Jurgen Klinsmann gathers his squad before training at RFK Stadium on Thursday. (U.S. Soccer photo)

Earlier, I posted a formal story about Jurgen Klinsmann and the U.S. national soccer team ahead of the Peru friendly Friday at RFK Stadium.

Here are additional excerpts from the conversation …

On the Gold Cup disappointment

“I was very upset with what happened in the Gold Cup — the whole sequence to sequence from game one to the last game with Panama. There was a certain amount of anger. A big problem hanging over us is called CONCACAF. We don’t want to blame anybody. I am not blaming the referees, but I’m just telling you, the referees had a huge influence on the outcome of the Gold Cup. So now the next time there is a questionable call, the cloud will again get darker. This is not a good feeling for the Mexican coach, for the Panamanian coach, for us. This was a Gold Cup settled by decisions that were very, very questionable, and it builds up a lot of question marks for this one-off game” against Mexico next month.

“It was just too much. You thought it was too much [in the U.S. loss to Jamaica], and then you watch the next game [Panama vs. Mexico] and it got even worse. So you go into this one-off game [in October], and there’s a huge cloud — for both teams. It’s not good for the region, it’s not good for the game, it’s not good for anybody on both teams. …

“There is a cloud above us. And above that CONCACAF cloud is another cloud [FIFA]. That is uncomfortable for everybody involved in the game. You don’t know what to expect in a game. We can prepare the team the best way possible and we don’t know what to expect really from other influences.”

On the possibility of widespread roster changes after the friendlies and before Mexico, aside from DaMarcus Beasley and Fabian Johnson returning from injury

“This is the core group. This is it. This is the group that decides if we go to Russia a year before the World Cup.”

On D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid’s absence from the national team

“Both young keepers [Hamid and Chicago’s Sean Johnson] are still going through ups and downs — physically with injuries and also with performance. Billy has some days he is phenomenal and then the next day, ‘Oh, I have an injury, I’m out.’ It’s a workload they are going through. For a goalkeeper, the most important thing is consistency week in and week out.

“It’s also applying your game we ask you to play to your club, if possible: speed up things, play quickly out of the back, come out of your box if you need to close the gap toward your backline – things we want to see. If they don’t do that in their club environment, it doesn’t make it easy for them coming back to our environment. With Sean over Billy [in this window], the schedule was better.

“We try to keep them connected, but really they haven’t gotten closer to the top two guys [Tim Howard and Brad Guzan] at all. [William] Yarbrough is in a similar situation. The reality is there are two big stars and Nick Rimando is always the backup because he gives 100 percent seriousness and is a team guy. The goalkeeping situation hasn’t changed at all for almost four years, and we’ve given the youngsters many, many chances.”

On whether he’s afraid the centennial Copa America will not take place next year because of alleged ties to the FIFA scandal

“Yes, we fear and don’t know. Since they arrested people, things are very questionable with UEFA, FIFA. They postponed the election until February, which is unbelievable. So there’s a CONCACAF cloud and then there is even a bigger cloud above that – different altitude levels. World football is in question. It’s shaky. So many doubts out there. We badly hope it’s happening. For us, it would be a tremendous learning experience. It’s a great challenge. Just to get your players through that experience is huge. Every day we wonder if something else will explode or more truth comes to the surface, which we all hope. It’s a global issue.”

On whether he’s upbeat about American soccer’s future

“The amount the game is played now, and kids discovering soccer is their game, is definitely upbeat. The way the game is educated, told, driven, we are still far away from real soccer nations. The biggest educational problem is people think it’s a coaches’ game in the United States. It’s not. It’s a players’ game. There’s too much emphasis on telling people what to do. If the teaching part is too big, you will only have players who react to what the teacher or coache tells them. I am looking for personalities. I am looking for players that drive the game. I am looking for them to step itup and say they can do this. I hope to see more. No matter whether they are playing in Europe or Mexico or MLS, we hope to see more of them take the game in their hands, so now you go to the next level, wherever they play, we wish to have an influence on the way the game is being communicated. I purposely don’t say the way it’s being ‘taught.’ I say ‘being communicated.’ We need people to understand the players have to drive it, take initiative, make decisions and get it to another level, and then you [as a coach] are a guide on the outside and you can help. You need them to understand, ‘I can give you all the information I can, but I’m not going to score the goals for you. You have to go in there and beat the [heck] out of defenders and put the ball in the net and figure it out yourself.’

“Over the years, I have observed, if I see games [at all levels], there is always a tendency of players to look and say, ‘What should we do?’ So this transition from a reactive mentality to a let’s-do-it, proactive mentality, it’s still not there. We see examples where players start to drive it more. Players like Michael Bradley. Gyasi [Zardes] might be an example. Gyasi is a very bright talent. He drives his career. He is driving his ambitions. There is more dynamics from the players’ side. Still, here and there, I see there are setbacks. At the end of the day, they need to implement it, they need to drive it. Here, soccer is still in a reactive mode. We’re not getting out of that reactive mode and getting into the proactiveness to take that final step and get into the top 10-15 in the world. These nations do not react to us. They go out and play their game no matter who is the opponent.”

On whether he has grown frustrated with the process

“I wouldn’t call it frustration; it’s just reality. At the same time, it gives you an extra push of motivation to say, ‘Well, we are not there yet and have a lot of work to do.’ That inspires you. For me, it’s fun to talk to coaches. Tab Ramos has done a tremendous job with the Under-20s to bring that message to go out and challenge the bigger nations. They lost to the world champions [Serbia] on penalties. It’s kind of a change of culture to say, ‘We’ve got to take this game to the opponent and start to go face to face.’ You might have a specific game where you have to play more defensively because Brazil comes next week. We’re not stupid either. But in general, we preach the message to the U-17s [for the World Cup in Chile next month]. It will build huge momentum for us because that’s what we instill in them over two years: ‘You can take the game to them, you are good enough, you have enough talent to play in a very difficult group [Croatia, Chile and Nigeria].’ That is where you want to see the progress.

“For me, I understand the differences between the different countries, the different pools coaches pull players from — I understand the German pool, the Dutch pool, Brazil, Argentina. I know the limits that we have, but we need more drive to say, ‘Hey, let’s figure out a different way to get the message across.’ ”

On a lighter note, Klinsmann’s memories of helping Germany recover from a 3-0 halftime deficit for a 3-3 draw against Brazil at RFK in the 1993 U.S. Cup

“It was embarrassing at halftime. We thought they were going to get a half-dozen. We thought, ‘How do we get out of here?’ It was brutally hot. We couldn’t deal with the heat. Somehow, we found a way to get back into the game.” (Klinsmann scored in the 66th and 89th minutes.)