoya were left off the roster simply because it was deemed detrimental to their development to leave their European club teams right now.  They appear to Klinsmann to be in a good rhythm and playing well there, so he felt it best to let them stay in Europe as the Club season begins this week.
  • Klinsmann will select the United States Captain for the game on Wednesday, but insists he will do so after he's had a chance to observe the entire team and see who the real leaders are.  He tossed out names such as long-time Captain Carlos Bocanegra, Tim Howard, and Landon Donovan as possibilities.
  • In order to play the attacking style of soccer he wants, Klinsmann told the players that they will have to be more fit than anyone they play.
  • He discusses his coaching staff, stressing that he was looking for strong coaches in different areas, but wanted a group that could maintain a calm that would be needed in hostile environments.
  • Discusses the need for a Soccer Academy for the junior players to have a place to develop.
  • The MLS only plays a seven-month schedule and those players need another four months out of the year of competitive training in order to help develop players; European squads train 11 months out of the year. Either the MLS schedule needs to stretch to 11 months, or they need to find a system to keep the American MLS players in an environment where they can continue to grow.
  • My favorite part of the interview:
But one thing is certain: The American kids need hundreds and even thousands more hours to play. That is a really crucial thing. If it's through their club team, if it's through themselves, whatever it is. The difference between the top 10 in the world and where we are right now is the technical capabilities and the higher pace. In a high-pace, high-speed environment, to keep calm on the ball, to sharpen your minds so you know what to do with the ball before you get the ball. That's the difference right now. You might have technically gifted players here, but once you set the pace two levels higher, they lose that technical ability because they're getting out of breath or their mental thought process isn't fast enough.

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