The United States men’s national soccer team has struggled since the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has pointed his finger squarely at his players.
Following Tuesday’s 4-1 loss against Ireland, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann blasted his players’ failure to recover from the emotional and physical strain of the 2014 World Cup. Team USA has won one, drawn two and lost two of the five games it has played since last summer’s tournament, and Klinsmann said the dry spell is the result of his players’ loss of form at club level.
“They have to learn emotionally how to digest a World Cup, and a lot of our players really had big problems digesting those extreme emotions,” Klinsmann said, according to the Associated Press. “They dropped 20, 30 even 40 percent in performances in their club environment. Many of the Europeans lost their starting spot. Many other players in MLS or wherever went down 30, 40 percent in their performances and this is because they didn’t know how to deal with all these emotions and all that recognition and all the compliments in the world that came after the World Cup.”
While Klinsmann describes this “human nature” as “understable,” he contrasted American players with the sport’s superstars, who haven’t missed a beat since returning to their clubs.
“You see a Cristiano Ronaldo, a (Lionel) Messi, they make three weeks’ vacation, they go back in their club teams and they rock the boat,” Klisnmann said. “They play like they didn’t go on vacation. “Our players, they went on vacation, they had a good time, they come back and they lost their spots in their clubs.”
The United States will break camp for the year and won’t play another game before the end of January at the earliest. While Klinsmann will have time to step back and take stock until then, his European-based players (and some MLS ones) won’t have that luxury.
Thumbnail photo by Peter Morrison/The Associated Press