Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ruh Roh

And before you ask, yes, I was aware of some of these feelings out of the players about Klinsi's tactics and squad management. I was not aware of the German-born divide thing. Props to Brian Straus for both the big story dig and the balls to poke a buzzing hive. Yeah, and for making the upcoming pressers much more interesting. Bet on it.




- Greg Seltzer

31 comments:

david said...

This article never ends.

Unknown said...

Long form journalism is a lost art in the age of the Internet and you should be excited to have a full length article to read. Grab a cup of coffee, find a comfy chair, and dig in.

This is a fantastic piece that brings up a lot of good points from both sides. The most staggering stat in the whole thing is that the Costa Rica game will be the 24th different lineup in 24 games. That's amazing.

Jay said...

Player revolt. Someone in the staff will be gone and replaced following the Mexico game.

SeaOtter said...

Amazing......and scary......reporting.

Tony M said...

This. Exactly this.

Jay said...

Vasquez will probably be the one to take the fall. USSF has invested too much political capital in Klinsmann to drop him in the middle of qualifying, but if we fail, he'll be booted out the day after. Can anyone guess the over/under on Jason Kreis being named assistant coach by the end of the month?

Tony M said...

I suggested last week that bringing in Ramos to run the tactical side was the only face-saving way forward. Vasquez can stay as a trainer.

Phil McCracken said...

Wow, only read a short portion of it, but so far, it really confirms what we've all been saying.

Can't wait to finish reading this tonight.

Jayboy said...

This really is a great article - I agree with Unknown and thanks Greg for steering us toward it.

Despite my frequent head-scratching at lineups, I still came away from this article thinking Klinsi is clearly working on a long-term plan for developing players that are flexible and believe that they can win any game.

Nobody really believes that Bocanegra is going to start at the World Cup, particularly while riding the pine at the bottom of the 2nd division in Spain. This article sounds like the players are feeling uncomfortable and uncertain, which is what Klinsi clearly is expecting.

At the core, if we qualify (which is exceptionally likely, despite a lot of pre-emptive handwringing), Klinsi will get a chance to implement his big plan. As a fan, I'm certainly enjoying the ride!

dikranovich said...

this type of reporting, it reminds me of the kind that jenn cheng used to do. this person said this, and that person said that. all the while, these are secret sources.

Jay said...

That's called "journalism," dik. When one asks for content from your sources in exchange for anonymity, one fucking gives them anonymity.

Tony M said...

dikranovich: Nonsense. The things said in this article tally with what has been said about Klinsmann for years. And do you really expect guys trying to crack his lineup to put thier name to their comments?

Hey, it took forty years to learn who Deep Throat was, but everything he said about Nixon was accurate and verified through other sources.

david said...

Dang, that was a really good article. I have been wondering about this the last few games: “What we’re good at is we work hard, we fight and we compete. We have great athletes and we’re a good counterattacking team. Maybe we need to go back to what we’re good at.”

The Streetsweeper said...

Jayboy, God bless your optimism and patience. This article actually cemented for me a totally opposite reaction. I find Klinsmann to be among the self-important, condescending personalities ever to helm a team I care about. He is every reason my wife and I didn't want to stay in Los Angeles to raise our kids.

All of this obsession with self. As if it's a new concept. Was Jay DeMerit "satisfied" with his personal development when he struck out on his own for England? What about Clint Dempsey or Michael Bradley? Are those comfortable, rest-on-their-laurels kind of guys? Our rosters have always featured guys pushing themselves to the "next level". (A term that is so SoCal it makes we want to puke.)

I would write more but it is too incoherent. I am too pissed off. The guy's philosophy flies in the face of everything I love about team sports. It flies in the face of everything that is great about both coaching and playing the beautiful game. This Lord of the Flies every man for himself crap is not how we win. Never has been. Never will. It's not why we play the game.

And anyone, ANYONE, trying to give Klinsmann credit for the free flowing, confident demeanor of the U-20 team is in a friggin DREAM world.

Alex Larsen said...

There are a couple things in the article I find disconcerting. When Klinsmann says: " It’s not actually the coach that has to adjust to the players, to kind of think about it, ‘How do I communicate it perfectly (and) correctly to the players? It’s actually the players’ job to take the information from the coach, with whatever personality the coach has and let it kind of sink into his own system." I absolutely disagree with him on this. It's a coaches job to find the best way to communicate to an individual player and bring the best out of them. If you can't get your point across to an individual, they won't respond well. I've seen this from being a coach myself. I can see the players being uncomfortable with something new but these are professional players who have surely been thru managerial changes at the club level. I think they truly doubt Jürgen's tactical ability shown thru Lahm's comments and the fact we've led each qualifier but can't adjust to hold the lead. Also, when Jürgen says this is a team in transition, between 2 cycles. Well we aren't really between 2 cycles anymore, the World Cup is next year. We need to get our poop in a group.

Phil McCracken said...

Mmmmn secret sources.

Jamie said...

Wow, best article I've read in ages. I need to let it process for a bit before I can really draw any conclusions. Thanks for posting this.

Micah said...

Its disconcerting to hear about the divide between the German Americans and the rest of the team. That really needs to be sorted out. Either by Klinsmann or by someone like Dempsey and Bradley. That kind of divide is not acceptable, and just because you play in the Bundesliga does not mean you deserve anything from the US National team.

heythisisrobbie said...

Looks like Jay owes me an apology for calling me racist because I said the Germericans might present a cohesion issue.

Greg wasn't even considering it a possibility either.

The bottom line is that this team isn't a team. What I wouldn't give to have Bob Bradley back.

Jay said...

Prove to me that you had even a shred of real evidence of this prior to today, and I'll consider it.

As it was, you made the completely unfounded claim that the German-born American players "don't play with the same heart" based on... nothing? Because it sure sounded like you were basing that accusation entirely on the fact that they weren't born in the United States. At no point did I accuse you of being an out and out racist, only that this particular claim, repeated ad infinitum by some circles of supporters, is borderline racist. My exact words, by the way.

If you know these gentlemen, have spoken with them about how much heart they have, please do enlighten us.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ heythisisrobbie: Who says the divide is being caused by the players? The way I read the article, it sounds as if Klinsmann is the one causing the rift.

Matt said...

Rog from Men In Blazers posted this earlier: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/20/sports/soccer/20soccer.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&. Not the first time Klinsi has been accused of being an inept moron.



Paul Poenicke said...

Greg, re-reading the article gave me the impression that Klinsmann might be "causing" the rift through inaction: "But the coach told Sporting News that it isn’t entirely his responsibility to heal any locker room rifts. He can mix and match roommates, but in the long run it’s up to the players."

Frankly, many of the concerns about Klinsmann's coaching style seem to be related to his own abilities as a footballer. His ability and drive allows him to related to individuals who are straining to improve themselves; for the player who has less drive he can motivate them, but he cannot help them overcome the simpler issues (movement off the ball, kinetics associated with shooting or passing, ect.) that he may have easily resolved.

Consider how a former striker might teach other players about playing in a system. He can naturally inspire and motivate; his background does not allow for him to draw on his experience to discuss how hold a back four together or how to adequately position oneself in midfield. These features of the game are undoubtedly understood by Klinsmann--hell, he knows more about them than we do. The problem is that if his coaching guidance relies upon emotion for initiation, the relayed information will be associated primarily with his experiences as a striker--information that is informative for only a limited number of individuals on the team.

Without going too deep into dual process theory, I think we have a coach who relies on the same form of cognition for coaching as he did for playing. Klinsmann’s coaching might be more successful if he had been a defensive midfielder or sweeper; alas, he was a striker, who needed less information about form, team chemistry, tactics, and other features of the game to be successful. (Associated point: I remember reading about how a number of successful baseball managers were catchers. I wonder if there is an associated tie with soccer coaches and certain positions?)

nptinho said...

He's tactically inept. Just look at the teams he picks and the lineups he fields. The squad we put out there against Honduras was a joke.

Bradley was a much smarter guy. Arena is a better manager too. I have no expectations for our WC performance under Klinsmann, but I at least hope we can qualify.

Greg Doucette said...

What worries me most is that JK seems to be willing to sacrifice short term success for his long term vision. I'm not big on cliches but I'd kill at this point for a little talk about "grinding out a result."

Instead we get talk about making players uncomfortable (again, a sound long-term principle but completely impractical for a qualifying campaign). Here's a novel idea.... put some players on the field in a formation and with some tactics where they can be successful, subsequently have some success, and then maybe people will buy in and start to follow you.
Coaching, and by association leadership, is about maximizing the talents of the people around you. Does anyone get the impression Klinsmann is doing that? Or even trying to do that?

Greg Seltzer said...

Perhaps I'm in the minority, but all I see is too much trying to grind out a result. I think this team needs to realize it can play ball now. The CONCACAF teams below us and Mexico are much improved from a physical, athletic standpoint. We can no longer muscle out results with ease. Now, we need to show we're simply better footballers. Because we are.

Timmy said...

Greg - your 8:03. Exactly. In Kingston, the US tried to play the old CONCACAF game: point on the road, win at home, and got burned. Then a few days later (admittedly on a better surface) at home we actually played the game and dominated.

This is why I'm so perplexed. There are beautiful performances like the game against Scotland and then just utter crap (e.g. Canada).

dikranovich said...

some people think that a national style is implemented by a coach, or maybe the federation itself, but the truth is, it is the people of the country who define the style with which any national team plays. in brasil it is samba, and in holland, it is a mastery of the game, a mastery of the art. in germany it is a percision game.

guus hiddink did not change the style with which south korea played, it was always hard working and relentless. so he refined the product, but it was still south korea.

same thing in japan. our boy tom san might be a god in that country, but the style of the japanese team is a style borne from the japanese people, not the brasilians. maybe the japanese took to zico better than americans took to cruyff, i dont know.

maybe we soccer fans are too fickle. you cant help but chuckle a little at the outcry against coach klinsmann, when just five or six years ago, he was seen as the savior by these same fans who now decry him.

in fact, maybe players who once thought, oh, if we just had the wisdom of klinsmann, are these the same players who now speak anonymously against their coach.

my sense, is our players are getting soft, taking to twitter to often, and not chizzled from a hardened mold that we think of in the american athlete.

and the fans, ready to cast a stone at a moments notice.

paul said...

Captain


http://m.facebook.com/284301705437/timeline/story?ut=2&hash=1284541911102513284&wstart=0&wend=1364799599&ustart&refid=17

Joos said...

Is it some sort of radioactive spider bite that allows one to completely dismiss such allegations from one of the most reputable sports outlets in the country?

It's been clear to many that there seems to be little plan for how to actually go about playing the games. Seems clear that's not just a fan observation.

Some of the quotes are particularly spectacular. I enjoy the constant implications that the complaints are just because some players aren't used to being challenged professionally.

"It’s not actually the coach that has to adjust to the players, to kind of think about it, ‘How do I communicate it perfectly (and) correctly to the players?’ It’s actually the players’ job to take the information from the coach, with whatever personality the coach has and let it kind of sink into his own system. ... Now, I have to implement it in my own way. It’s a learning process, and that’s fine."

This is a nice thought, however, given that you need 23 players for a World Cup squad and only one head coach, it would seem you would run out of qualified players much more quickly than you would run out of qualified coaches. I understand the concept of trying to elevate the program, but it's results time. There's no comfy safe transition period for Klinsi right now.

“This is not happening overnight,” he said. “I take this conversation, I take it as a positive also with the players, talking more about this process to them. That they really understand that this is not happening overnight. ... The only way we get them to that next level is to run them through this uncomfortable period and they have to learn and they have to swim in the cold water. And we’re going to convince the world later."

Not going to convince anybody if you don't qualify.

dikranovich said...

i always enjoy the timing of comments, but it is sort of like.... you had to be there.