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2014 FIFA World Cup Roster Quote Sheet: Jurgen Klinsmann

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann discusses Thursday’s naming of the 23-player roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Initial remarks about naming the 23-man roster:
Jurgen Klinsmann: “It’s an exciting moment when you have narrowed it down as a coaching staff and these 23 players that you’ve chosen can focus now purely on Brazil. We can go into more specific things about technical approaches and about the opponents. For the players, it’s very important to know that they are now part of it, they can relax and know they are on the list going to Brazil and taking it from there. After almost 10 days of work right now, we thought the point has come to make the decision.”

On the difficulty and disappointment of cutting players and being cut:
JK: “It’s a difficult side of it for every coach and it’s not easy because you feel for the player. You hope they stay very positive and you communicate in a way that lets them know that if tomorrow someone gets injured you’re the first one we’ll call in. The door is not closed for them. We still have a couple of weeks to go and god-forbid, injuries happen. You hope they stay sharp and stay in good shape and in a rhythm and they take it positively. But obviously for the player it’s a very, very bitter pill to swallow.”

On Landon Donovan not making the 23-man roster:
JK: “This is certainly one of the toughest decisions in my coaching career, to tell a player like him, with everything he has done and what he represents, to tell him that he’s not part of that 23 right now. I just see some other players slightly ahead of him. He’s been in that final 30 roster and now the last 10 days, he did everything right. He was always positive; he took it the best way possible. His disappointment is huge, which I totally understand. He took it very professionally. He knows I have the highest respect for him, but I have to make the decisions as of today for this group going to Brazil. I just think the other guys, right now, are a little bit ahead of him. I told him that and he understands it, but obviously he is very disappointed.”

On turning to preparations for the World Cup and focusing on Ghana:
JK: “What we are trying to do now having this 23 is really to prepare in every way, in every training session in every game that we have, for the first game against Ghana. We really need to win this game. Having made that decision now we can focus on the starting 11. That gives us a bit more quality in everything we do, and also it gives the players a very clear picture of what is going on. Therefore, it’s exciting now that we have this part crossed off, and now the players know their individual case and we can move forward.”

On the World Cup as a special experience for the players:
JK: “It's the most exciting moment for a player when he knows he's part of those 23 going into a World Cup, and there's no bigger World Cup than a World Cup in Brazil. They should be very, very proud of themselves. They should also enjoy this moment and communicate it with their families. It's down to a lot, a lot of work to be the best player possible for those big opponents we have. For every player this moment is a special, special day.”