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Klinsmann may not be the right person for USMNT job


Tampa Bay Rowdies Head Coach Thomas Rongen says that Jurgen Klinsmann may not be the right person for the US Men’s National Team Head Coach position.

In an exclusive interview with Soccer Morning, Rongen said “On the highest level, I’m not so sure that Jurgen Klinsmann is the right person for the job, quite frankly.

“Yes, he was a great player. Yes, he was a sexy choice. If I take a look at the 2002 team that almost went to the final four under Bruce Arena and if I look at the team now, I don’t see huge progression. I see a team that lacks identity. That plays different systems. I see a lot of dual-citizen players. There’s a lot of things that remain somewhat questionable.

“There’s a little bit of disconnect between players and coaches, which is never a good thing. The American coach knows the American player real well. That’s one of the reasons why Bob Bradley and Bruce Arena were successful. They know what makes US players tick.

“It’s a different animal than players who have come through Bayern Munich or Borussia Monchengladbach or Tottenham Hotspur where the landscape is so much different. I’m not sure if the coaching staff (Berti Vogts, Andreas Herzog and Klinsmann) really identify and understand what makes the American player tick.”

Rongen, who was the United States U-20 head coach from 2001-2005 and 2006-2011, was
asked about the situation at the US youth levels and whether the system is being run efficiently.

“I think our environment still is not great,” said Rongen.

“The development at younger ages, which is still far from perfect, is not even close to what it is in the rest of the world.”


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  1. Matt

    April 1, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Klinsmann tells some uncomfortable truths and people don’t like to be uncomfortable. It’s true that USMNT players need to show up for their national team duties in better condition so that they don’t all run out of gas in the 75th minute. It’s true that you can’t build a world-class national team if your best players are all cocooned in your domestic league. Do all the best Belgian players play in the Belgian league? No, in fact almost none of them do. Portugal, Colombia, Brazil, same thing. I like MLS and want it to continue to improve, but USMNT is not going to reach the World Cup semifinals with an MLS all-star team.

    Could Klinsmann coach the existing players better? Sure, but the real hindrance to progress is the massive gulf in talent between the USMNT roster and that of the best national teams.

  2. jeff

    April 1, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Klinsman is a crap coach. What has he done? Take Germany to third place in 06…(Any one of you internet soccer commenting experts can do that). He failed miserably at Bayern and was criticized by everyone there. Sounds like you guys here a German accent and immediately think he is our savior. He has done nothing more than a Bob Bradley or Bruce Arena that you can prove and thats a fact.

  3. David Lyons

    March 31, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Rongen, you were in charge of a good chunk of that development during the time you’re saying JK hasn’t progressed … you freaking moron.

    Yes, let’s talk about a lack of identity. Perhaps, if you’d managed not to **** the bed with Subotic our back line would be solidified by now.

    Of course, there were also a hell of a lot of players that ‘maxed out’ under you rather than graduate to full USMNT players thanks to your “development” …

  4. jay

    March 31, 2015 at 12:40 am

    Tom Rogen, along with Jesse Marsch made some crazy comments and drew attention to themselves. in US soccer fan base, how many of us know Tom Rogen and Jesse Marsch before this weekend?

  5. jay

    March 31, 2015 at 12:39 am

    Tom Rogen, along with Jesse Marsch made some crazy comments and draw attention to themselves. in US soccer fan base, how many of us know Tom Rogen and Jesse Marsch before this weekend?

    • White Kix

      March 31, 2015 at 11:59 am

      If you did not know who Thomas Rongen and Jesse Marsch were last week, then I would argue that you were not part of the US fan base. They both have a long history playing and coaching at the top levels of US soccer.

  6. Smokey Bacon

    March 30, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    The results will speak for themselves. Lucky run to the last 16 of the World Cup aside, Klinsmann has not lived up to the billing. He is not going to make them a force in world football and neither will the next guy. It’s a long road for the USMNT. But the next guy needs to be more in touch with the players than Klinsmann whose reputation as a manager was built on the back of Low.

  7. Kei

    March 30, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Losing Klinsmann as the US manager would be a rather dark day for American soccer.

    Losing Klinsmann as the technical director of US Soccer? That might as well be the death knell for any meaningful development of the game in this country.

  8. Brian

    March 30, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    The reason why the US soccer team hasn’t made progress since 2002 isn’t because of Klinsmann. Blame the setup and structure of US soccer. No one person can be blamed for that.

    Rongen comes off as being anti Klinsmann without offering a name he thinks could do a better job. As to why managers of foreign clubs aren’t good for American players he needs to look at all the African players who have benefited from playing abroad. Rongen comes across as being very ignorant of the sport at international level.

  9. tonys

    March 30, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    “I I see a lot of dual-citizen players.”

    He’s a jingiostic racist. Call a spade a spade.

    • Tom

      March 30, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      Don’t get too worked up. Rongen is Dutch.

  10. David

    March 30, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Thomas Rongen has no idea what he’s talking about. Complaining about dual citizens is ridiculous. The best teams in the world have dual citizens. Klinsmann should be praised for all the players that have committed to play for the USA. Funny how Rongen is trying to compare Arena’s team from 2002 to the team now. Did Rongen not watch Arena’s team at the 2006 World CUp? That was a disaster. US Soccer needed a major overhaul and Klinsmann was the right choice to get that started.

  11. Bill

    March 30, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Opti you are a fool. He is correct in everything he said.

    • yespage

      March 30, 2015 at 12:56 pm

      He blames the lack of progress since ’02. Klinnsman hasn’t been in charge for most of that time. In fact, he wasn’t for 9 of those years.

      They went undefeated in the last Gold Cup, made out of a tough group in the World Cup (and just barely didn’t notch a victory against Portugal thanks to an absurdly awesome cross from Ronaldo).

      I’m not exactly certain what some people want from Klinsmann. There were teams with more talent that did worse than the US.

    • Kei

      March 30, 2015 at 1:42 pm


    • Opti

      March 31, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      Ok, “Bill” 😉

  12. Opti

    March 30, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    What a ridiculous statement by Rongen: trying to polarize players and manager by injecting a big dose of “ZE GERMANS ARE COMING!” Shame on him!

    “I see a team that lacks identity.”
    — What was the US identity before? Landon über alles? The US had a group of decent players over the past generation (Donovan, McBride, Howard, etc); however, the new generation lacks that stand-out performer or leader and grew up in a far more global US soccer environment. It would only make sense that the identity will change as US attitude towards soccer is changing. In addition, Klinnsmann has overseen the USMNT during a renaissance of the MLS. Does Rongen believe he had NO effect on this?

    “That plays different systems.”
    — Rongen sounds like he has no idea about soccer here. New coach, new system. That’s not a story and certainly not a meaningful complaint.

    “I see a lot of dual-citizen players.”
    — How is that a bad thing? That is something that is to the credit of Klinnsman. This is great.

    “There’s a little bit of disconnect between players and coaches”
    — Ok. This would be helpful statement if it was backed up by meaningful commentary and not some alarmist “Dey took ma’ soccer!!” rhetoric.

    “The American coach knows the American player real well. That’s one of the reasons why Bob Bradley and Bruce Arena were successful.”
    — Besides the underlying nationalistic Rongen rage, I don’t think Arena and Bradley were THAT successful. Quarterfinals of the WC once is not massive success and after 2002, did these two coaches really build upon the success as Rongen expects of Klinnsman? I would say that the US performance in 2014 was pretty good. The group was tough but they got out and faces a very strong Belgium (maybe not as sexy as Italy, but stronger than Mexico in 2002).

    Rongen is a fool.

  13. CBF 1914-2014

    March 30, 2015 at 11:58 am

    I would like to know who could adequately replace JK in the hot seat that is within the US Soccer mainframe?

    Wynalda? Lalas?

    • Flyvanescence

      March 30, 2015 at 12:49 pm

      Lalas, shoot me now!

      Wynalda (despite the fact hes a terrible tv analyst) has proven to be a decent coach and has some decent visionary ideas of what needs to happen in American soccer. I would have a little hope for him.

      Lalas is a clown. with his “set pieces” and “wanting it more” would set us back 30 years

    • Tom Moore

      March 30, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      Landon Donovan, of course! According to the pro-MLS crowd, there is nothing that Donovan can’t accomplish!

    • Joseph D'Hippolito

      March 31, 2015 at 2:43 am

      How about Carlos Queiroz, whose resignation as Iran’s coach takes affect at the end of the month? Queiroz has coached three different national teams in three different World Cups. He has managed Real Madrid and assisted Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. He has a far more well-rounded resume than Klinsmann, and has dealt with a larger number of personalities than Klinsmann. He also wrote the Project-40 plan for U.S. Soccer years ago. He has forgotten more about the game in this country than Klinsmann ever will know. If it were up to me, I’d fire Klinsmann and hire Queiroz now.

      • ford

        March 31, 2015 at 2:59 pm

        Well though out response… and a very valid candidate.

        It seems to me that Jurgen is still searching for what he wants to do with the players from the USA. I agree with Rongen a bit.. it is hard to see a lot of progress.

        • yespage

          March 31, 2015 at 5:14 pm

          I’m having a hard time seeing the lack of accomplishments in the 4 years he has been in charge.

          • Smokey Bacon

            March 31, 2015 at 8:18 pm

            His record is no better than Bradley and worse than Arena. Not good enough for a big name.

            • Yespage

              March 31, 2015 at 9:54 pm

              The US came within a whisker of two wins at the World Cup (no way they would have beaten Belgium, even with Super Donavon who’s previous World Cup experience saw him score the game winning goal against World Cup giant Algeria), and they aced the Gold Cup. Is there some other stick we need to be judging by?

              • Javier

                April 1, 2015 at 1:27 pm

                How about doing what he promised and playing better possession football. The US has always been a pretty good counterattack team since they get out possessed by the Germany’s, Spain’s, even Ghana’s of the world. Klinsmann promised a possession based team, which is fine, the a little ambitious, yet the US was last at the WC in possession. It’s fine to acknowledge other teams can keep the ball better but its naive to continue to try and do what other teams can do but better than you. There should have been more tactical flexibility from Klinsmann in the tournament. After Altidore was hurt, the attack looked so stagnant. Normally teams that can’t keep the ball will either defend and counterattack or just bunker and pray for a draw. The US looked like the bunker variety against Ghana, Germany, and Belgium, since Klinsmann kept off his best counter-attacking player (Donovan) off the roster to relieve pressure. The same player that lead the US to Gold Cup glory a summer earlier, not that.

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