U.S. men’s national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann held a press conference Friday morning to explain some of his World Cup roster selections. The final squad of 23 was announced Thursday, a group that includes Sounders FC’s Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin but not Brad Evans.
Here were some highlights I wrote down while watching online.
Klinsmann was asked early on if getting a contract extension through 2018 played a part in selecting some of the younger players like Yedlin (20), Julian Green (18) and John Anthony Brooks (21).
“No, this is based on today,” Klinsmann said. “It is our strong feeling that these guys are ready for the World Cup. … We see them growing every day in training, getting stronger and stronger. … Some of have a learning curve ahead of them, (but) they are ready for the learning curve and they might surprise some people out there.”
Klinsmann noted that have younger players on the team is always part of the World Cup cycle, but he argued against this being a young team — noting there is a lot of experience, even if not World Cup experience. The youngsters will be expected to stand at the back of the line and learn, and Klinsmann said he expects a lot of growth through the World Cup process.
“Emotionally, it’s a lot to handle … but they’re ready for it,” the USMNT coach added.
The final question of a shorter-than-expected press conference was about some decisions like Timmy Chandler over Evans/Michael Parkhurst and Brooks over Clarence Goodson.
“At the end of the day, it’s down to pure performance; it’s down to where they are right now,” Klinsmann said. “We watched all of them, no matter where they play. … We believe all the guys we chose were an inch ahead of those we didn’t choose in terms of performance as to where they are right now.”
Chandler, in particular, had a specific fitness coach from the USMNT work with him over the past few months, according to Klinsmann, all to make sure he’d be able to get back to his highest level coming off a knee injury. The federation was in constant contact with Chandler’s club and coach at Nurnberg and went out to watch training sessions. All that would appear to indicate Chandler was very much valued at the right-back position, even despite missing a lot of the World Cup qualifying campaign.
Asked Jurgen about Tim Chandler after presser, & his own past concerns about commitment. JK said TC has grown up & also “took over” in camp
— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) May 23, 2014
In some other topics, Klinsmann said Green was never specifically compared to the biggest omission, Landon Donovan, and he made the team on his own merits. He also reiterated a few times that the standby guys need to be around-the-clock ready in case of injury.
Lastly, Klinsmann was asked about a since-deleted tweet from his son Thursday that was mocking and disparaging of Donovan’s exclusion.
“Hugely disappointed,” said Klinsmann. “I called him right away and … obviously as a father you put him in line. He owes (Donovan) a huge, huge apology and learned the biggest social media lesson he could imagine.”