Two days before his U.S. coaching debut against Mexico in Philadelphia, Juergen Klinsmann shared a few thoughts with a handful of reporters after a light session at the University of Pennsylvania:
General feelings after the first training sessions.....
“It’s a wonderful start. It’s a good spirit. Everybody is excited, obviously having a big opportunity to play Mexico. The first game, as a start, is something that is very special because it’s one of those teams that is definitely on the rise the last couple years with a tremendous amount of good young players and are playing wonderful football. We’re looking forward to it and excited about the opportunity.”
Is it too soon for a new coach with his new group to play Mexico?
“It’s never too soon to play a really good team. That’s what you want to do in order to grow, in order to improve your team and give them the best experience possible. If you could play Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, those are the games you want to play. Or go overseas to Europe and play the best you can in order to improve your program. That’s what you’re trying to do.”
For much more.....
Thoughts about calling in Edgar Castillo.....
“A player like Castillo, or Orozco or Torres, they already are on the radar screen the last couple of years and they were observed, they were watched by a lot of different coaches and I made many, many phone calls before I put together the roster. Those are big talents. We want to see that talent, we want to make them comfortable in the middle of the U.S. team, and then start a process step by step. It doesn’t have to come overnight. We want to get a feeling for them. We want to see their attitude and interest to learn.”
What is the greatest challenge coming into this situation on short notice and having to face a Mexican team in great form?
“It’s a typical challenge for a national team coach when your players play on the weekend, especially overseas. You just make the best out of it. You need obviously more time, but you use the time in a lot of conversations with the players and you start analyzing things, you want to get a profile of each player to understand them better. It comes one step at a time; you can’t speed up the process. The whole group is excited that we can play Mexico and we can measure ourselves again. There is a lot of respect for the Mexican side, the special side that they have built over the last years, but we start to build something special as well.”
What are your thoughts about MLS?
“There are so many good pieces coming together now and that’s why I’m really excited about my opportunity to coach this U.S. team. You have an MLS league that is growing and becoming more competitive, that is getting stronger, that is doing everything to improve the game. Are we there yet? No, we’re not. We still have a long way to go, but we’re working through that process and you see all the academies coming through on the youth level. A lot has been done the last couple years now. It’s up to us to raise it to another level.”
What will you bring to the job that might be different from your predecessor, Bob Bradley?
“I’m certainly a different kind of coach than any other coach out there because every coach has his own philosophy, his own character and mentality. What I am trying to do is help the players hopefully to get to their next level. This is my job and I think I have talent in doing that. I respect everything that has been done by the people before me. There is a very good base here, there is a foundation that has been built and now it’s up to me to put another level on that foundation.”
What’s most important to you in this Mexico friendly?
“What we would like to see from a coaching perspective is really that they are enjoying that game, that they give a positive attitude to it, that they give the right spirit, that they really express themselves and work as a team and challenge that Mexican side. We want to see them entertain the crowd and give the best that they have, then we’ll see result-wise what comes out of it. The goal always has to be beating your opponent and being confident to do that and reaching your limits. If they go toward that direction reaching their limits, then we will be satisfied.”
USA notes: I’m hearing that Jesse Marsch, a Bradley assistant coach on last year’s World Cup squad who wasn’t expected to return to the national team staff, is the top choice to become head coach of Montreal for its MLS inaugural season in 2012. An announcement is expected Wednesday. Marsch, 37, was a reserve midfielder on D.C. United’s first squad in 1996 before playing for Bradley in Chicago and later joining Chivas USA as part of a 14-year career.