Should Foreign Coaches Be Allowed?

Like many American soccer fans, I’m very excited with Juergen Klinsmann taking over the reigns of the U.S. national team. I was never a fan of Bob Bradley and am very happy to see Klinsmann agree to the job.

But this gets to a point I’ve always been a bit iffy on in soccer: Should national team coaches be allowed to come from a different country as the one they coach?

Klinsmann is German born, played for the German national team and coached the team as well. If all U.S. players must be Americans in order to play, shouldn’t Klinsmann have to be American in order to coach? Sure, FIFA has rules that allow teams to switch national teams (Jermaine Jones has dual-citizenship for the U.S. and Germany and chose the U.S. after playing three friendlies for Germany), but those rules don’t even exist for coaching.

Klinsmann doesn’t need to have American citizenship and doesn’t need to have any connection to the United States even. U.S. soccer president Sunil Gulati could hire Maradona tomorrow and under FIFA rules, that’s entirely acceptable.

Right now, England’s manager is Fabio Capello, an Italian. When he was introduced in 2010, FIFA president Sepp Blatter criticized the move, saying “I would say it is a little surprising that the motherland of football has ignored a sacrosanct law or belief that the national team manager should be from the same country as the players.”

Well Sepp, why isn’t it a rule? Why shouldn’t each soccer federation be comprised entirely of people born in that country – or at least with citizenship from that country? From players to trainers to coaches to scouts, everyone should be equal.

So while I am certainly excited about Klinsmann taking the job, it is tainted with a slight bad taste of a non-American coaching the team. Even so, that’s a rule Blatter should change and until then, I’m looking forward to Klinsmann bringing this team to its full potential.

USA Shocks Spain

us celebratesThe United States Men’s National Team needed an improbable 3-0 victory over Egypt and for Brazil to beat Italy 3-0 last Sunday afternoon. It happened. This time, all the US had to do was knock off #1 ranked Spain, who had not given up a goal all tournament, had won 15 games in a row, and had a 35 game unbeaten streak. They did that as well, beating the Spaniards 2-0 and advancing to the finals of the Confederations Cup.

In no way did the US outplay Spain. Spain had almost three times as many shots as the US (11-4) and had exactly three times as many corner kicks (9-3), but the US played the exact style necessary to win. Spain would have had 20 shots on goal, but the backline of Jay Demerit, Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu, and Jonathan Spector blocked chance after chance to prevent Spain from scoring. Every cross into the box the US had marked perfectly. Spain never had an open header or wide open shot. Everything was covered. The midfield came back extremely well, with the US always seeming to have 7 or 8 guys behind the ball. Continue reading “USA Shocks Spain”

US Must Do Better

The United States Men’s National Team escaped with a 2-1 victory over Honduras in Chicago today to put them solidly in second in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. However, the win socarlos bocanegraunds better than the actual quality of soccer the US put on the field. This team will no doubt qualify for the 2010 World Cup, but if they want any chance of shocking the world in 2010, they must play better.

The 35th ranked Honduras National Team scored just five minutes into the game and kept the US on their heels for much of the first half. Landon Donovan however, did knot the score at one on a penalty shot just a couple minutes  before halftime. The PK came after a Honduran defender touched a ball in the box. The call did not come from a great play from the United States where all Honduras could do to prevent a goal was to foul in the box. The call was off of a lucky bounce that hit a Honduran defender who had no pressure on him. A goal is a goal, but this one does not quite qualify as quality.

The US’s second goal came midway through the second half off a corner kick, which Donovan headed across the goal and Carlos Bocanegra finished off with a diving header. The goal came off of a set piece and a mess in the box. It was better than the first goal, but nonetheless, nothing special. Continue reading “US Must Do Better”