We are all still digesting the just-completed round of World Cup qualifying, what it means in the bigger picture for U.S. Soccer, how it benefitted or dimmed individual fortunes and what it means for manager Jurgen Klinsmann.
Let’s talk about that last one for now.
Alexi Lalas, a veteran at several layers of the professional game and someone who has seen the national team program from inside out, had an interesting take on the Big Head Red Head podcast that he shares with ESPN chief soccer researcher Marc Connolly and broadcaster Taylor Twellman.
In talking about perception of a team that hasn’t exactly measured up to Klinsmann’s own grand designs, Lalas wonders if Klinsmann is giving himself some unneeded headaches by not outlining more precisely what he wants from this group.
On their latest podcast, Lalas said if he had one piece of advice for advice for Klinsmann:
It would be that he needs to do a better job articulating and detailing what he wants this team to be. And more importantly, pointing to moments when that does come to fruition. I’m not saying this is a final product. But pointing to moments where everybody can say, ‘OK I get it. This is what he wanted and this is where we saw it.’
“But for Jurgen Klinsmann, a man who has been more public and more available than any national team coach I can remember, he still has a hard time giving details and articulating so that everyone can understand, whether they agree with it or not, at least they can understand what he wants. And that’s a problem. We’ve talked to Jurgen Klinsmann about what he wants and, even those of us who are close to him, don’t have a concise understanding of what huge, fundamental change he wants to make, and certainly any of the details that apply to that.”
If you haven’t heard the (still relatively new) Big Head Red Head show, give it a listen. Because all-three heads of this three-headed beast have strong opinions. In this one, they all have some good thoughts on the U.S. center back situation, for instance.