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Klinsmann takeover: A local reaction

Photo of Juergen Klinsmann by flickr.com user Naturalblu

blog by BuffaloDotCom  • 

I thought Bob Bradley’s job was safe when the United States fought back from losing to Panama in the group stage to advance to the Gold Cup Final against Mexico.  Apparently, U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati didn’t agree, as he relieved Bradley of his coaching duties last Thursday and inserted former German head coach—and legendary striker—Jurgen Klinsmann as the Yanks’ new head coach. 

In the four days since the change, we’ve had a chance to sit back and stew over Bradley’s five years at the helm.  Gulati’s decision is reasonable—players weren’t developing quickly, teams that the U.S. once manhandled were suddenly proving competitive and a general malaise had swarmed over the Americans.  The flair of Dos Santos and the relentless runs of Chicharito in the Gold Cup loss to Mexico brought to the forefront what the Yanks lacked under Bradley: imagination, freedom and a clear style of play. 

There’s no question that “style of play” is high on Klinsmann’s list of priorities, perhaps the defining issue in putting his stamp on the U.S. side.  Here’s his quote shortly after Bradley was re-upped in fall 2010

“You just have to go ahead and define it and say: ‘This is what we are going to build. Do you buy into it?’ You won’t get everybody being on board. You will lose probably 20 or 30 percent on the way. And then you have to tell players or even staff people: ‘You have to move on. I have to get other people on board who believe in this system, who believe in this style of play.’“

What do the prominent names in the Buffalo soccer community think about the move?

The Illustrious Panel:

Nick Mendola, Owner of FC Buffalo
Tom Garigen, Director of Coaching for Empire United & Director of Community Initiatives for Buffalo Soccer Club.
Josh Faga, defender for Marist University & FC Buffalo
Kevin King, soccer reporter for the Buffalo Soccer Examiner


Is the coaching change a good move or a bad move?

:  “It’s a fine move. Klinsmann has been successful in multiple spots but for short periods of time. U.S. Soccer has to let him do it his way.”

Garigen:  “I’ve never seen Klinsmann coach and I don’t know what kind of person he is or what his plans are, so I have no opinion if it was a good move or not.  It is interesting that they did it now, rather than right after the last cup.”

Faga:  “I feel that this is a great move for U.S. soccer and a much, much needed one. We have needed some foreign flair and foreign tactics for a long time. “

King:  “An OK move.  I think the untold story is that Bradley was burnt out.


Describe Bob Bradley’s tenure with the national team in one sentence:

Mendola:  “Bradley’s tenure as USMNT coach was too inconsistent and stubborn with short spells of brilliance.”

Garigen:  “Bradley did a good job by my account, as I still think the success of the national team program falls more on those who are developing players as it does the coach who is putting them out on the field.”

Faga:  “Bradley’s tenure as US coach was overachieving. The team accomplished some great things, but Bradley’s overall stamp on our country’s future in soccer is non-existent; progress was not made.”

King:  “In a word, stagnant.  My biggest problem with Bradley was his hesitance to try different things tactically.  The USMNT is no better now than when he took over.” 


What’s one change you think Klinsmann will make?

Mendola:  “Klinsmann will change the style of the team without sacrificing the toughness and tenacity, and will demand systematic obedience from other hired coaches from U-20 and down.”

Faga:  “I feel that Klinsmann will instill a more passing, creative, and attacking/possession oriented team. He will also instill a very disciplined team. Being of German descent, I know that German teams are always very detailed and disciplined both offensively and defensively, which is something our country desperately needs. Free flowing attack and unrelenting pressure and defensive shape, Klinsmann will create organization we have yet to see from a U.S. team.”

King:  “As a former striker, Klinsmann has got to speed up the development of our young strikers, Juan Agudelo and Jozy Altidore, and I think he will.  The man knows what it takes to score goals, and if Agudelo and Jozy don’t develop, Klinsmann will move pieces around to find goals, something Bradley was maddeningly hesitant to do.” 


What players do you think will benefit most from the coaching change?

Mendola:  “The easy answer is Freddy Adu, but I also think Oguchi Onyewu and Maurice Edu will benefit from fresh eyes. Hopefully he finds a way to work Edu and Bradley in at the same time.”

Garigen:  “The player who will benefit the most in my eyes is Michael Bradley, as now his merits as a player will not be questioned (if anyone out there still is).”

Faga:  “Finally, I think that now is the time we move on from Michael Bradley and Stuart Holden becomes the ‘go-to’ central midfielder. He has much more experience than Bradley and was named Bolton’s MVP last season. [Manchester United manager] Sir Alex [Ferguson] even said that he was one of the top 3 midfielders in the EPL, an unbelievable comment for him and our country!  He is in rehab for a knee injury currently, but he is definitely going to get his chance under Klinsmann. Also, I see Charlie Davies making a return to the line-up. He is the goal scorer we have lacked for some time. Brek Shea is another will start to earn caps under Klinsmann; [the FC Dallas upstart] is a crafty left footed midfielder who can score.” 

King:  “Stuart Holden, no question.  I’m still disappointed Holden didn’t get more of a look from Bradley last summer in the World Cup.  He’s a terrific passer and is a great crosser on the wing.  He also understands the defensive responsibilities he has, and does a great job getting back, making tackles and getting the ball back.  He’s unlike any player I can remember the USMNT having (maybe Claudio Reyna with more speed and better hair?), and I think once he gets back from his knee injury, Klinsmann will give him every chance to take the reigns from Dempsey and Landon as we move to 2014.”

TAGGED: bob bradley, dan krzyzanowicz, fc buffalo, josh faga, juergen klinsmann, kevin king, nick mendola, soccer, tom garigen, usmnt

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