Q & A with Jurgen Klinsmann: U.S. Soccer Technical Department Workshop
U.S. Soccer Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is leading a U.S. Soccer technical department workshop on Thursday in Los Angeles. This hands-on event incorporates coaches and technical staff among all age levels from U-14 through the senior team and the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
Klinsmann provided a glimpse into what the workshop will entail:
The goal of the department workshop is maintaining a strong relationship among the senior team through the youth national teams. Ultimately, what do you hope to accomplish at this event?
Jurgen Klinsmann: “What we’re trying to do is establish a form of connection among the teams and also use this as a brainstorming workshop, to maintain high standards in a performance-driven environment. Among the different people working with the team, you have the technical side, the player side, the medical side, administrative, outside resources, the media department, equipment department, partners such as Nike – so it’s basically connecting everyone in a way that they all play a certain role for a purpose. We should have the highest standards in all different topics, and you take those standards and break them down to every age level. In a workshop like this, you define what everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are and how you can improve that through these discussions and brainstorming sessions. Everybody is together and putting things down on the table with their own specific programs, no matter what type of role they have.”
How will these talking points and workshops be set up among the groups?
JK: “I’m a big believer in the more people you have working on a topic, the more information you’ll get out of it and the more you’ll benefit from it. There is no one person who knows everything out there. So when we brainstorm and talk about a topic like the medical part of it, we might discuss what other sports are doing and where can we improve in this element. You talk about a topic like scouting: How can we evaluate it and scout our players better? How can we build a better database? How can we feed that database of players throughout the country toward the U-14, 15 and 17 levels? The goal is to really define the standards of every individual environment and team environment. That’s how a coach is. I’m a deep believer that there are a lot of people who know much more than I do. So I want to pick their brains. Whether it’s scouting, media work, the administrative side, we live in an environment that changes constantly.”
Nutrition, for example, has been a major area that U.S. Soccer has focused on across all age levels. What other performance-focused topics will be a part of this workshop?
JK: “In a sport like ours, we have to learn how to make sure our athletes are fueled the right way. It’s an educational process. You have to educate the players and you have to educate the people around the players, from coaches to administrators. It can be nutrition. It can be the technology aspect, where you’re sending scouting material to players’ iPhones so they can see individual plays and find areas to improve. The focus could be on the mindset of athletes. You have to constantly work on yourself. That’s why we work so closely with Athletes’ Performance, because it needs to be top-notch. All these little examples, you add them in a workshop like this and define the standards for the U-14s through U-17s or define your standards going into a World Cup year. As a coach, you can’t stand still. Whatever made you successful yesterday might not make you successful tomorrow.”