The United States men’s national team is not in a good spot at the moment. The Stars and Stripes previously entered Copa America 2024 with high hopes. After all, the tournament is being played on home soil and the team appeared ready to make their mark in such a prestigious competition. Nevertheless, the Americans embarrassingly failed to qualify for the knockout round.

As a result of the debacle, many USMNT fans are calling for Gregg Berhalter to be fired. The current head coach came back to the USMNT last summer after US Soccer previously allowed his contract to expire. The move has since backfired as evident in the team’s Copa America display.

While bringing back Berhalter was a mistake, a former USMNT head coach predicted a bigger issue at US Soccer. Jurgen Klinsmann previously coached the Americans from 2011 to 2016. With the German in charge, the Americans experienced both highs and lows during the five years.

Following his dismissal, however, Klinsmann could see that the USMNT would struggle in the future. This was, according to the coach, due to the organization prioritizing money over actual results.

Klinsmann claimed USMNT can’t grow with US Soccer scheduling CONCACAF games

Three years after US Soccer fired Klinsmann, he sat down to conduct an interview with ESPN. Looking back at the discussion, the German coach’s analysis foreshadowed a lot of the problems that the USMNT is currently suffering from.

For instance, Klinsmann told the news outlet that the USMNT needs to schedule more friendlies against the top teams in the world. “I think the biggest challenge for the United States, or even Mexico or Costa Rica, is that you don’t really have the highest competition,” stated Klinsmann. “When you just play within your system [CONCACAF], you don’t have the big matches against European or South American countries in order to grow your program.”

“You need to play Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Holland and England,” continued the coach, who also added that it’s “almost impossible for the USA or Mexico to get better” by mostly playing just CONCACAF teams.

Klinsmann also labeled the CONCACAF Nations League as “a waste of time” because it blocks the USMNT from playing the top teams in the world. Established in 2018, the competition was created to help avoid ‘meaningless’ friendlies. Nevertheless, the tournament is not exactly seen as a serious competition by many soccer fans.

USMNT has scheduled 78% of friendlies at home since the end of 2018

Another issue, according to Klinsmann, is the fact that the USMNT plays too many matches at home against weaker opponents. The move by US Soccer is seen as a way to rake in as much revenue as possible. The German coach went on to claim in the interview that the Americans should have scheduled more away matches in Europe.

Five years later, this issue is still plaguing the USMNT. Since the end of 2018, the Stars and Stripes have played 32 total friendlies. Twenty-five of these fixtures (78%) have been in the United States. The remaining seven games were across Europe.

Nevertheless, none of these matchups on foreign soil came against teams considered to be extremely tough opponents. For instance, the USMNT played Japan, Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, Northern Ireland, Switzerland, Wales, and Panama in Europe during this timeframe.

Although the Klinsmann interview was from 2019, it is as if the coach is speaking in the present time. While Berhalter remains an issue with the USMNT, US Soccer also needs to overhaul its scheduling process. This, however, will not change in the immediate future. The Americans face Canada, New Zealand, and Panama in their next three friendlies. All three of the games are this fall in the United States.

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