Spring Scouting Leading to Summer Rosters
As U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and the coaching staff continue to scout players in advance of the busy summer of World Cup qualifiers and the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the picture of what the rosters and schedule will look like are becoming clearer. Klinsmann answered questions on the scouting process, his approach to staying in contact with players and roster considerations.
May 8, 2013
© Bernd Feil/ISI Photos
On scouting weekend performances of National Team players:
“Obviously every weekend is big because you monitor all of your players in Europe, Mexico and MLS, so you follow as many games as you can. You divide up responsibilities within the coaching staff, and we have guys going out to watch games. On Monday morning you gather all that information together - how many minutes they played, how they were in action, how successful were they, any injury problems - and we sum it all up and get an overview on the players. This weekend was big. You saw Michael Bradley win at Fiorentina with AS Roma; you had Clint Dempsey win against Southampton with Spurs and chasing for the Champions League spot in the Premier League, Jermaine Jones back in action with Schalke trying to assure them of a Champions League play-in spot for next season. “
On staying in contact with players:
“Sometimes you’re touching base with them every week because of what’s going on. Maybe it’s because of injury or because of a situation at the club. Other times you don’t talk for weeks because they know you’re monitoring them anyway and they’re doing well. Really it’s down to each individual player. It’s very important for us as well is to be in touch with the coaches. When we have questions on certain players, the best source we have is their club coach. They’re straight forward with us. They give us an honest opinion and we go from there.”
On the process of assembling the rosters for this summer:
“We’re going to have 23-25 players for the May-June period because we have seven players on yellow cards so we need to have a buffer there. The Gold Cup roster will be a roster of 23 players with a rule that we can actually change four players after the group stage. So right now you’re handling 45-50 players. You monitor them and put the rosters together based on how good of a rhythm they have right now, if they struggle with injuries, and where they are at in that specific moment.
“You never get your perfect picture, your perfect 23-player roster with 11 starters you have in mind. It’s not going to happen. So you have to evaluate the whole situation and make compromises. How we want to play also plays a vital role in that picture. You have to look at the pool of players position by position, and then see who is ahead of who. Things can always change based on their performances, what they’re going through, and any injuries. There are so many little things that play into this whole thing, so for the outside person it’s difficult to have any exact ideas because they don’t know all the little pieces we’re working on.”
On the timing of player arrivals for games in May and June:
“It’s a tricky picture because the players are all on different schedules. You have players going possibly going to relegation playoffs games in Germany with Hoffenheim and Augsburg. The Mexican league is still going on with playoffs where Herculez Gomez is, Tijuana [with Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo] is in Copa Libertadores, and Michael Bradley playing in an Italian Cup final on May 26, so all the different time tables play a role in how we build our camp starting on May 21. Ideally we’d like to have them all in camp from the beginning, but practically it’s not going to happen. You adjust to that. You respect their club schedule. They want to finish their season the right way on the right foot. The European guys have had a very long season and the Mexican guys have as well, so this all plays a role in it. It’s just part of a National Team process. We just have to make the best out of it and go from there.”