Posted January 10, 2014

Mailbag: Bradley-to-Toronto FC, U.S. national team and more

Bob Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Colorado Rapids, English Premier League, Grant Wahl, Jurgen Klinsmann, Landon Donovan, Manchester City, Manchester United, Michael Bradley, MLS, Qatar, Toronto FC, U.S. men's national team, U.S. Soccer

Chris Klute

Colorado Rapids left back Chris Klute (right) is one of the players trying to earn a late U.S. ticket to the World Cup. (Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA Today Sports)

How open is Jurgen Klinsmann to taking a new player on the USMNT in top form to Brazil? Wondering if Mike Magee can Buddle his way onto the team.

@glancinghdr

If I had to pick one new January camp player who could break into the senior team and go to Brazil, it would probably be left back Chris Klute. It’s a position where the U.S. has been thin, and Klute showed a ton of promise last season with Colorado. I like the way he gets down the field to deliver crosses and defensively he’s pretty good too. The guy who discovered Klute, Eric Wynalda, told me last summer that he thought Klute was already the best left back the U.S. had produced, and while I think that’s getting ahead of ourselves, the potential is there.

Another Wynalda/Klute story: When Wynalda was observing Klute with Atlanta, he said he noticed that Klute ate oatmeal for breakfast and didn’t put any sugar on it, and that was when his eyes were opened to the kid. Now look where he is.

Is Bob Bradley going to bring any U.S. players to his new gig at Stabæk in Norway?

Jon-Claud Nix, Corning, N.Y.

I asked Bradley that question, and here’s his reply: “We’ll see about U.S. players. For a player who wants a first step in Europe it could work. Creativity on a small budget will be important.”

By the way, it remains a colossal bummer that Bradley and Egypt drew Ghana in the African qualifying playoffs and weren’t able to make it all the way to Brazil. It’s clear that Bradley had a huge impact on many of his Egyptian players, including Mohamed Elneny of Basel, who doesn’t speak much English but went to the trouble to send Bradley this text recently (unedited):

“Hi mr pop, it’s Mohammed el neny. I just want to tell you that i’m so proud to be under your leadership. You made a great favor for what i achieved. I learned alot from you’r great experience. Unfortunately we lost you and all of egyptians lost a great coach like you. Honestly you are the best coach came to train our national team God bless you sir”

What is a good book for learning more about the game in terms of strategy? What about from a fan’s perspective?

@SarahR

For strategy, Jonathan Wilson’s Inverting the Pyramid. For fandom, Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch.

As of now, who do you foresee finishing top four in the Premier League?

@PuraVidaChris

Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, (deep breath) Manchester United.

Can you please talk about the potential of promotion/relegation in America?

@CRMelan

I’d love to see it someday when the club game is on firmer footing here, but I don’t think it’s realistic right now when many MLS teams are still losing money. Why would any prospective new owner risk the money to become one if the team could get relegated from the top division?

Has the USMNT considered changing its World Cup training base to reduce travel times during the tournament?

@hotelwellermgmt

Nope, and it won’t happen. Despite having group-stage games in the northeast (Natal, Recife) and the Amazon (Manaus), the U.S. will still stay in São Paulo and train at São Paulo FC.

Which brings us to:

THIS WEEK’S MOVIE REC

Neighboring Sounds. Last week I put out a Twitter query asking for the best Brazilian films of the past three years, and several people recommended this one, which is available on Netflix streaming. It was a good call. The film is set in Recife, where the U.S. will play Germany, and it provides a look at how the neighbors in a fast-growing city deal with each other. What’s more, there’s confirmation in the film of something I first heard over dinner in Rio last month with a couple friends: You shouldn’t go into the water on the beaches at Recife due to the potential for shark attacks. Sharks in Recife are no joke.


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22 comments
tonyofanfield
tonyofanfield

he should have stayed in Germany. his move to Toronto is about money. Pure and simple


MichaelC
MichaelC

You gotta play at the highest level during your prime. 


MLS will NEVER surpass the major European leagues - La Liga, Bundesliga, and Premier League - with baseball, football, and basketball (and their lucrative network contracts and mega-marketing/branding push) around on American soil. And if there's no Champions League at the end of the tunnel, what's the point?


Bradley is now playing for a bad squad with mediocre talent around him. Congrats. Now you're in a league that is a bell curve - youngsters looking to prepare for European careers on one end, old-timey "name" players looking for a cash grab on the other, and a bulk of lower-quality personnel in the middle. 


Hopefully Bradley will be loaned out (like Dempsey recently) to another club overseas.

RomarioDelLago
RomarioDelLago

Who cares what Klinzy thinks, really?  Players need to do what's best for them and their families.  Furthermore, we need to grow our own league, too.  Screw worrying about him.  Do what you think is best...it's your career, guys.  Congrats to Demps and Bradley!!!

pamperofirpo
pamperofirpo

Klinsmann is right on the money. The best USA players need to be playing in the best leagues...especially the EPL. The MLS is a joke relative to the major European leagues. Sad, but true. Bradley is a fool to move to the MLS...as was Dempsey.

stabmasterarson21
stabmasterarson21

Don't see how MLS teams can afford these crazy Euro-style transfer fees and hope to stay in biz.

Davos1
Davos1

Oh no, America might become a soccer power and have a world class league with highly paid world class players. We can't have that. Europe! Europe! Europe! Europe is the center of the soccer universe...until one day it is not.

I for one welcome our American MLS overlords and American soccer players making huge coin without having to leave for the old world. Suck it Europe.

MarcoBastian
MarcoBastian

FIFA and Blatter need to be sued by more than the TV networks. Everyone who is affected by this arbitrary change in contract dates, physically or monetarily needs to join the law suit.

RickPotts
RickPotts

@MichaelC Playing somewhere beats sitting in a premier league especially in a run up to the WC.  When playing time is the goal and no "premier" teams are knocking, you gotta do what you gotta do.  All these armchair analyst know exactly what he should do without knowing all the surrounding circumstances.  

JoelHardman
JoelHardman

@MichaelC Couldn't you make a similar argument that the NBA could never be the premier basketball league in the world while the NFL and MLB exist?

AF Whigs
AF Whigs

@pamperofirpo:  It's a double-edged sword, or whatever similar cliche you'd like to use.  I firmly side with Klinsmann for the most part.  I don't have anything against MLS, and yes, we all know it's an inferior league to those in Europe, but still, I'm sure glad we have it.  The longer MLS stays around the stronger it will become. 

But...and it's a BIG but...I think for the majority of the American public, the primary way that soccer is going to grow in this country is through success in the World Cup.  The only way our players are going to develop to a high level is by playing in Europe.  At the same time it's obviously good for MLS to have these players play domestically at some point in their careers once they're established.

I always felt that Dempsey should've stayed at Fulham where he was a star and guaranteed playing time - plus he was helping a smaller club stay up in the Premier League - not that that is a great reason to stay.  But it just seemed like he fit there (and perhaps we're seeing that that's the case now with his loan). 


RickPotts
RickPotts

@Davos1 You are my new favorite poster!  F**k Europe.  We do it our way here.  The US doesn't follow Europe in anything.  Why should we in soccer?

spikevicious
spikevicious

@MarcoBastian 

Then sue Qatar too for buying themselves a WC.  Everyone knows how Blatter and his FIFA cartel operate, kickbacks and back scratching.  Why is anyone surprised?  Magical open-air cooling technology?  For realz?

AF Whigs
AF Whigs

@spikevicious@MarcoBastian:  Yeah, FIFA and the IOC just need to come out in the open and say "OK, who wants it next?  Ante up and make your best offer - most loot wins!"