A View from Afar / Featured

USMNT fans have plenty to be thankful for, post-Klinsmann

Photo: Earl Gardner

On this day before Thanksgiving, we should be thankful for a few things.

U.S. Soccer has made a conservative but pragmatic choice in turning to Bruce Arena as the new U.S. men’s national team coach. Arena, the most successful coach in USMNT history, is a logical short-term pick to right the team’s World Cup qualifying campaign and bridge the gap to the next campaign, at which point Oscar Pareja, Jason Kreis, Peter Vermes, or someone else will likely have cemented his bonafides to lead the team with an eye toward the future.

We should be thankful that Jurgen Klinsmann’s ridiculous tactical and roster choices are a thing of the past, while his condescension to the American soccer world has been consigned to the dustbin of history. We should look forward to seeing whether he ever condescends to another nation’s soccer base the same way. Chances are, that was just for us.

We should thank Benny Feilhaber for this hilarious response to Klinsmann’s ouster.


And we should all look forward to seeing players with major chips on their shoulder getting into the USMNT mix, particularly:

  • Feilhaber, who is a better player today at 31 than he ever was during his national team days;
  • Eric Lichaj, who might add something to the USMNT’s suddenly woeful fullback situation;
  • Matt Hedges, good enough to be named best defender in MLS but not to earn USMNT playing time;
  • Jorge Villafana, an actual left-footer who actually plays left back regularly;
  • any top MLS goalkeeper, including Clint Irwin and Bill Hamid.

Meanwhile, we should also be thankful that Timmy Chandler will either get a fire lit under his butt or a boot and a door slammed into it.

Then we can finally hear the end of the cases against foreign-born U.S. citizens playing for the U.S., since Chandler (rightly) the poster boy for the (misguided) theory that they just don’t care about the national team, and just get on with matters. Klinsmann’s best legacy may be how he brought in so many quality American players who had grown up abroad. He wasn’t the first to do it, but there was no better recruiter. Any who question how American these foreign-born Americans truly are should recognize that most grew up abroad because their fathers were U.S. military, which is American enough for me.

We should appreciate the idea that the USMNT might start playing better against good teams. MLSsoccer.com’s Matt Doyle unearthed these damning stats of the USMNT against top 10 teams in official competitions (i.e. non-friendlies):

  • Steve Sampson: 450 mins vs. top 10, held the lead for 21.1% of the time
  • Bruce Arena: 810 mins vs. top 10, held the lead for 22.2% of the time
  • Bob Bradley: 720 mins vs. top 10, held the lead for 25.5% of the time
  • Klinsmann: 570 mins vs. top 10, held the lead for 1.6% of the time

Those stats show the USMNT was a tad bit better with American coaches at the helm.

We should be glad that the USMNT coach will likely cease the silly mind games we often saw from Klinsmann, who despite his new age rhetoric was just as typically German a coach as the other iron-fisted manipulators so often turned out by Deutschland’s soccer assembly line.

But lastly, we should be thankful that we experienced the Klinsmann experiment and that it is mercifully over. U.S. Soccer brought in a coach who had, regardless of what we now know of Joachim Löw’s tactical acumen and Klinsmann’s lack thereof, still effectively revitalized Germany’s national team while its head coach from 2004 to 2006 and was just two years removed from coaching one of the world’s giant clubs at Bayern Munich. Klinsmann was a coach with serious pedigree on and aside the field, and we saw what he could do here in comparison to our homegrown American coaches. The answer: Not much.

Does that mean U.S. Soccer should never consider another foreign-born coach? Of course not. Oscar Pareja and Marcelo Bielsa should top any wish list of candidates to succeed Arena after the 2016 World Cup, when Arena will be 70 years old.

But it shows we should probably appreciate our homegrown coaches a little more and stop measuring ourselves primarily by our mirror in Europe. Soccer as a mainstream, popular sport is still young in America, but it’s well on its way. We don’t need a European icon at the lead to confirm for that us. The working class guys from the New York area have done the job far better.


  1. Sorry — the post above was supposed to be a series of handclap emojis, which not only didn’t print, but I didn’t get the option to edit the post for the 5 minutes after it was posted. I hope nothing’s going wrong with the site.

  2. I don’t see it happening, but I sure hope he starts going younger. Lets see some consistent lineups that could play out in 2018. I’d like to see a lineup such as:

    Yedlin, Hedges, Brooks, Johnson
    Lynden Gooch, Bradley, Klestjan, Pulisic
    Altidore, Wood

    Right now i think this is one of the younger better lineups.

    Others on the team: Zack Steffan, Bill Hamid, Besler, Miazga, Lichaj, Villafana, Garza, Carter-Vickers, Birnbaum, Cameron, Caleb Stanko, Emerson Hyndman,Kellyn Acosta, Bedoya, Nagbe, Julian Green, Johansson, Kiesewetter (29 players) Leaves room for a few others or possible changes.

    • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

      The only task at hand right now for Arena is to qualify. nothing more, nothing less. Once that is in the bag, then go younger if the quality is there. But as a certain ex-coach showed us, qualifying is no time to experiment.

      • I’m not talking about experimenting I am talking about picking a steady team for the next 2 years to bring in to the World Cup. If you fill the team with 30 year old players and up to qualify you will have too many problems comes the world cup. There needs to be a balance of vets and young but experienced players. A lot of those I listed would be in the range from 25-30 comes world cup time making it a young team that I think if played together for multiple years could be a pretty solid team. Sure could someone else beat out another person for a spot yes, but why go with the likes of Jones, Dempsey (if he can even play again), Howard. Playing older players that may not even make it to the world cup does not help this team.

      • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

        But the coach has to determine if those “younger” players are capable of maneuvering the travails of Central American qualifying. Just because players get you to the cup, doesn’t mean they go. There are still other avenues of developing the youth players, friendlies, gold cup, etc. Qualifying you look to start who is best RIGHT NOW.

      • I wouldn’t say it’s experimenting if it’s putting the best, young, skilled, high-energy players in a lineup alongside vets who can navigate high pressure games. The only unproven player on Dr. Union’s list is Gooch, which is where I’d put someone more experienced. Besides that, a super solid lineup (besides forgetting JMorris). Really looking forward to the day where wily vet Pulisic plays the 10 and is playing balls into any one of those great attacking talents listed. I’m specifically a big fan of Kiesewetter, has balled every time I’ve watched him play.

      • Agree Gooch is untested, but the cross I saw him wiping in were some of the best I’ve seen from an American player thus I got to put him on the field. It is the reason I have a veteran like Bedoya to back him up or you could probably throw someone else out there as well. JMorris I can see being on the list he is still a bit raw to me but depending on the size of a roster it would be likely he could get on it.

  3. “condescension to the american soccer world.”
    I’m surprised by this as it appears you clearly have an agenda along with the (traditional US Soccer Media) as evidenced along the line at multiple points.
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but america was THRILLED we finally hired a world class manager then shit on him the minute he held up a mirror and reflected hard truths to the culture and players themselves.
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but was he or was he not hired to both manage the national team AND direct the entire US Soccer landscape which says, ultimately, we need help — so here’s a boat load of money—please help us. Tell us what we need to do. Fix this.
    I respect your POV Dan… but this is naive. Like inauthentically naive. I’m surprised.
    I’m not a Klinsman apologist, I think some of his choices were ridiculous, I think he misstepped at points along the way….but the guy was remarkably successful — as he eloquently and left handedly expresses in his Thank You Twitter post. We are not likely to see the benefits for a few years to come.
    In the meantime we can all wrap ourselves up in the conservative comfort of our hurt feelings and continue being stinking mediocre.

    • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

      Pac, we were thrilled when we hired what we thought was a “world class manager”, but his resume (as a manager) and his actions with the US showed that he wasn’t. I won’t deny that his challenges to MLS, his desire to challenge players in Europe, his recruiting, and the overhaul of the DA weren’t all good things. But the facts are the facts and he was a shit game day manager. The US needs to qualify for the World Cup. They need to do it because the money and exposure from a successful qualifying leads to income, and also leads to a more prosperous gold cup (money wise) and also prosperous send off games. This money is needed to further the vision that Klinnsman the technical director had. I think that your statement that he was “remarkably successful” is just off base when you look at his entire resume with the US.

      • One thing for sure learned from this chapter of U.S. Soccer is that hiring a guy to be both the national technical director and head coach is a terrible, terrible idea.

      • Based on wins and loses among his peers he represents well.
        Group of Death remember. scary monster that was. Then again the Group of Death, in Copa. Won a Gold Cup. Played those pesky Belgians to within a shoe lace of Wondolowski. Won in Italy, Germany, Holland.
        US Media can’t have it both ways man… Some stinkers yup. Pretty successful tenure though.

      • The whole 2014 world Cup thing is bogus. We were outplayed by Ghana. We only got in as beneficiaries of playing germanyour last. Tim Howard single handedly kept us from being humiliated (6-10 goals) by Belgium. Klinsmann was a complete disaster.

    • Inauthentically naive???

      Call it naive all you want, but inauthentic is a load of BS. The only agenda I had in writing this post was to write something that would interest our readers, and this was the topic of the day. If you didn’t find Klinsmann condescending, then good on you, but for my part, I was sick of hearing him say that his critics just didn’t understand, and that was the problem. You know, it was everyone else’s fault that they didn’t understand why he chose to play a 3-5-2 vs. Mexico or Matt Besler at left back or whatever silly idea he pulled out of his rear end. It was the same kind of arrogant condescension that Peter Nowak would pull when he was in Philly, only that Klinsmann would say it with a friendlier tone and a friendlier face (and the he’s-a-good-guy sort of thing he has going for him that Nowak does not).

      • Dan,
        I actually liked your take.
        BTW, I am not a birther and looking for someone to whip out their birth certificate or declare how much they love the US. Nor am I xenophobic or anti-immigrant. But I do believe that US teams should have players that live or spent at least a 1/4 of their lives in the US. Ditto for other nation’s teams–idea is to represent the nation.
        I think the “dual citizenship” is carried a bit too far by FIFA and abused by some nations. Klinsmann sullied it even more by constantly stating how bad Americans were, then pointedly opening a “scouting” office in Austria to specifically look for dual-citizens(German speaking ones seemed to get preference over say Spain or Italy).

        Again–this is nation of immigrants–if someone is born in Liberia but grows up in Philly or Dallas, and gets citizenship, I say allow them to play and I will be loudest fan cheering them on…because they share the common experience of Americans and we can identify with them.

        My best example is Carli Lloyd–in her hometown she is a hero and that draws fans to the USWNT. What is US hometown for John Brooks or Fabian Johnson? There is a lack of connection there.

        And if MLS changes the rules and Union fields a team of ALL internationals, more power to them and I’ll cheer them on.
        That’s club/professional and separate idea entirely.
        Sorry, just my take and not meant to offend anyone, especially you as I know you live in Italy and if you are offended I would ask that you kindly respond in what way.
        I just didn’t want my views lumped in with a “birther” or “xenophobe” and it seems difficult to have this conversation without that being a response especially as celebrities that try to bring it up, like Wambach, Donovan, or Arena, are haunted by limited incomplete soundbites that make them appear to be KKK members.

        Thank you.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Precisely the fact so many people took his comments personally as condescension illustrates how weak minded the culture is regarding this particular game as it exists in this country… IMO- the comment I highlighted above illustrates just that.
        It’s not my goal to pick a fight.
        I call it ‘inauthentic’ because this position is the same almost the entire US Soccer media took regarding JK- they wooed and were wowed and turned like Brutus as soon as he started throwing down truth bombs about weak minded players and a culture that desperately needs to change and YES Travel Soccer, while well intentioned is absolutely culpable to this weakminded pampered player as my fellow poster below illustrates.

      • El P,
        Not sure how my paragraph on Travel soccer and comparing expenses for soccer paid by parents compared to other sports means our children are weakminded and pampered.

        Yes, I know you believe German system is be-all-end-all but how do you implement that here?
        Ok, goal is to increase interest in soccer in this country and to create strong players.

        How would you do it? And be specific to how you would fund it–“building mini-pitches in inner cities” funded by who?

        I think this country is 100 years away from dreaming of a European system and again not too sure their academy model is something that Americans would want to emulate.

        Currently you have Travel soccer and school systems. And given that most school systems in this country struggle for money, not sure there is room for real expensive reform at the school level especially when they compete against other sports for funding.

        Your thoughts?


      • el Pachyderm says:

        I do not believe the German system is be all end all. They have a pedigree of which we can only aspire.
        My comments about the german culture revolved around not suffering fools, they expect and demand quality work as evidenced by the things they build and is evidenced in their football.
        Somehow my point about that has been misconstrued.
        Yes I absolutely believe it is incumbent on MLS franchises to reach into the city to the section of the demographic it and travel soccer and pay to play prices out. 100%. Richie Graham said as much just two weeks ago. Outreach. Investment in the City. Free street ball leagues. Free Free. But why do that when…
        …until an academy player can be sold abroad everything an MLS Academy does is bollox when a 16 year old kid can jet for Italy, sign a contract and the MLS club that ‘raised’ him gets NOTHING.
        And for the umpteenth time… I don’t want a European System. I am NOT a eurosnob. I am a happy citizen that takes the game as a meditation where the aesthetic matters more than the outcome. This is not new. Whatever it takes to increase the aesthetic. Whatever it takes to teach kids that its a passing game first. Whatever it takes to not have a dad more interested in NFL Sunday football than the U6 soccer team he is coaching. Whatever it takes to stand in and accept cold hard truths that our players are not mentally tough enough because the policy of US Soccer does not yet back them fully.
        And if you think the player pool has the requisite talent… I’m sorry sir, it doesn’t. Not yet maybe never. And yes UnionGoal all of this speaks to the failed policy of United States Soccer Federation not the NT manager who received ten million dollars to fix the culture then gets shit canned for speaking truth, only to be replaed with a retread manager who recently said national team players should be ‘american’… results aside which were pretty reasonable.

      • Now it’s weak-minded? Well then. You’re not recognizing condescension because you do it too.

        You’re going off on tangents. The condescension case is simple: His record is garbage compared with his predecessors on almost every level, and when criticized for it, he says, “Oh, you just don’t understand soccer.” Imagine that in a European country, where he would’ve been tossed out the door months ago and never gotten that contract extension to begin with.

        It’s one thing to be tough on players. It’s another when you toss your players under the bus and refuse to accept responsibility for your own mistakes. In the American sports culture, we expect the latter, and if you can’t man up and take the heat personally, you’re not up for the job. Then again, that’s probably the case everywhere.

      • Yes weak minded players. 100%.
        If that’s me being condescending to the culture of our players and the culture of our insulated soccer ….then maybe you are right.

    • >>I respect your POV Dan… but this is naïve

      El P,
      The way you juxtapose your thoughts is somewhat mindboggling.
      You say that you respect Dan then state he is being naïve because you disagree.
      To say Klinsmann was “remarkably successful” is hyperbole.
      Some of your arguments this week, while your recurrent themes, do deserve a counterpoint because like above they appear to contradict themselves–and unlike your “passive aggressive” or just plain rude statement above, please understand, while I am not a fan of your posts, I am not going to insult you.
      Please clarify for us:
      1. You stated before and often Americans are poor players, and the other day you went even further–Klinsmann’s failures speak more to this country than him. You even posted a sarcastic post to All4U about superiority of German Culture**. Yet,guy Klinsmann threw under the bus in the Mexico game and who without doubt had his worst game against Costa Rica did not grow up in US or play “American style”. At least seven of the US guys on the field either grew up playing in Europe or play there now. No, not trying to wave flag here but trying to understand how their poor play is in your opinion, EL P, an indictment of “American style”.
      2. Player pool–related to above, you continuously state that is problem Klinsmann had and why he played his “veterans” because no talent in the pool. Yet, is that really the case? We have 3-4 million youths play soccer each year—surely there is some talent there? And any tournament I’ve been at there has been mixture of styles–from Barca type possessing to counterattack to high pressure. You paint in too broad a brush and personally I think Klinsmann’s bias(Eurosnobbery?) dissuaded him from even looking.
      3. With 5 years as technical director–surely he should have found and developed young talent by now. If not, surely there are Central or South American players with dual citizenship? He limited the pool don’t you think?
      4. Your constant tirades against travel soccer are quite insulting to the thousands of volunteers who line fields, run concession stands and fundraisers, and spend countless hours coaching to provide the opportunities and expose millions of kids to soccer to help grow the sport. Is it expensive? Surely it can be(and I wish it was cheaper) but so are almost all the sports out there—heck, I spend under $400 a year for my son for uniform and league fees and other parents pay up to $2k a year—this was far less than paying for swimming for my daughters. And a work colleague pays $6k a year for his daughter to play hockey, others pay almost as much on football or basketball camps for their kids.
      Sports are expensive. Fortunately we in Philly burbs have soccer offered at most middle schools and high schools —but you even scoff at that, even though school is free and offers most opportunity for the “50 million disenfranchised”*** –your number seems oddly unscientific–to play soccer without cost. Tom Byer is working with China where they are putting soccer in thousands of schools where there aren’t many sports programs–here, soccer competes with other major school sports for kids attention—track, baseball, wrestling, tennis, basketball, football, etc. So travel soccer offers opportunities for kids who for whatever reason don’t make the school team.
      5. Pro/Rel–I think you need to answer John O’s excellent questions on that but only three points I care to add–1. Travel soccer that you hate has pro/rel! 2. Steve Holroyd’s terrific analysis last year made me wonder if pro/rel would work better at the lower regional divisions due to less cost required and 3. To carry on that point, MLB uses three tiered minor league system to promote/relegate individual players. With MLS teams sponsoring academies and USL teams, maybe individual players being promoted would be better for US model than trying to force it on MLS/NASL/USL where financial risks are too much. Also, observation from Premier League is that when a “lower team” develops a good player, the teams with more cash typically buy him out, making it less likely that team could move up or stay up anyway. I’d be curious if Dan or someone at PSP could explore apropos the Union/Steel relationship the benefits of individual promotion vs Premier League team pro/rel.

      **On a separate humorous note–all the time you extolled virtues of German cultural superiority, it reminded me of…Boys from Brazil and I had crazy idea of a Mengele in the rainforests splicing Argentinian/Brazilian/German DNA to create the perfect Futbol Player. Take that idea, make it a musical and I am sure Bialystock and Bloom would produce it for you!

      See nothing at all insulting to you–just points for you to consider.
      Have a great Thanksgiving with your family, EL P, and Dan and All4U, OSC, and all the PSP staff and commentators!

      • ***Dan and PSP staff—El P mentioned creating pitches for innercity poor. Question, any updates on one the Union created in Chester?
        Thank you.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Enjoy Thanksgiving UnionGoal.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Just another sanctimonious POV you’ll see in the link below…
        It doesn’t surprise me at all your POV sides with the orange slices, trophies for everyone and the feelings of alll those who paint the lines, correctly I may add…across our ‘great’ soccer nation.
        I love that this thinking is out there, take comfort and refuge knowing there is a growing number of people standing in and demanding more.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Forgot to mention, I do like the individual promotion idea.
        Uncertain how that translates but it’s quality thinking.

      • Thank you, El P. Individual promotion ala MLB minor leagues translates into a system that takes over at ages 18-24 that can push young adults up a tiered ladder to MLS rather than trying to push entire teams that might make promotion based on few strong players who are “bought away” soon as the team is promoted—how many premier or la liga teams who are promoted are back down 2-3 years later?
        Doing individual promotion at younger age like in Europe is a bit uncomfortable for Americans–to say kids without little input from them or their parents can be traded amongst clubs for fees paid only to clubs on the surface seems like exploitation.
        And I’m not too sure the European academies do their best to see to the education of their charges…you ridicule idea of MLSbots but thought goes through my head at every documentary or article I’ve seen about the European academies(especially at pre-teen age) that those are “factories” with little concern for their charges.
        What happens to those who don’t make it? Also, are they casting away the Vardys in their pursuit of some too rigid ideal where 12 or 13 year old kids are cut and yet we know many athletes don’t develop until early or mid twenties.

        Glad to hear Richie Graham emphasizing last week that Union academy is focused on creating great adults not just world-class soccer players as that gives me hope that American spin recognizes value of education.

        BTW, aren’t some of these fraud and tax evasion cases against Messi and Neymar rooted in the ways these academies exploited them during their youth?
        I don’t want to paint in broad brush but I also don’t think we should presume the European model is best for USA because they created Messi and Neymar for Spain and worked to some degree in Germany and England.


      • >orange slices, trophies for everyone and the feelings of all those who paint the lines

        Ok, El P, your objective(like most here) is to build interest in soccer. My point is that you are demeaning the folks who got us to this point—if not for those parents, kids and volunteers–who also exist in other American sports–we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Parents who sacrificed and continue to sacrifice time and money to grow their children’s passion about this sport, orange slice by orange slice.
        They laid the foundation for the soccer growth you see now as you have over 3 million kids playing soccer, and it is included in many middle schools, high schools and colleges where it wasn’t 30 years ago. And travel soccer helped to create many of the “casual fans” you despise who pay the tickets and drive ESPN and Fox to broadcast Premier League and La Liga and Bundesliga games in this country. 30 years ago it was far far less interest and less accessible. Little league and basketball and youth football provided far more options to local kids.
        The very people lining the fields you ridicule are the foundation. Pay to play isn’t perfect but it is how it evolved here as it is similar to how other sports grew here.
        Europe took time before you have the system you see now even with Soccer their major sport for last 140 years (vs baseball and football here over same time frame.)
        Beckham played on a team coached by his dad(volunteer coach) as most academies didn’t recruit before ages 14 or 15 even 30 years ago.
        You talk about MLS academies drawing in 75 kids (across 5 birth years) and that should be emulated.
        But where does the money come from for those academies and “free inner city futsal”? And until then, where do they scout those kids? And what about the 3 million other kids playing travel and rec soccer now? Fuck ’em because they will never play on the USMNT?
        That is a very elitist eurosnobbish tone and if your views prevailed we would be back to early 70’s with incredible small fanbase, inaccessible and alien to most Americans, and where many adults thought the sport very “unmanly” (to be polite) and only bluebloods like the Kennedys played.

        There are several soccer historians on here so I ask them–what is verdict on travel soccer? Obviously not all rosy but has it helped pave way for soccer in this country? Or shall we just scrap it all because our kids don’t have “requisite talent yet…maybe never”.

        And on the note about how academies are paid for players they train–I think many Americans have trouble with that concept. Smacks a bit like child trafficking and lawyers would have field days with parents/kids who have no desire uproot themselves to switch teams because they were “sold”.
        There is much we cannot emulate here in America as our culture and environment(distances) are so different.
        Your blanket hatred of American soccer from MLS to travel teams to the “talent pool” really is disturbing and while you say you are simply demanding better your arguments are very shallow and you spout a snide comment and run away when someone like John O’ or All4U or Dan challenges you on point by point basis.
        You want to improve things–so do we all. But to simply bash Americans because it isn’t European does more to hurt your cause.
        Please reflect on that as you do have valid points to offer (like your VPP campaign last year) but this past year you’ve appear to have gone from stoking discussion to in my opinion(possibly shared by All4U and Dr. K and now Dan) to shouting down everyone.


    • I think it’s a great day. We have finally progressed as a soccer nation to where we care enough to want more. To where results matter. Isn’t that what Klinsi said on hiring, we needed to get to where results matter? Where a press would demand accountability? Well, huzzah! Mission accomplished.

    • As that sage, Jim Curtin, repeats often, “you are your record,” and in the past 16 mos. (post-Euro friendlies), it’s been bad – with no clear path to improvement (save Pulisic!, Wood, Morris).
      Dan gives JK props, to which I add mine to the CEO who hired him – SG.
      His high point was the ’14 WC. I had hoped his “American Loew” could be found afterward. Porter? Ben?
      I still say it’s the next td/coach who matters most. Bradley is only 58.
      Who else?

  4. I hate Benny Feilhaber a little less today.

    • Ambrose Massaro says:

      Feilhaber is a weasel. Like El PAC says, yet another of these coddled, distinctly untalented players (in Feilhaber’s case, no doubt one whose parents lobbied hard for him to land a spot first in college then with the USMNT), like Mr Nepotism himself, the woeful overpaid Bradley.

  5. Old Soccer Coach says:

    I did not pay attention to why JK left the Germany job after 2006. His centerback choices were too vulnerable to world class speed was my own impression.
    He got a shot with Bayern Munich that clearly did not work out, quickly so. Karl Heinz Rumenigge is tactful but not a fan.
    That USSF had communication with some players after Costa Rica may well be the most important fact in the entire conversation. Remember why Red Auerbach as Boston Celtics’s GM hired Bill Russell to succeed Auerbach as coach.
    Coaches in any sport are remarkably similar to the “tyrants” of the so called Age of Tyrants in Ancient Greece. Very few die of old age in their beds (retire). Most are assassinated (fired). Remember Richie Ashburn’s story of why Ruly Carpenter did not want to hire Richie as Phillies manager – “Someday I’d have to fire you.” Walter Alston and Sir Alex Ferguson are exceptional, not normal.

    • Good points, OSC….er, like when don’t you have good points?
      JK to me is combination of Ryne Sandberg and Ron Johnson—the first a fantastic player who just didn’t transition well to coach despite all the positive expectations.
      The second is infamous for his reign at JC Penney. His ideas were revolutionary and definitely worth a chance—but he did horrible job executing and following through on those ideas. And that board, like Sunil, was left bewildered because they couldn’t make sense of the tremendous losses, despite the power of Johnson’s persona and his ability to say all the right things.
      Sunk costs—did any articles mention or do you know, Dan–how much does JK get out of this even though he is gone?

      Oh and I did have funny thought after the games earlier this month that if JK was seriously trying for the England job but Sunil wouldn’t let go due to the contract, that maybe JK did a poison pill? His mind-boggling lineups, incomprehensible tactics, and arrogant comments make more sense in that light.
      If players (Terrell Owens, anyone?) have done that why couldn’t a coach?

      Any takers on that theory? Dan?


  6. UGh, El P has turned into a troll. How sad

  7. By the way,Marcotti’s article on “Criteria for hiring a national coach” on espnfc nails it

    • Thanks, Dr. K, for the shoutout–just read it.

    • Dr. K.
      Question for you–would US have been better off if JK had been hired as technical director and not coach as well?
      Coach has different mandate than technical director don’t you think?
      Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. I think he is a better coach than technical director. The book by Hahneman called “thinking fast thinking slow” deals with his problem. I think JK is an intuitive coach,a fast thinker, not prone to carefully analize things. You know, lets try this lineup and see what happens or lets put this guy at this other position and see if it works. That is intuitive.. I think the inability to be a slow rational thinker is a fatal flaw for a technical director. His assistant in Germany did the rational stuff for him and seem to have a balance of fast and slow thinking that was lacking in JK. The coach should just concentrate on the best way to prepare what he has for the competition at hand and get some decent results, but intuitive coaching by definition must ultimately fail.. The technical director must have a different perspective, more long term I think, but these two separate people must have a similar vision. That is the tricky part. Its like having two bosses on parallel projects that hopefully see eye to eye. Kind of like coach and general manager in the NFL that have the same vision. Just too much for one person,maybe.

    • Excellent analysis. So his type of intuitive coaching might work better with a team he saw regularly? You tinker with players you know and the players have more respect for that when they see coach daily.
      National team coaches are charged with creating an all.star team with few practices and somehow generating chemistry for team to play well for for meaningful games. This while also motivating these players when many realize to get hurt might finish their career or interrupt it significantly enough to inflict financial damage at contract time.
      Not an enviable task and throw pr demands on there and can see why so few nat team coaches anywhere last more than 5 years.

      • Yeah, National team coaching is not like coaching Arsenal. Very Rarely does a national team coach last for 2 consecutive world cups. You coach one good go-around , then you find a nice steady coaching job, like coaching Chelsea. Ha.

  9. Fellow Pundits. Dan.
    Thank you and Be well.
    It’s been fun.
    el Pachyderm.

    • Hey come on now. Maybe there is a yellow card in here somewhere but this is like the EPL. Some hard tackling but shake hands afterward. Always good to read what you have to say.

      • The Little Fish says:


      • John P O'Donnell says:

        I agree, so many people want to take their ball and just go home. I shook my head when the “Gov.” said we become a nation of pussies but I’m starting to agree with that. Get back up on the elephant and swing your trunk in the air like you just don’t care. This isn’t no echo chamber chamber chamber chamber ber her er er.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


%d bloggers like this: