Posted October 10, 2013

Jurgen Klinsmann discusses his desire to stay, a possible England friendly and more

2014 World Cup, England national team, Jurgen Klinsmann, U.S. men's national team, World Cup qualifying
Though the competition is open, Brad Evans holds the starting job at right back.

Though the competition is open, Brad Evans holds the starting job at right back for now. (Cal Sport Media via AP)

SI.com: There has been a lot of interest in who your starting fullbacks might be in Brazil. You’ve done a lot to create competition at every position on the field. Who do you see as the main competitors for the right back position in Brazil?

Klinsmann: Well, the front man is Brad Evans right now. He established himself as the number one in that spot. Then there are other players behind. We haven’t counted out Michael Parkhurst, who’s trying to find a solution [to club playing time] in the winter break. Steve Cherundolo is back training with his team this week. Timothy Chandler is still there. Geoff Cameron, we look more at him as an emergency helper. He’s playing [right back] at Stoke and does very well, and we watch him there, but it’s not his natural position. His natural position is a center back role. So this is an open race, but right now we feel very comfortable with Brad Evans in that position. We might try something out the next couple days, but he looks strong right now.

Left back is similar. I think DaMarcus Beasley deserves that front man role, absolutely. We can always bring Fabian Johnson back [from left midfield] if we want to. I think Fabian in a left winger role is a weapon with his speed, with how he reads the game, with how he puts people into position. And also other ones like maybe Edgar Castillo gets a chance in the upcoming two games. He has improved his game, has stepped it up with Tijuana, becoming a starter there. He’s getting games week in and week out. You see that, and his confidence is getting bigger and bigger. We try to build the competition that is there, but Beasley still looks 21 today!

SI.com: Clint Dempsey is set to play for Seattle [on Wednesday night]. He’s not here due to injury. Are you O.K. with the way Seattle handled this with him not coming here?

Klinsmann: Yeah. I was in touch with Sigi [Schmid, Seattle coach] and Clint. We had long talks. This is the best thing we wanted to have. He couldn’t make it for the last weekend. I said I can’t bring you in here right now and build you toward a game. I don’t know if you have an hour or 45 minutes [in you]. You haven’t played since our last game, really. It makes more sense that you build your base now with Seattle, get as many games as you can and also training sessions, and we’ll see you back in November. So I’m happy he’s playing tonight. We didn’t know last week how fast he could make it back. All we knew last week is he hasn’t really played a game since the Mexico game. That’s not enough for our level.

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SI.com: How do you plan to organize the pre-World Cup camp and the last friendlies before the World Cup?

Klinsmann: We plan it that obviously once the European season is done we want to get into camp as quickly as possible, which means pretty much immediately after May 12. And then find a base here in the U.S. where we can train very focused and climate-wise in a fresh climate where we don’t have to compromise any workload we want to do. That excludes Florida, for example! We want to get them through a very demanding training regime over two to three weeks and then play the friendly games the way they lead us up to Brazil eight to 10 days prior to our first game in Brazil, which we’ll know only on Dec. 6. That maybe gives us also the chance to play a friendly there like Bob [Bradley] did in South Africa. That worked out very well. So we’re trying something similar like that. Hopefully having three sendoff games here in the U.S. and then another one in Brazil and then build that foundation you badly need to succeed down there.

SI.com: You mentioned Florida. England is considering staying in Miami for a bit before the World Cup. Their coach, Roy Hodgson, visited Miami a while back. Have you talked to England about a potential U.S.-England friendly before the World Cup?

Klinsmann: Yep. We’re in talks with them (laughs).

SI.com: Have any other teams come up as potential friendly opponents pre-World Cup?

Klinsmann: No. We’ll have a lot of conversations down at the draw. I’m in touch already with several coaches, and they all say we need to know who we’ll face, what opponent we’d like. If we get a South American team, we badly want a South American team. If we get an African team, we badly want to play an African team. That’s what they look at, and we take it from there. So it’ll be a very busy couple days in Bahia.

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8 comments
SamuZlsp
SamuZlsp

I don't think it is a good idea USA soccer team have choosen São Paulo Futebol Clube training center to stay because there is a tradition here in Brazil that the team that stays in São Paulo Futebol Clube training center always is defeated by the team that stays in Sport Club Corinthians Paulista training center. If you guys from America are really smart, I will let you know that Iram will be in the Sport Club Corinthians Paulista facilities and possibly will have a support of 35 millions of Corinthians fans, because we always want São Paulo Futebol Clube loose, even in this kind of situation, the rivality is high. 

Michael4
Michael4

I loved how Klinsy deflected the vague suggestion of Seattle shenanigans on the Dempsey issue (one that's been voiced by a good number of MLS fans). Very blunt, very German.

It goes to show how a real soccer mind works, and how rational thinking trumps conspiracy theories.

Coctostan
Coctostan

Mr. Wahl, that was an excellent, to the point interview. Klinsmann seems like a good interview who isn't afraid to speak his mind. His honesty in the answer to the US chances at the WC was pretty interesting. 

I think Bradley was a good coach that had taken the US as far as his approach could. I think Klinsmann has built well upon that even as he sort of "blew things up". I'd love to see the US give him a few WC's to try to make a long term impact. He certainly seems to have the interest and vigor to build something here.

eric.reiser.3
eric.reiser.3

I love having thus guy in charge of our National Team.  Go Go USA!

M20
M20

SI.com: For a few reasons you haven’t had the chance to cap-tie John Brooks to the U.S. yet. Are you fully confident he has chosen the U.S. over Germany?

Klinsmann: Yeah. Fully confident.

That was the best thing I've heard all day.

The fact that Cameron is a natural centerback is irrelevant. He can be a natural centerback and still be (possibly) the best option at right back. I mean, he only starts there every week for one of the best defensive teams in the toughest league in the world.

"If we get a South American team, we badly want a South American team. If we get an African team, we badly want to play an African team." - Very smart. Glad to see he's thinking this way.

Ryan19
Ryan19

@M20 I would like to see Cameron end up taking over the CDM position.  I've never been a big fan of Jermaine Jones.  He gets caught up way too often and is a red-card waiting to happen.  Beckerman plays the ball back too much for my liking.  I think Cameron would do a great job supporting Bradley.  He won't get caught out of position, but he is also good enough on the ball to help start the attack.  Although in truth I would love to see Bradley drop back to that spot if Mix can become a solid option at CAM.  

KenKing
KenKing

@Ryan19 @M20 Unfortunately, there is no way that JK loses his German man crush on JJ this cycle. I agree, however, that Cameron belongs in that spot today. But after WC 2014, I definitely see Bradly behind Diskerud. I wish that we could see those two in a WC while Donovan is still around, but I suspect Donovan will be gone after this WC.