A View from Afar / Commentary

The English want Klinsmann: Our dirty little plan to make it happen

Photo: Earl Gardner

English newspaper columnists have called for their national team to hire Jurgen Klinsmann as head coach, because apparently he has been so successful for the U.S. National Team.

I know what you’re thinking, because I’m thinking the same thing:

This could be our way out! They might take Klinsmann off our hands! The English, of all people!

We simply must do everything possible to make this happen. For that, we must keep them thinking that Klinsmann is a good coach, instead of what he really is: a friendly visionary with great soccer credentials who talks a great game but cannot coach an actual team full of actual, real, live people.

Right now, every Klinsmann critic (including me) should agree on one thing:

Be very, very quiet.

Nod. Smile. Go along with this. Maintain that poker face.

Whatever you do, do not object. Don’t try to correct them. Don’t explain to them just how bad Klinsmann has been. Keep yourself from laughing when Klinsmann is called “a giant leap forward in tactical terms”. They clearly haven’t watched actual U.S. national team games, but that’s to our benefit. Please, for the love of God, do nothing to change their minds.

If necessary, channel your inner Donald Trump to help yourself lie more convincingly, even if you have to choke back the bile just at the thought of it. “Tremendous job,” you can tell your English friends in your best Trump voice. “Absolutely the best. All he does is win. Everyone else is a loser.”

Don’t worry about details. The English don’t care about details, as their vote to exit the European Union showed. You can lie to them very easily for months, and most won’t figure it out until after you’ve basically wrecked their country (and a unified Europe, but hey, who’s counting?). You can easily trick them for your own short-term gain, as Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, and Michael Gove can attest. They just blatantly made stuff up, and most Brits didn’t figure it out until too late.

If they could do that with the future of all of Britain at hand, how hard could it be to snow them about a soccer coach?

And when you think about it, what’s one more bad decision on top of the mammoth, earth-shaking, market-crashing, stunningly bad decisions the English have made lately? Compared to blowing up the European Union, taking Klinsmann from us is a minor thing.

So we have a real shot here. Don’t feel bad about duping them on Klinsmann. The English almost want to be duped lately. They kind of have it coming.

Granted, there could be some problems with a Klinsmann move to England. For example, the country’s notorious work permit process will only become worse after Britain formally leaves the EU, which, by the way, will probably hurt the English Premier League because many foreign players may fail to get work permits. Now, if only the English had known this before they followed a bunch of hucksters out of the EU…

But put those matters aside. Those are for the Brits to worry about. Or rather, for the English to worry about. Pretty soon there may be no “British” anymore, as Scotland and Northern Ireland are already seeing secessionist movements gain momentum as they seek to leave Britain and stay with the EU, and Wales … well, forget Wales. Everyone else seems to.

Back to Klinsmann.

Klinsmann to England. Whatever it takes. Just make it happen.

And pssst: Don’t tell the English about our plan. We can keep it a secret. Their Internet searches skim over the word “soccer” anyway, so they’ll never read this. The English have forgotten that they invented the word “soccer.” Sadly, it’s just one of many ways the people of a once great country have lost sight of who they are — or rather, who they were.


  1. John P O'Donnell says:

    I would love to see him make a move because I think we need a change but can’t see it happening. He’s happy in America living in California.

    • pragmatist says:

      I think that’s an aspect that people tend to overlook. He loves California. I don’t think he’s in any hurry to move, for any reason.

      • Agreed, even though he dislikes MLS so much I think his next job is probably with LA Galaxy.

  2. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    Dang, Dan, we all know that you are an EU guy now, but man you seem just a tad bit bitter over Brexit. That aside, I’d love to see Juergen go anywhere!

    • Not bitter. Just pissed. 😉

      I’m actually very critical of the EU, for reasons I won’t bore you with unless you want to hear. But there is a pragmatic middle ground between “Burn the sucker down” and “Follow whatever the EU says,” and that is called “Let’s fix things rather than just break them.” It’s kind of how I feel about our country too.

  3. As much as I roundly disagree with your overall assessment of Jurgen Klinsmann, where the firing of him is rooted in an almost paralyzing fear an MLS-Bot takes over… I find the premise and reach of this article fantastic.
    Golf clap.

    • Jim Presti says:

      +1 great article, but JK is a much better coach than what the US media gives him credit for. The international community recognize it for sure.

      • I’ve been very torn on klinsmann for a long time. The thing of it is, building the game through the youth ranks has needed to be our focus for the last 10 years. Theoretically, we should be reaping the reward of our labor starting right about now. It’s hard to lay that problem exclusively at his feet. Also, since he took over we’ve had much more success getting our Americans living abroad (particularly in germany) into the team. Brooks, Green, Jermaine Jones, etc. May not happen without klinsmann.
        But he’s been downright strange in many aspects tactically, once players enter his camps I’m not sure he’s doing a good job developing them, and his selections border on the insane. So yeah, knock yourselves out britain. He’s great.

      • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

        Brooks, Jones, F. Johnson and Chandler were all in the pipeline before Klinnsman took the job.

  4. Awesome piece, Dan, blending recent soccer events and recent political events. Bravo!

    I tend to be very suspicious of “fire the coach” movements, as it’s usually just scapegoating, and there is evidence that changing coaches does little to improve a team’s performance in the long run. (This is why I was in favor of giving Jim Curtin this season at least — and so far the pro-Curtin-ites are looking good.) But I think it’s different for a national team, and I really think that it’s about time for us to [redacted]

    • Difference between Curtin and Klinsmann is that the former has been open and honest in saying that he is new to the position, will make mistakes, and has a lot to learn while Klinsmann has a mixed coaching history, dodges responsibility, and acts like he has all the answers.

  5. A clear path to international football success can be found for any nation clever enough to see what England does and than do the opposite. Perhaps the same can now be said for success in politics….
    Klinsmann would be mad to leave the ease and luxury of the U.S. Soccer federation to take on a head coaching job that would more than likely make him a scapegoat for a nation when it next (soon) gets booted from an international tournament by a nation without enough people to populate Pittsburgh. His current position is a day at the beach by comparison.

  6. pragmatist says:

    Apparently we’re not the only ones playing this game…

  7. Maybe when the transfer window opens next week we can swap our Jurgen for Liverpool’s… I’d make that trade. Klopp would definitely start Pulisic and Nagbe.

  8. Couldn’t even finish reading the article. As I agree with you on the English taking Klinsmann off our hands, PLEASE try to keep your political comments out of soccer articles. I come here to read and talk soccer, NOT get your political view point.


    • Pretty sure the whole premise of the article is satirical… steeped in ridicule over the whole damn state of the things here and abroad.
      But hey…maybe the author has an agenda too.

      • Really, Don’t think so.

      • Once again…. for everyone to see — as this is not the first time we have arrived here… the Philly.soccer.page belongs to him… he built it… its his baby.
        If you don’t agree try writing something witty or sardonic to knock him off his perch– pretty sure he will invite the invention.… otherwise — move on OR just have the fun it is intended to have.

      • Dan Walsh says:

        Well, I think it belongs to the community. Or … well … it belongs to Ed. He carries it at this point. 🙂

      • Dan Walsh says:

        Yes, it’s satire. 🙂 Or even outright farce, really. I’m not seriously advocating that you lie to the English about Klinsmann, for example. If you don’t appreciate the humor or approach, Laz, that’s on you. Every satire comes at someone’s expense. Can’t please everyone, but with a column like this one, I most certainly am not aiming to. I did hope it would at least entertain though.

      • Satire! Surly you jest! I’ve been walking around in fluffy slippers all day trying to be quiet.

      • I found it whimsical…And spot on. ;-D

  9. Jim Presti says:

    And now the market has erased all Brexit losses. No one has respect for the j-curve and boy did a few people make a ton of money.

  10. Interesting table here:
    Klinsmann makes currently circa half what Hodgson made, so would be worthwhile for Klinsmann to move financially.

  11. the english fa will jump at the chance to hire klinsmann after they see the kind of cutting edge training he has planned for the lions

  12. We’ll have Klinsmann until after the 2018 World Cup. That’s his last shot at saving the job.
    What’s the better question… who can we get to fill the role that’s better than him? Yea I get the results have been disappointing but at the end of the day I’d rather keep him if there aren’t better options out there.

    • Dead spot on.
      people clamor as though this was Salem… then when pressed with the all important question of WHO?— glutteal clefts pinch tighter than a trap door.
      WHO? Vermes? Please. Arena? Again. I know Bob Bradley. Maybe you think…. or… how about….
      Once again… Jurgen Klinsmann, while not a master tactician and married to an aging core group of players which hopefully are being led to their own gallows has the most wins of a USMNT coach…. EVER. But that doesn’t matter to the witch hunters.

      • pragmatist says:

        What if we put Klinsmann in charge of player development/acquisition, and let him set the path from the youth system, but being in someone with better tactical acumen?
        US Soccer makes enough money to splash on a proven commodity. Martinez? Herrera even (that would add a fun piece to the rivalry!) Anyone who can manage a game-day roster and has enough clout to grab the respect of the players from day 1.
        The job can be appealing, it’s just not being sold that way.

      • If your throwing out names like that I can stipulate for sure.
        Regarding the best role for Herr Klinsmann… I think putting him on the face of youth development is ideal as he knows what it takes and he knows we aren’t quite hitting those benchmarks yet… and he could hold toes to fire…. to toughen them up.
        Excellent argument.

      • My god, what happened to you Mr. P. you drank the koolaid? or are you just joking. Youth development. my goodness.

      • pragmatist says:

        Under Klinsmann’s watch, we have had more young American players getting quality minutes across Europe than even before. He’s doing something right. Not to mention his uncanny ability to convince duel nationals to play for us.
        His long-term vision and recruiting abilities are very much needed. He’s just a bad coach.
        As for a new manager, Hodgson was being paid $5M/year (I believe). There is NO WAY you can tell me that US Soccer can’t find $5M/year for a world-class manager (as long you can find one willing to give up the club job in exchange for a national job, which is difficult for everyone, not just us).

    • Just saying, we have bent over backwards to please him, thrown the most resources possible at him, yet he only produces average results. For me it’s not about finding a “better coach” which isn’t too hard I think, but why not through all our resources at another coach and see if he can do better? Klinsmann has been coach for a long time and hasn’t done anything spectacular with development or other wise. I also think he’s still behind Bruce Arena for most wins but it doesn’t matter cause they mostly come from friendlies.

      • even though they were dismantled by Argentina…average would have been losing to Ecuador.

      • Agreed. They beat who they were supposed to beat, and in the case of Ecuador, perhaps one team that was a bit more of a challenge. They lost to who they were expected to lose to (Columbia & Argentina) and reached the final four. Pretty good outcome, even if it wasn’t always pretty. They arguably exceeded what our expectations were going into Copa.

  13. Paraphrasing Honigsteins article about Hodgson’s deficiencies, England, whos fullbacks run in straight lines only, with Rooney(Bradley)as playmaker only in fantasy.Why cant England (USA) win big games? Because they dont play as a team. Hodgson stated as has JK,”Systems dont win games, good footballers do”. Whether England-Russia or USA -Colombia,no structure of attacking play.some players run with the ball,others drop deep. no join up play or thinking.Player deliver nothing due to lack of clear instruction. You know the Emperor is naked when you hear coaches like JK talking about giving their players freedom to play. Conte on the other hand says “Ideas conquer talent”Italy and Iceland had ideas. England and USA did not.30 years ago, it was man marking and collective defenses. That was JK’s era and he along with Hodgson is still stuck there.I guess the way to beat Italy is step on their toes. No need to bother with specific attacking patterns or training to break down specific defenses The USA guys DESPERATELY Need to be told where how and when to run like succesful teams do even it is difficult to teach that way.Many, including JK believe players can come up with their own solutions and would be inhibited by specific instruction. You know the old B.S. that players should be able to play anywhere. Thats so old and outdated just like total football. Wake up, things have changed.National teams like the USA do not need an identity. they have one. A smart coach will develope it and let it blossom.A clear, continuosly implemented system of play from YOUTH on up by a coach who picks his players accordingly. Sorry but JK cannot do that.Anything else will mean underperformance, whether England or USA. The USA is now randomly self sustaining. NO COACHING needed to do that. You want a name. Jesse Marsch is far superior to JK

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Wonder how many extra games suspended his throwing not one but two soccer balls at the Union bench will get him.

      • You dont love his passion?

      • I said similar in the match report for the Open Cup win. Koop has passion. Conte is passionate. Marsch is a sore loser. He cries about officiating lot game conditions every time he’s beat by the Union. Perhaps he gives the team and Curtin credit, but I’ve never heard him say so. Best I can say about him is that he’s a fun manager to dislike.

    • This is spot on. Really well articulated. This is partially why Brazil even struggles internationally – too many teams have organized — and organization always trumps individual talent– the Brazilians are yet to tactically adapt.
      …. so once again, while I lobby for keeping Jurgen Klinsmann –it is only because I fear who his replacement would be… because hinting an MLS coach is not going to solve the problem either.

      • there aren’t any mls coaches i’m aware of that i think have enough vision to be able to drill and discipline the team enough to get them to be as tight as italy but i don’t think that is an argument for klinsmann being a better choice than one of them. if a coach isn’t going to have a plan and the tactics to help his team win he needs to be at least making good roster choices and klinsmann has definitely not been doing that

  14. My thoughts on Klinnsman. I think it is clear by now the deficiencies he has as a coach. He is tactically naive and does not seem to want to develop younger players which is odd given that’s what he was known for in Germany. I’ve heard a lot of people suggest he be kept on as technical director, but I don’t see why as he’s been a complete failure there. Our youth development has not been improved, NCAA still is a corrupt joke, and even national U-whatever coaches are not philosophically aligned. As El P was often saying… Vision. Philosophy. Plan. It starts at the top (Klinsmann) and everything below should be brought in line with that Vision…but there isn’t one, so it’s all still a giant mess. He was brought in touting change…but nothing’s changed.

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