Somebody get Eric Wynalda a coaching job in Major League Soccer. Once again, he seems to be one of the only people willing to speak up against the mediocre status quo of American coaching.
In an interview with The Big Lead sports blog, Wynalda detailed his ideas on why the United States hasn’t produced any world-class players yet, despite its massive population.
“The age group between 16 and 20, we spent a lot of time trying to — almost in a forced way — to turn these soccer players into something we want to be,” he said. “In that process, we don’t let them find themselves.”
Wynalda also detailed several big misses in terms of talent identification and development, such as cutting Neven Subotić from the under-20 national team. It all stems from a revolving door of coaching at the highest levels, as Wynalda was also unafraid to point out.
“Some of these guys have never had soccer shoes on in a locker room that matters,” he said. “There’s a thought [that] you wouldn’t have to play at a high level to be a good coach. That’s an American thing. Sure, José Mourinho went from translator to manager. That’s different. He is a special person, but it’s created a belief it’s possible.”
However, he did say that he sees some progress in the hiring of Jürgen Klinsmann for the U.S. head coaching job. Klinsmann had success on the club and national-team stages in his career, playing for some of the most competitive teams in the world and winning a World Cup with Germany in 1990.
“He’s probably the only guy who has the key to the room we’ve never been in as a soccer nation,” Wynalda said. “I hope it works out.”
In the meantime, Wynalda will continue to look for work as a coach at the higher levels of American soccer. His amateur team, Cal FC, shocked the nation with its 2012 U.S. Open Cup run that saw it defeat the Portland Timbers before falling to Seattle Sounders FC. It’s Wynalda’s outspokenness that has left MLS clubs afraid to take a chance on him.
“At some point, I’d like to stop talking about the people who are involved and actually be involved,” he said. “I’d like to be a person with a direct effect.”
Let’s hope it happens soon.