Jurgen Klinsmann created some ripples two years ago when he began a quiet crusade against Major League Soccer’s off-season, which he believed to be too long.
From a world soccer perspective, his sentiment made good sense. Most of the prominent pro clubs around the globe get 5-6 weeks off in the summer – and much of that is eaten up by national team activity.
But from the viewpoint of the American sports community, such thinking was a bit of a head-scratcher. After all, Major League Soccer already had one of the shorter off-seasons among domestic sports.
And the debate was tangled up in the playoff-structure nuance, something that sometimes gets lost in this particular conversation. See, from the MLS Cup final until the start of training camp, Major League Soccer’s break is really no greater than anywhere else, about six weeks.
But if your team doesn’t make the playoffs, then, yes … the break is probably too long. Then it’s about two and a half months.
Either way, count Bruce Arena in the advocacy corner of a shorter break. Here’s what the L.A. Galaxy manager, still one of the leading voices in the domestic game, said in an MLSSoccer.com story when asked about the break’s duration.
I think we’ve been in position to be burned out physically and mentally over the last five years, so having a little bit of a break may be a blessing in disguise to prepare us for 2014. It’s not perfect. The break is too long, it’s too long for the entire league, it’s a real mistake, the time off, but we’re going to deal with it accordingly.”
Of course, the Galaxy being bounced out of the playoffs earlier than usual might have something to do with Arena’s thinking. The Galaxy haven’t been done this early since 2006, before Arena took over in Carson.