United States men’s national soccer team coach Jurgen Klinsmann spelled out the strengths and weakness of American players, who are trying to reach the highest levels of the global game.
Klinsmann said in an interview with FIFA.com on Sunday that U.S. national team players are willing students overall but must improve their tactical understanding of the game in order to better compete with the powers of the soccer world.
“The players are open minded and hungry,” Klinsmann said when asked about the best qualities of American players. “They want to learn. They are like sponges. They are good listeners.”
Klinsmann was brutally honest when asked about their limitations but also said they are progressing toward the highest level.
“Reading the game ahead is something we still need to work on,” Klinsmann said. “Tactically understanding certain elements like playing a high line and shifting quickly from defense to attack and back again. Staying always connected with each other. The mental alertness, to not switch off — this still needs work.
“But this comes with experience and competition. So the more experience and competition they get, the faster it will come. The more they will become consistent. It’s only matter of time before these areas get better, too. We will catch up. The positives are outweighing the negatives. The game is on the rise in America.”
Klinsmann is well into his second FIFA World Cup cycle as Team USA’s head coach and he has set lofty (and far-fetched) goals for his team at the 2018 World Cup.
Team USA players must progress in all facets of the game in order to reach those heights, and their desire to improve represents a good starting point in the long process.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@FIFAcom
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