CARSON, Calif. – Most news coming out of Southern California this week is about MLS Cup. But since U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann lives in Southern California, there was a small window of availability Friday morning near the Home Depot Center.
Klinsmann addressed a wide variety of topics, speaking casually over breakfast to a small group of journalists (including me).
Among the topics covered extensively (the man does love to talk soccer – which is a blessed thing for a journalist):
- The January camp (more on that down below)
- His ongoing dialogue on getting players to get more from themselves
- Landon Donovan
- Timothy Chandler
- Jozy Altidore
- Carlos Bocanegra
- Fabian Johnson
- Michael Bradley’s splendid progress and new role in the locker room
- Evolving player roles as it relates to Bocanegra
- Enjoying when players prove him wrong
- Playing an early 2014 match in Brazil (assuming things go well in World Cup qualifying through 2013)
- Playing Germany next year somewhere in the United States
- Explaining Jermaine Jones’ value on and off the field
- Lots more
Over the next few days, I will go deeper into each of these topics, as well as others covered by the U.S. national team boss, who has been on the job now for 16 months.
As for the January camp, it will begin on Jan. 14 and include no more than 23 players. Most likely, it will be held at the Home Depot Center and, as usual, will be limited mostly to MLS men and players from the Scandinavian leagues (because they will be on winter break).
Klinsmann wants to end the camp with a friendly (also at the Home Depot Center, in all likelihood), mostly to give the athletes a little reward at the end of what will surely be tough training sessions.
Klinsmann will name a different set of 23 (although it will surely include some of the same names) immediately upon conclusion of the January camp. That group, including the European based players, will assemble in Miami and then fly to Honduras to open final stage World Cup qualifying on Feb. 6.