Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Jurgen Klinsmann: My (Quarterfinal) Verdict

You (hic) wanna know...he'sh an asshhole.

Now that I have flogged every side of the debate over the ongoing tenure of U.S. Men's National Team (USMNT) head coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, I feel ready to hang up the entire debate until after this summer's Gold Cup (some more, minimal sniping here). What appears below is intended as a sort of final statement on what has become a sort of wallowing in the froth generated by Klinsmann’s "fitness" comment.  After this post, I fully intend to follow the pledge outlined below:
I hereby promise to refrain from discussing Jurgen Klinsmann's fitness for either of his jobs, as the result of any future event, result, quote or circumstance, of whatever nature, THROUGH the final whistle of this summer's Gold Cup final, without reservation or reference to any clause, visible or invisible, contained in my head, or committed to any surface of any kind in writing, including but not limited to, personal notebooks or bar napkins.
So, where do I feel like things are with Dear Jurgen?

There is no more polarizing figure in U.S. soccer today than Klinsmann. Only Landon Donovan comes remotely close and, to put a figure on it, I think his favorable/unfavorable breaks around 80/20. Klinsmann’s, on the other hand, probably splits shockingly close to 50/50. I also think he was closer to 60/40 prior to the whole "fitness" kerfuffle.

For what it's worth, I think these are "naked" opinions – as in, you'll only get numbers like that if fans and observers feel compelled to provide an up-or-down opinion. It's like I think this way because that's how I think of Klinsmann.

My final verdict on the Man of Our Moment goes something like this: I believe in project of improving the culture of soccer in the United States and for improving the USMNT's tactical sophistication, flexibility and, if necessary, our players' collective and individual fitness. I also don't think Klinsmann’s the right guy for the job. Who is? No idea. I am, however, prepared to be very flexible in that regard. And, yes, I stand by the idea I posted last week about retaining Klinsmann as technical director and hiring some other qualified candidate to act as head coach. And, yeah, we could probably do worse for a coach, too. Look, can we all just agree it's complicated.

In brief, then, yes to what the U.S. Soccer Federation is attempting, no to Klinsmann as the guy to do it.

All right, that’s it. No more on this till after the Gold Cup. The completely thrilling and successful Gold Cup.

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