When I heard the best soccer coach America has ever produced was fired, I was waiting in line at the post office. I threw my phone down and it slid across the length of the public access area. I might have yelled, “FUCKING HELL, WE’RE GETTING KLINNSMAN… FUCKING HELL SUNIL, DATE HIM, DON’T GIVE HIM MY TEAM.” Basically, I literally went postal in the post office in an unintentionally ironic way.
It is a well-documented fact Sunil Guliti had/s a massive man-crush on Jugan Klinnman and would do ANYTHING to get him to lead the U.S. Men’s’ National Team. Even fire Bob Bradley… Still somewhat bitter, even after it all. I LOVE BOB.
Now, Bob has moved on to great things, representing America’s best around the world by leading foreign teams both country and club with distinction, honor and success. Bob also left his National Team Michael aka “BB Bradley,” so thanks for everything. Keep on Rockin the World, Bob… Keep on Rockin.
Anyway, I was not pleased with the selection of Klinnsman. Not pleased at all. This was, of course, right after his disastrous turn as manager of Bayern Munich. Yes, he led Germany to an improbable Semi-Final in 2006 but he also had Joachim Low handling large parts of the team’s responsibilities. What would he have here but carte blanch to do whatever the hell he wanted and no Low.
I was unimpressed with Klinnys start in 2011, as EVERYONE was… his record, after all, was abysmal. A draw versus a Mexico to start out and then loss, loss, win, loss, loss, win. It did get better in 2012 to be fair.
Additionally, he started his Germany migration pipeline, he hunted Germans who eligible for American passports like truffle sniffing pig hunts mushrooms.
This brought out big issues in me, mainly because it said about the state of American soccer and what it means for the development of the game in the US. Just when we were starting to get the best young athletes believing they could make a career of soccer, the guys who worked their asses off making the sacrifices were getting bumped for kids who had barely, if ever, set foot in America.
Sure Jermaine “Germany” Jones made the switch in 2009 and had his first call-up under Bob. [Yes, years ago I nicknamed him “Germany,” and yes, I nickname everyone. This happens to one work perfectly.] Klinnsman, however, took it to a whole other Indiana Jones questing for the Holy Grail level of scouting possible passport holders.
What my main issue with this plan is the potentially detrimentally effect it could have on USA based development of talent. Will kids want to choose soccer when it means working their asses off to watch someone else take their National Team spots?
Here is the thing that over the course of the last 18 months or so I have come to remember: THIS IS AMERICA, WE ARE A MERITOCRACY BASED ON A MELTING POT PHILOSOPHY. IT IS OUR GREATEST STRENGTH IN EVERYTHING WE DO CULTURALLY AND THAT IS TRUE IN SOCCER TOO.
I started to embrace the GerMerican influence the when I “met” some of them in an autograph signing after an open training in Columbus for a WCQ (Jamaica, not Mexico). They were simply the same guys as the ones born and bred here in the States. They just doing their best to represent the shirt and the nation.
By nature and political leaning, I am proudly liberal. I support massive immigration reforms, not only from an ideology of America basis but from an realistic position. Immigration makes our nation stronger, more diverse and more creative or simply put better. Same is true for our National Teams, both Male and Female (suck it Canada, Syd is Ours).
I am using the term “immigrant” in relation to the duel citizens on our national team incorrectly and I understand that. Our immigrant members are Stu Holden (Scotland) or Benny Feilhaber (Brazil) for example. Hell, many of our “Americans,” are first or second generation themselves. The guys heading to Brazil as part of our National Team are Americans, period.
[Yes I call the German-American ones, GerMericans but let’s be honest, that is an awesome nickname and you’re welcome. Others have tried to take credit for it later but pretty certain it was my creation; at least no one I know of had ever referred to them that way until I started].
We are a better team and will be a better team for having the influences of Germany, less so with Norway or Iceland (Sorry Disco Mix and AJ) but we are better for having those two and the GerMericans as well; just as Serbia is better for having Neven Subotić or Iran is better for having Steven Beitashour’s American experiences.
The day that I was fully on-board the European Wave train was an insanely hot day in DC watching another open training before the US v. Germany friendly at RFK. It was 90+ degrees plus about 90% humidity and the boys ran and trained their collective asses off for 90 minutes or so. As they were doing cool down stretches and getting notes on performances, Jermaine Jones did a full core work out (crunches, planks, twisting crunches, etc). He just kept going.. I may have yelled, “OMAR DO YOU SEE THAT? DO YOU SEE THAT COMMITMENT.. DO THAT!”
The proverbial “Ah ha,” moment, I got why Klinnsman wanted those players and their work ethic involved. He wanted them to bring a higher level of commitment and dedication. I support this wholeheartedly.
The other thing that Klinnsman did to supplement this was take those uniquely American qualities and promote those as well. Wondo, Evans, Beckerman, etc. those guys are the guys who represent the best of America: never giving up, setting an impossible goal and beating it, never giving in, never being satisfied with mediocrity in themselves and never giving mediocrity to the team.
This is an American team, a melting pot of a team with 23 guys bringing 23 unique talents and qualities to form one. This team’s motto is One Nation, One Team.
That is incorrect. We are E Pluribus Unum OUT OF MANY, ONE.