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US Soccer – Now What

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Nov 21, 2016

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Let me start this off by saying that the views I’m about to offer are mine. I don’t want to speak for the other fine gents that run this site, but I wanted to say something about what is happening with US Soccer right now.

As we all know, Jurgen Klinsmann has been fired. And whether or not you agree with that decision, I think it had to be made. I don’t think I need to get into JK’s record and what he has done, and specifically what has transpired recently. But the fact is, things needed to change. And there isn’t much time to make changes given the timeframe of the Hex and trying to qualify for the World Cup. The US doesn’t have another qualifier until March, so there is a small window of time to bring someone new in and try to make the changes that need to be made. Be that personnel, tactics or just recalibrating the mood within the team. And all of these things need some work.

Bruce Arena is probably the best person to right this ship. He sure as shit won’t be everybody’s choice. There will be lots of chatter about how this proves that US Soccer is moving backwards. That we’re regressing and that change needs to be made, especially at the top of the Federation. And some of those things may be true. But, and this is a big but… We need a coach who can deal with what he is inheriting with the current situation. And the current situation is pretty messed up. Zero points after two games in the Hex and sitting in last place is a daunting scenario to be faced with. So we need a manager who knows the Hex. Who knows what the next year or so is going to look like. Someone who players respect. A coach that respects the players and won’t throw shade at the domestic guys merely for playing in MLS. The shortlist of coaches with those qualities is well….really short.

So here is to Bruce Arena righting the ship and getting the US to the World Cup.

Now, finding the guy to address the short term issues needs to be addressed first. And it seems like that is happening. But let’s talk longer term. Two, three even ten years out. Bruce is not the guy that takes the program forward. I’m not even sure he would want to be that guy. Regardless, the longer term solution needs to be as much of a focus as the short term solution. Personally, and again, these are just my thoughts, I think we need a coach who understands US players, who understands the system here and who is most definitely a forward thinking coach. That most likely means someone who has played, or played and coached, in MLS. Again, a relatively short list of people. I think there are a few of those guys that have those qualities and could take the team forward.

Look at some of the more exciting coaches around the world. They are a bit younger, they play systems that are modern and they connect with players in ways that maybe some of their predecessors didn’t or no longer do. And they are getting results and shaking up the game. We need some of that in our lives and in our USMNT program.

We can pontificate on names and go back and forth and no doubt that is going to happen. So I’m going to throw my choice in, even though it is literally hours after Jurgen was let go. I think Bruce is the short term solution and I think Oscar Perea would be an incredible option to look at long term. What he has built in Dallas with young players, the type of soccer that they play and the effort that he gets out of his players is incredible. He understands American players. He understands the league. I think he would be dynamic in this role and would shake things up. And I am all for those things.

In the meantime, Bruce is going to have a big job to do. But I think he is up for the task. Or at least as up for it as anyone else we could bring in. And as American soccer fans, we need him right now. We need change and we need to make sure and handle the business of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

Side note –  when he brings in Landon as part of his coaching staff… Just wait for the response from the American soccer audience.

March is not that far away. The tasks ahead are challenging and I’ll be cautiously optimistic that the new staff and players get more things right than wrong in the coming months. Changes needed to happen and now the job of sorting things out needs to start.

Let’s chat again about this in March…

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