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Jurgen Klinsmann

Jurgen Klinsmann Camp Update: ‘You Have to Rise to the Occasion’


U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann spent time with reporters following training at The Home Depot Center, fielding a host of questions as the team continues the preparation camp for the Jan. 29 game against Canada at BBVA Compass Stadium (TICKETS) and the World Cup qualifier on Feb. 6 in Honduras.

U.S. Men's National Team Head Coach JURGEN KLINSMANN

On whether Graham Zusi, Geoff Cameron and others are examples for younger players on how the January camp can be a stepping stone with the National Team:
“Yes, absolutely, if it’s Graham Zusi, if it’s Geoff Cameron or others. In the past when Bob Bradley and Bruce Arena were coaching this program, many have evolved through the January camp and we hope the same thing. We want to see them taking that opportunity, stepping it up and proving to us that they’re ready for the next level. Some were with us already last year and some are brand new. We are thrilled Omar Gonzalez is now with us. We had him on our list a long time ago, and then his injury came and then his club involvement got really busy. Seeing him now in this group is really exciting for me.”

“They all have certain qualities, and we tell them that you are here because you’re good. Now our job is to make you understand that for the next level you have to get better. You have to rise to the occasion and show us that you want this with everything you have, so the attitude off the field is as important as the attitude on the field. So far, after about 10 days in camp, I have to say that they are really doing a great job.”

On altitude being a factor in choosing Colorado as the venue for the match against Costa Rica:

“It was a factor, but not a big factor. The most important thing for us is that we play in front of our home crowd, that we have total support from our fans, and we feel that Denver is the right place. But there are many, many locations in the U.S. that give us a great environment. We have seen that already over the last couple of years. Wherever the National Team is traveling we will get a huge backup by the fans. So we are sure that playing in Denver, this crucial game against Costa Rica, will gives us big support and big confidence. It will push us to get the three points, and certainly it helps a little bit to adjust early to altitude because we want to go to Mexico and win there as well.”

On expectations of Juan Agudelo:
“From every individual player we look at their qualities, what they give to us and how they want to continue their path. Juan’s had a difficult time with injuries, coming over to Chivas USA and leaving New York. His big dream has always been to play for the National Team, playing on an international stage, but he had to learn it only goes through hard work. We hope that he becomes more consistent, that his approach to the game is always very hungry. Obviously he is a striker, and a striker is measured overall on goals.”

On how Graham Zusi looks after training with West Ham United:
“He’s in very, very good shape. Graham obviously has a little advantage because he’s already done this before, and players that were already in a camp know now that you can’t com in unprepared. So he’s very well prepared and certain players you could see right from the beginning had given themselves a head start, which is normal. Players that haven’t experienced [a camp], they learn it now. If somebody’s a little bit physically behind, that’s OK. You have to catch up, you have to do extra work and we just tell them you can only get to another level if you work harder than your opponents. They all have a great approach and great attitude. It’s really fun working with the group, and we have a goal that we’re looking forward to with the group, which is the game against Canada on Jan. 29.”

On Will Bruin’s first camp:
“Will is a team player, is focused 24/7 and he’s a great finisher. We’re trying now to give him another level, a more fast-paced rhythm than what he’s used to - which is normal for a new player in a National Team environment - and he adjusted to it right away. So far he’s done really well.”

On the goalkeepers in camp and if there is a battle for the No. 3 spot in the National Team:

“Absolutely, it’s a constant battle. It’s a battle for spots no matter what position you’re talking about. With the goalkeeper situation, we have No. 1 Tim Howard undoubtedly. No. 2, we have Brad Guzan, and Nick Rimando is the No. 3. Nick is recovering from a shoulder injury. We want to see the next ones in line. We already have Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid, and having Tally Hall in here is great for us. He’s really a first-class goalkeeper in MLS, and there are many more out there. It gives us the opportunity to see them on a daily basis, to see them when they’re tired, to see them when they struggle and how fast they can recover, and how fast they can put a bad mistake behind themselves. For us, it’s a great learning time.”

On whether a domestic goalkeeper can challenge Tim Howard and Brad Guzan for top spots:
“I think with the far more consistent approach now in MLS with having 19 teams, having more games, having the stress of 40-45 first-team matches, it gives them consistency and gives them a far better balance than it ever did before. So why not have an MLS goalkeeper make it one day to the No. 1 in the U.S. Team? Absolutely.”

On the overall enthusiasm of this January camp:
“This camp is exciting. It’s no different than last year’s camp. We try to give players the opportunity to raise their game, give them the opportunity to show us what they have, and with that being said they are in charge of their careers, they are in charge of their next steps and if they show some great performances, if they stand out, it’s their jumping board to the next level. Everybody that is in camp is really in charge of his situation, so as coaches we help them to understand the next level, what it takes to get to the next level , but they have to do it.”
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