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US National Team
Jeff Maurer's Soccer Blog
Thursday, 7 December 2006
Topic: US National Team

  Jurgen Klinsmann will not be the next coach of the U.S. National Team. Damn it. That sucks. He's definitely the guy I wanted. He really seemed to have just about everything you'd want.

  Apparently, Klinsmann and US Soccer didn't disagree about money so much as "executive control." I have no idea what that means. Control over what? I don't know nearly enough about the actual job of being a national team coach to imagine what issues executive control covers. But I hope the US Soccer weighed the value of having the optimal coach with too much control against the value of having a sub-opitimal coach with the right amount of control.

  Chivas USA coach Bob Bradley is the interim coach. The search must be going really poorly if we're six months in and have to name an interim coach just to get through our January friendlies. Bob Bradley is a good coach, but if you're going to go with a quality MLS coach who doesn't have much of a reputation outside of the US, why not just stick with Bruce Arena? The down side of any American coach is that they can't help but internalize a lot of the conventional wisdom about the team. I like the idea of bringing in someone with a fresh perspective who might challenge some of the orthodoxy surrounding this team. I'd like to see someone ask: "Would a 4-3-3 suit this team?" Or "Does Damarcus Beasley really deserve a spot on this team right now?" Even if the answers to those questions are "no" and "yes," I'd like to see someone brought in who'd be willing to re-evaluate the whole program.

  If Jose Peckerman ends up getting the job, I'm going to be pissed. When I think of Jose Peckerman, I think of Lionel Messi on the bench. Messi on the bench versus Germany in the World Cup, and Messi on the bench versus the US in the first game of the U-20 championships. Argentina lost both of those games. Who leaves Messi on the bench? And who inserts Julio Cruz - a striker - when you're trying to hold a 1 goal lead? I'm not going to judge a coach on a few games alone, but it certainly does raise questions about his competence. And, yes, he's had tons of success at the youth level, but it's not like he had that success with Lichtenstein. That would be impressive. Coaching success, in my mind, is not proved by results alone. People always say Joe Torre is a great coach, and he may be, but I could have coached that '98 team to a World Series. Successful coaches shouldn't get credit unless we can point to specific things about their technique and decisions that suggest that they maximized the team's potnetial. The same goes for Peckerman. As it stands, I have seen no evidence that would convince me that he is a good coach.

Posted by jeffmaurer1980 at 1:58 PM EST
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