Klinnsman’s Latin Flavor… The Rise of Latino-American Generation

NOTE: this developed from a question in response to the E Pluribus Unum post.  I answered there and decided to develop it more here. 

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While it is true we are all focused on the duel passport-holders because of their prominence in the World Cup Squad, the true development of our nationals’ teams future lies in two areas: getting more urban youth involvement in the game and more young Latino/a players who are willing to commit t to playing for the US National Teams.

For the moment, I am going to focus on the rise of Latino generation.  This is always less of an issue for the women’s team offers unique opportunities for female players, so it is primarily the focus of the USMNT.

Klinnsman’s World Cup squad features at least three players of Hispanic ancestry: Omar Gonzales, Ale Bedoya, and Nick Rimando; additionally Joe Corona went to camp; and Liga MX based defender DMB will most likely start.   He has regularly called up Herc Gomez in Qualifying but since he did not play regularly for the Xolo and was actually just loaned out to Tigres, he was not a viable option for the Cup squad.

Where the real push to bring in Hispanic-America players is at the U-21 (and younger)  team level.  USSF/Klinnys seem heavily invested in developing young talent born in America, who could be/are duel passport holders with Mexico especially.

The first ever Under-21 Camp was held last April 20-24 at the National Training Session at Carson, CA.  Of the 21 players called-up, according to MLSsoccer.net’s Scott French, nearly half the member called up were  Hispanic-Americans (10 of 21).  Because it did not fall on a FIFA calendar date, the camp only had MLS and Liga MX players.  What is the U-21 version of Camp Cupcake?  Camp Mini-Cupcake?  Camp Cupcake Bite?

The Hispanic-American players include Benji Joya, Juan Pablo Ocegueda, Oscar Sorto, Alejandro Guido, Stevie Rodriguez, Daniel Cuevas, Danny Garcia, Victor Pineda, Jose Villarreal, and Luis Gil who had to pull out with an injury.  Players like Juan Agudelo Julian Green, John Brooks, Josh Gatt, etc were not called in as they are in Europe and clubs were not required to release them.

The team is lead by Tab Ramos, but as tech director Klinnsman would oversee/dictate style and player targeting.   At the time of the camp announcement, Ramos gave an interview to US Soccer.com discussing the plans for the camp and the U-21 team.  “One of the things that is important for us that we wanted to do is get the Olympic-aged players, which is the ’93s this year – and it happens to be an Under-21 – we wanted to get them involved as close as possible with the first-team staff.”

The Mexican-American players in the USSF pool are for the most part very young.  The option of actively choosing to play for the US over Mexico is very much a new thing with this young generation. Often it was players before who were not considered good enough to play for Mexico, who ended up playing for the US as fallback position.

It is clear that USSF and Klinnsman as technical director has a longterm vision that is being implemented in a methodical way.  While it is true the draw, changed everything and sped up certain aspects of the planning.  The long term, structural plan remains in place and continues to be built, brick, by brick and yes those Hispanic-American players are a huge part of that development.

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