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Notable USMNT quotes from Bruce Arena, Sunil Gulati press conference

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US Soccer president Sunil Gulati and newly-appointed national team coach Bruce Arena addressed reporters in a 2 p.m. EDT conference call on Tuesday. Here’s what they said.

[ MORE: Klinsmann hurt by own expectations ]

Sunil Gulati

On hiring Arena: “I don’t view it as Bruce 2, but Bruce 2.0. He has far more experience than he had the first go-round. He’s proven and re-proven himself.”

On Arena’s timeline: “We have an agreement through the World Cup with various contingencies as all contracts have.”

On foreign-born players: “If you’re eligible, you are available for selection. We are open to anyone, whether they are born abroad or born here.”

NEW YORK - AUGUST 01: (L-R) Soccer Legend Pele, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and President of the United States Soccer Federation Sunil Gulati chat before the announcement of the return of the World Renowned New York Cosmos at Flushing Meadows Corona Park on August 1, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for the New York Cosmos)
Sunil Gulati  (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for the New York Cosmos)

What did Klinsmann do well? “The commentary with seriousness of how players approach the game and their craft… The shorter term issues like new players, whether Christian, Bobby Wood, or Jordan Morris, those are obvious ones. Another important one is off the field, the awareness to the program, the attention to the program. Jurgen, by virtue of who he was elevated the program around the world. He came into a program that had a very solid foundation in my view. … In his own way, he’s built on that and Bruce will continue that process.”

On the technical director position: “We’re not in a rush.”

On the Arena hiring timeline: “Bruce and I talk pretty regularly. We’re friends, we work in the sport, and he’s coached our national team. That’s not just the case with Bruce. The discussions about coaching the team started in the last 48 hours. We met with Bruce yesterday in the afternoon, and concluded an agreement about 2 hours ago.”

Where did you think the USMNT would be by now? “The easiest metric is wins and losses. In an ideal world, 2-0. 0-2 put us in a very difficult position. We’d like to see the team playing at the Confederations Cup next summer. We would’ve liked to see the Olympic team in Brazil. If I could pick three things, those would be things.”

On Arena beyond 2018, and how there’s nothing contractual beyond it: “We both have options to talk to each other after the World Cup.”

Bruce Arena

On his hiring: “I’m thrilled to be back with the national team. It’s the greatest honor for a coach in our country. We have a great challenge ahead but we have a great pool of players to reach out goal of qualifying for Russia in 2018.”

Where has the team gone in last decade (since he was let go in 2006)? “That’s not an easy question to ask. US Soccer has made great progress with the growth of the league and our players playing abroad. Winning World Cups is difficult as we know, but I think the United States is edging closer to that day. I have a lot of confidence in our domestic pool and players playing in Europe and Mexico. Since I left in 2006, the pool of players has certainly expanded.”

Group E Ghana v USA - World Cup 2006On his comments about foreign-born players: “I don’t know how that came about. I guess we did that interview three years ago. If I made those comments, I certainly don’t believe that that’s my attitude… I’m all for any players that are eligible to play for us. I look forward to, using your term, our foreign nationals in addition to our (domestic players).”

On his priorities: “The most important thing right now is I’m very familiar with the pool of players, but to have as many conversations with as many players by January camp, and touch base with our entire pool of players by March. … We’ll develop an identity over the next couple months, and hopefully feel comfortable working with each other.”

On hiring assistants and calling up players: “We’re gonna take a week or two to think this out and select the strongest staff that we can have. I don’t think the roster is going to have radical changes from the last couple of camps but there will obviously be some changes.”

On his plans, and the Costa Rica loss: “I would’ve done this for free. The game in Costa Rica was certainly disappointing. Hopefully it’s one that allows us to step back and evaluate what went wrong for the team, and get us prepared for how to play on the road in CONCACAF. The only thing I’m going to tell you is we’re going to make it better.”

On how he’s grown since he last held the USMNT job: “I’ve had 10 years on the field at the club level. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented players in the world, and understanding how they work. Continue to grow on the tactical side. … Ten years later I’m better prepared for this job than I was in 1998, 2002, and ultimately 2006. … One of the things you learn from experience is you see things a lot clearer, a lot quicker.”

“How would I describe myself as a coach? A hard worker. I like to believe I’m a players coach. What I really know is how to build a team, and I understand all the qualities and circumstances that go into how to make a team.”

On players like Jonathan Bornstein and Benny Feilhaber: “They and others are good players. We’re going to give those kind of players the opportunity to back in the national team program. I’m well aware of the quality of those two and others. It’s highly unlikely we’re going to bring many new players into the program.”

On who he’s spoken to thusfar: “I haven’t spoken to Michael Bradley but I have had communication with a couple of players over the last 10 hours or so. We need to build a chemistry with this team and build a common goal, work on a team concept. We have good players. We just gotta get them working together as a team.”

On his intended style: “A difficult question. Your style is dictated by the qualities of your players. We are who we are. The American quality is teams that have been harder to play against. If you saw the European Championships last summer, the Copa America, the U.S. isn’t far behind. We’re traditionally strong in the goal. We have some young attacking talent, and we have some experienced players in the midfield.”

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Berhalter made almost as much as Ellis in first few months

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NEW YORK (AP) American men’s soccer coach Gregg Berhalter earned nearly as much from the U.S. Soccer Federation in his first four months as women’s counterpart Jill Ellis took home in 12.

[ MORE: Messi says Barcelona is “home,” but he “sees weird things happening” ]

Berhalter, hired on Dec. 2, 2018, had compensation of $304,113 from the USSF in the year ending last March 31, according to the tax return released by the federation on Wednesday. That figure included a $200,000 signing bonus.

Ellis, who became women’s coach in May 2014, had compensation of $390,409 in the fiscal year. She went on to lead the Americans to their second straight World Cup title, was voted FIFA Women’s Coach of the Year, then left in October. Any bonus she earned as a result of the title likely will be listed on the next year’s tax return.

Her base salary was raised to $500,000 in late 2018, a person with knowledge of her contract told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the USSF has not announced that.

The USSF has said she was the highest-paid women’s coach in the world.

Tab Ramos, who was the men’s under-20 team coach before leaving in October to become coach of Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo, outearned Ellis with compensation of $460,772.

Ellis did earn more than Earnie Stewart ($291,667), hired as men’s general manager in June 2018, and Dave Sarachan ($241,869), interim men’s national team coach from October 2017 until Berhalter was hired.

[ MORE: Guardiola will not leave Man City: “Truth will prevail” ]

Jürgen Klinsmann, fired as men’s coach in November 2016, was paid $1,475,000 on Feb. 1, 2018. He received $3,354,167 in the year ending March 31, 2018.

Bruce Arena, who replaced Klinsmann and led the men’s team through its failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup , was not listed on the latest return. He received $1,249,348 in the year ending March 31, 2018, which included what was listed on that return as a $300,000 settlement.

Earnings were listed for several of the players on the U.S. women team, including Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd (both $313,390), Crystal Dunn ($312,142), Lindsey Horan ($304,142) and Julie Ertz, Alyssa Naeher and Megan Rapinoe (all $304,140).

Their salaries ranged from $164,642 to $171,140 and include $100,000 for time with the national team. The remainder is what the federation pays for the time with clubs in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Bonuses were from $133,000 to $146,000 and include per match fees and the payment for qualifying for the 2019 World Cup.

Women’s national team players have filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the USSF that is scheduled for trial starting May 5 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

The top two salaries of the administrative staff were chief executive officer Dan Flynn ($899,440) and chief commercial and strategy officer Jay Berhalter ($779,765), the coach’s brother. Flynn retired in September and the federation said Jay Berhalter is leaving at the end of February.

Messi says Barcelona is ‘home,’ but he ‘sees weird things happening’

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Lionel Messi is not sure what to make of recent allegations that Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is responsible a social media campaign which set out to criticize the club’s top players while also aiming to rebuild his own reputation.

[ MORE: Pep’s not-so-subtle warning to Barcelona: “Don’t talk too loudly” ]

Messi once again called Barcelona his “home,” though he also admitted that he “sees weird things happening,” presumably referring to statements made in recent months and weeks by members of the Barca hierarchy, including Bartomeu and sporting director Eric Abidal.

For a club of Barcelona’s size and stature to be airing this much dirty laundry for the world to see is certainly weird, to say the least. Messi sounds like he’s desperate to remain at the club and finish his career there, though it’s beginning to sound as if certain individuals have other ideas — quotes from the Guardian:

“I was a little surprised because I was not present, I was traveling. When I arrived, I discovered it all bit by bit. The president told us the same things he said in public, the same things he said at a press conference — what was the situation, what had happened. And I cannot say more.

“The truth is that I see weird things happening. But, it was also said that there would be evidence. We will have to wait to see if it is true or not. We can’t say much and we have to wait and see what happens. Frankly, the subject seems strange to me.”

“I love Barcelona, although I miss Rosario very much.

“This is my home, I was here longer than in Argentina. I love Barcelona, the place where I live, Castelldefels, and I live a life that I like very much.”

Pep’s not-so-subtle warning to Barcelona: ‘Don’t talk too loudly’

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Manchester City and Pep Guardiola are currently neck-deep in legal troubles after UEFA handed the Premier League side a two-year European ban last week, leading a handful of clubs and figures from around the continent to delight over their current predicament.

[ MORE: Guardiola will not leave Man City: “Truth will prevail” ]

Guardiola’s message for those folks, including some longtime friends and former co-workers at Barcelona? Essentially, don’t throw stones if you live in a glass house.

Earlier this week, allegations were made that Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who voiced his full support of the punishment handed down by UEFA, was involved in a campaign to bash a number of key players and figures at the club while also attempting to boost his own reputation.

“I don’t know if they spy me, but they know me. It is not necessary to spy me. If they are happy we are suspended, I say to the president of Barcelona, give us two appeals. I ask right now the people trust what they have done. Don’t talk too [loudly], Barcelona. That is my advice because everybody is involved in situations. We are going to appeal and hopefully in the future we can play Champions League against Barcelona.”

Players ‘absolutely dead’: Mourinho finds no faults in Spurs’ performance

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Jose Mourinho can find few, if any, faults in Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-0 defeat to RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday, as he is simply making do with the very limited and exhausted tools presently at his disposal.

[ MORE: Spurs fall under nonstop pressure from RB Leipzig (video) ]

“[Lucas] Moura was absolutely dead, [Steven] Bergwijn was absolutely dead, [Giovani] Lo Celso was absolutely dead,” Mourinho said as he ran through the list of players forced to play all 90 minutes despite desperately needing a reprieve.

Given his side’s current injury list — Harry Kane, Son-Heung Min, Moussa Sissoko and Juan Foyth are all out, while Lo Celso, Erik Lamela and Ben Davies have only just returned to the team in recent days — Mourinho was emphatic in stating his players “did everything they could do” — quotes from the BBC:

“What do you mean by ‘the real Spurs?’ Come on, let’s be loyal to the boys and tell them they did everything they could do.

“Lamela — you know how many training sessions with the team? Zero. Direct from injury to recovery with physios and then direct to 20 minutes in the Champions League.

“There are two perspectives — an amazing group and amazing guys, but another side you see how we are at the moment. It’s a situation like going to fight with a gun without bullets.

“You can say we had luck in some moments, but a great goalkeeper made two magnificent saves. I’m not worried with the 1-0. We can go there and win. What worries me is that these are our players for the next however many matches.

“Moura was absolutely dead, Bergwijn was absolutely dead, Lo Celso was absolutely dead. We are really in trouble. If it was just this game I’d say no problem but we have FA Cup and Premier League games.

“I know Lamela could only give us 20 minutes and I knew Ndombele could not play for 90 minutes. I tried to manage the pieces I had. Don’t tell me Lamela and Ndombele could have started the game, they couldn’t have started the game.

“Here we go, Chelsea [Spurs’ opponent at 7:30 a.m. ET on Saturday], drinking sparkling water with lemon. Saturday morning [looking at the interviewer — the game was moved for television coverage] — thank you very much for the choice.”

Tottenham’s recent “winter break” was reduce from 14 to 10 days when they were forced to face Southampton in a fourth-round FA Cup replay two weeks ago today.