Is Eddie Johnson going to be a productive member of the U.S. national team scene now that he has apparently been afforded a second-life internationally?
Or will the reborn Seattle Sounders striker – who was this close to tumbling out of professional soccer less than a year ago – squander his chance to rebuild his career into something special?
It’s impossible to say, of course, although we can already assess this: The man is off to a bad start.
Players along the front end of the national team pool were informed last week of their status for the upcoming pair of qualifiers. By “status,” we mean they were told whether they are “in” or “out.”
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said through U.S. Soccer media channels that he would announce the roster today. Informing players ahead of time of their status is part procedural and part logistical. And, obviously, players just want to know.
But sharing that information via social media or traditional press is a no-no. Whether it should be, we can possible debate; what’s the harm, after all, of greater public knowledge?
But it’s beside the point here. Players are well informed of their expectations under Klinsmann, just as they were previously under Bob Bradley and before that under Bruce Arena. This is nothing new.
One expectation is that certain information is not to be shared publicly. That part is simple.
So the revelatory Tweets that Johnson distributed late Friday cannot have pleased the U.S. Soccer establishment, not Klinsmann himself. It may be only a misdemeanor infraction, but it’s an infraction nonetheless.
Trust is a central part of any relationship among coaches and teammates. If Johnson cannot be trusted with the little details, he’s sending the wrong message about whether he can be trusted with the bigger, more important requests ahead.
I fully expect his name to be on the list when U.S. Soccer announces it today at 3 p.m. ET. That is, I don’t think this little indiscretion is a deal-killer. But I also expect that he’s been slapped across the write, figuratively, and that he’s already got one strike against him.