US SoccerUS Soccer
Jurgen Klinsmann

U.S. Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann Discusses the Initial 16-Player Training Camp Roster

Jurgen Klinsman Quote Sheet
U.S. Men’s National Team Training Camp
May 15, 2012

On the initial 16 players coming into camp:
“These guys that are coming have finished their season in the last two weeks or so. Most of them finished around the 5th or 6th of May, and those come in today. A few days later it’s mostly the UK guys because they finished a week later. What we tried to do with staggering the players coming in, we kind of follow their flow coming in from their clubs. We tried to have them stay in shape and stay in a rhythm as much as possible so that this break between finishing their club season is not too long and we can keep their fitness level up coming into our camp.”

On how pleased he is with the form of the players coming into this camp:
“I think it’s been something really outstanding in the last nine to 10 months what we have seen from a lot of players. They made a big step in their careers. They represented the U.S. team and the United States with a quality that we hadn’t seen before. Tim Howard is among the best five goalkeepers in the world. Clint Dempsey was voted the fourth-best player in the Premier League. Oguchi Onyewu plays for a very prestigious club and after being injured in his time at AC Milan now finally is getting consistency in one of the top teams in Portugal. Michael Bradley, who came after spells in Germany and England, broke into a very prestigious Italian club and became one of their leaders. And then we have younger players coming through the ranks that within one year have established themselves as starters on big clubs. That feeds more quality into our program and it’s also something that makes you proud because it goes hand in hand with what we’re doing. They understand their roles with their club team better and it’s just fun to watch that.”

On the attitude of the players coming into camp:
“It’s great to see how eager and hungry the players are to come into the National Team and they understand that the upcoming month is a very special month. There’s only one other time period that will be similar to this one, which is the summer of 2013, before you actually go into the real scenario of the 2014 World Cup after hopefully a successful qualification. The players understand that. There is a great sense out there for each other’s schedule and workload, and then they come together and they want to measure themselves with each other. It’s quite fun.”

On the status of Clint Dempsey:
“Clint has a minor groin injury which should be fine within the next couple of days. We’re going to take it a bit easy in the beginning, and from there we don’t expect any problems.”

On the exclusion of Timmy Chandler from the roster:
“I have had long conversations with Timmy about where he is in his professional career and his commitment to playing international football. He has expressed his appreciation for all the opportunities we have given him, but he also feels at this point he needs to take a break. It’s disappointing not having him as a part of the team at this important juncture of building our team, but ultimately a player must decide what is best for him. The door is certainly not closed on Timmy, but in the moment we move on without him.”

On what can be expected from the next group of players being called in May 20:
“It will be exciting on May 20 to have all our MLS players join camp, as well of some of the foreign-based guys who are finishing their commitments, because they are in a full run right now and they should all be really fit and they should be excited. Because of the different schedules for the season, it’s always a challenge for us because you want them all to be in top shape and be confident and feel like they’re ready for the competition. It’s going to be really exciting for us, for me personally and our coaching staff. It’s the first time we have our best players together for a longer stretch of time, which is why we put so much planning into this camp. A lot of work was being done before the players actually arrived that we hope the players will appreciate, but on the other hand we also expect them to work very, very hard now in the next four weeks.”

On the players coming in on different dates throughout the camp:
“Based on the fact that everybody is on a different schedule, you kind of deal with it almost on an individual basis. You can’t just say, ‘Everybody has to be here on May 15.’ You have to respect the club situation. Every club, at the end of the day, looks at it differently. And at every club the player plays a different role. It was great to see how we worked with MLS on this whole thing. On May 19, there is an entire match day for MLS, but on the other hand a lot of the Europeans are already here for five days, so we found a compromise to get them released on May 20. In every case, you talk to the player, you talk to the coach and you talk to the club. There is a lot of planning going into this whole process.”

On what the staff is looking for during the next four weeks:
“During the next four weeks, we want to see players stepping up and confirming what they achieved throughout the year, which has been becoming leaders in their clubs. We have five players now who are captains on their respective club teams. We want to see even more players become proactive, not looking only at the coaching staff to see what is expected, but that they actually sense what is next and take ownership of our program. At the end of the day, they will make the calls on the field and they will make the decisions, so we want to see that they bring into the camp an attitude of self-responsibility, being full of energy every day, and always being positive and excited about what we have ahead of us.”

On whether this is the group of players on which he is beginning to focus:
“Yes. All the players coming now for this very special four-week period represent our core. If tomorrow was the World Cup, this is the group that comes in for our World Cup roster. It’s a clear signal to other players that right now it’s down to business. We’re playing World Cup qualifiers. It’s not about experimenting or seeing different players, it’s about who we think are the best.”