Friday, December 08, 2006

Our Coach Will Not be 'Ze German'

(Yes, that was a reference to the movie Snatch, I couldn't resist)

After a months-long dance, negotiations between the Unites States Soccer Federation (USSF) and Jurgen Klinsmann finally fell through. It was long expected that the former Germany coach would fill the vacancy left after the Bruce Arena firing and take the US team to the next level. Had Jurgen come aboard as the US' coach, their style of play would definitely have shifted from a more defensive counter-attacking game that we saw under Arena to a freer, more fluid and offensive game.

It's a shame that we missed out on having such an aestetically pleasing style on the pitch, but it's an even bigger shame because securing Jurgen's services was the opportunity of a lifetime for the US. Signing Klinsmann would have immediately brought worldwide credibility to the team, and given the team a sense of stability.

Talks seem to have stalled over the question of how much power Klinsmann would have been given, especially with regards to the selection of players to the international squad. If that really is the case, that's pure arrogance on the USSF's part. Seriously, let the coach pick his players; he'll undoubtedly pick the players best suited for his system; so what if he's not choosing all thep players from the MLS that you want to get exposure. The point is to get the best possible team on the field, and by letting the coach pick his own players, he's bound to do that.

The biggest downside to all this is that countless opportunities have and will be wasted especially with regards to the younger players. As talks stretched on for the nearly 5 months, the US did not play any friendlies; normally those matches would have served as an opportunity for younger players to step up and get a few caps on the international stage. It would have been a prime opportunity to try and deepen the talent pool for the US, but since there was no coach, no games could be played.

You may be wondering now where this leaves the national team. Well, for the time being Bob Bradley will take over on an interim basis, with the opportunity to take over full time. Bob Bradely is a good coach, probably the best in the MLS, but I don't think he'll get nearly the same results that Klinsmann would have gotten the team. Bradley coached the expansion Fire to an MLS Cup win and turned Chivas USA into a playoff team after a last-place finish; he also has some international experience as an assistant on the '96 Olympic team, so he is indeed a good coach and a good choice on such short notice.

I don't mind having Bradley as a coach, but I don't like the terms that he's been granted. It would be one thing if he were handed the job with a four-year guarentee like Arena was, but Bradley could very well be fired the moment a more attractive coach shows interest. This fact alone is going to further hamper the US team. Bradley will be forced to play veteran heavy lineups to ensure that his team does well, so that he can earn the right to keep his job. He won't be able to play younger and more unknown players in games due to the fact that their performance could very well determine whether he stays on full time or not.

If Bradley were to get the boot, it would probably be in favor of GĂ©rard Houllier, the current coach of Lyon (who is raping up the French League) and former coach of Liverpool; Carlos Queiroz, Alex Ferguson's right hand man at Manchester United; or Guus Hiddink. the current coach of Russia, who led the Socceroos to the knockout stages last time around and led Korea to a 4th place finish in '02.

Hopefully things will work out and when the 2010 World Cup comes around, we'll put up results closer to '02's performance than our flop in Germany in '06.


Blogger Fornelli said...

What is this "soccer?"

12/09/2006 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The coach of Lyon is raping the French league? A raping is the last thing American soccer needs.

12/09/2006 11:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob Bradley is a square pass in the defensive third--usually a bad idea, and a move that rarely pays dividends.

The USSF let Arena go assuming they could get Klinsmann, and now they don't have him. If the US is stuck with Bob Bradley for more than 3 months, it is a disaster. The whole idea of getting rid of Arena was to replace with him a guy with International experience. Not with some MLS guy.

I could list a dozen coaches I'd rather have than Bob friggin' Bradley. Is Frank Rijkaard available?

12/10/2006 4:04 AM  

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