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Jürgen Klinsmann on Youth Soccer
Jürgen Klinsmann on Youth Soccer | Jürgen Klinsmann as head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team, Youth Soccer,

Juergen Klinsmann - Photo Credit: ISIPhotos.com

Youth Soccer News: JURGEN KLINSMANN on American Soccer Culture and Youth Soccer Today

Today, the U.S. Men’s National Team held a heavy possession advantage against Canada and played its rival to the north to a scoreless draw at BBVA Compass Stadium.

The U.S., which is celebrating its 100-year anniversary, kicked off the Centennial campaign by extending its unbeaten streak against Canada to 16 games (8-0-8).

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann gave five players their first international appearance with the first team on Tuesday. Three of the USA’s four starting defenders made their debut: left back Tony Beltran, center back Matt Besler and right back Justin Morrow. Midfielder Will Bruin of the Houston Dynamo and defender Alfredo Morales also earned their first caps as second-half subs.

Did you know...

Jürgen Klinsmann played his first professional soccer game at age 17 and is the Head Coach for our country's Men's National Team.  Jürgen Klinsmann has the unique opportunity to shape the future of our country and has been embarking on friendly test drives as his team matches prowess with others.

Open, honest and upfront, Klinsmann admists other countries are ahead of ours and candidly discusses players from Omar González (who is on the rise wanting to become a great international player) to Landon Donovan (who has texted his coach he wanted a break).

Is the answer to the future in the youth of today? Klinsmann has the most demanding job in American soccer but took time out to visit coaches at Southern California's Development Soccer League (SCDSL) and talked to them as peers.

After living here for 14 years, Klinsmann says he believes soccer is growing in the USA.  It is a very exciting time for soccer. The National team is the "Peoples" team and communication is very important and Klinsmann has launched open training sessions as well as many other programs ....  

Klinsmann is also a soccer dad. Not afraid to voice his opinion, the soccer dad told coaches at SCDSL that he would not send his son to Bradenton Academy. 

It is in Klinsmann we place our faith and hope for our country's soccer team.  He is responsible for America's performance on the world stage. Klinsmann's lifelong passion for soccer has lead him to his role of developing our men to succeed on the field. Who better to ask for advice?

Diane Scavuzzo: What do you believe lead to your success?

Juergen Klinsmann: As a young player, you never know that you are going to make it as a professional. But, you hope you will make it. And, most importantly, you commit to doing the things that will help you become a professional.

First of all, you must really love the game! You need to be passionate about it and want to be involved playing it, watching it, and learning about it all the time.

Second, you must spend the time it takes to develop your skills. What you do in team training is not enough. You must enjoy spending time on your own or with your friends improving your ball skills and developing your special "moves."

Also, young players can start to think about their nutrition, their sleep, their education, their fitness, their relationships with other people, their personal responsibilities  --- all the things that contribute to a player being a full person, who can stand on their own in the competitive professional environment --- or in the college/university environment that is more common for American players.

The bottom line is that young players must find their own motivation in the game they love. Parents and coaches do not make professional players. It's the players themselves that become top players --- with the help of their parents and coaches. 

New Video -U.S. Soccer Interview with Jurgen Klinsmann: Youth National Team Connection.

"If you want to play with the best in the world you have to be really fast in transitions, be extremely fit, you have to go both ways defensively and offensively, you have to chase people down, you have to have great chemsitry ..." says Klinsmann

 
Diane Scavuzzo; How does youth soccer in So Cal differ from soccer in Germany when you grew up? Could you ever play too much soccer? How much soccer did you play as a youth?

Juergen Klinsmann: Soccer is doing very well in the USA and, of course, in Southern California. Millions of boys and girls are playing at all levels and there are opportunities for them to continue playing on varsity as well as club teams in colleges/universities and then later on on adult teams. For the really talented and committed players, there are professional opportunities that more and more American players are able to take advantage of here in the USA and, also, in other countries.

The emphases in the USA are somewhat different than in Germany, where I grew up. This has to do with the different cultures of the countries. In the USA, soccer still tends to be a young person's game with youth clubs and youth organizations being important plus there is a significant college/university influence.

In Germany and other European countries, soccer is more of a lifetime game with local clubs for all ages and levels of play plus the professional clubs rather than colleges/universities exert influence. These different models are, again, the result of differences in the sporting cultures of the countries. But, we can also see things evolving. For instance, MLS is certainly becoming more influential in the USA and in Europe women's soccer is becoming more important. So, we are looking at what works in each other's sports cultures and bringing them into our own.

As for how much soccer to play, that is an individual matter. Most youth want to keep doing whatever it is they really enjoy as much as possible. So, parents  and coaches have to help their children find the right balance between, say, soccer and other activities that are important for well rounded growth --- education, family activities, responsibilities around the house and community, vacations, etc. As a youngster, I played soccer as much as I could ---  with my team and, also, in the neighborhood --- but I also had family and educational activities and my father made sure that I earned a baker's diploma just in case soccer did not work out. 
 
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you believe youth soccer players should focus on for player development? 
 
Juergen Klinsmann: Again, at first, soccer is just for fun! Then, there are different stages for player development, if a youngster is really passionate about soccer. Over time --- over years --- young players will need technical, tactical, physical, and mental development related to the game as well as personal life skills development. US Soccer has introduced a full youth development curriculum available free online that outlines appropriate developmental activities by age.
 
Diane Scavuzzo: As Head Coach for our country's Men's National team, you have a great impact on soccer.  What do you think the U.S. has to do to perform better on the world stage?  What is your greatest challenge? Is America just "young" when it comes to soccer? 

Juergen Klinsmann: To be successful in international competitions any nation, not only the USA, needs a style of play that fits with their culture and it needs players capable of performing at the highest levels of competition. Historically, soccer enthusiasts have been able to picture the Italian style or the English style or the Brazilian style.

Today, everyone has in their minds the Spanish style. Behind the scenes through the federations with the cooperation of the professional clubs, some countries such as France, Germany, and Spain as examples, have been able to think through, plan, and implement ways to develop their players within the context of their country's style of play.

These are long term projects. But, they have been successful. That is what we have embarked on here in the USA --- define our style of play, share that style of play with our soccer community, get the current and future generations of national team players to understand their roles and responsibilities within our style of play, develop appropriate tactical approaches, share training methodologies, and encourage players to find environments where they can flourish. We will not get it all done overnight. But, we will make progress everyday.

And, as for finding players who can perform at the highest levels of competition, that really depends on more and more players following developmental pathways that allow them to reach their potential. 
 
Diane Scavuzzo: What would you like to say to all the youth players out there about soccer? What would you like to say to their parents?
 
Juergen Klinsmann: My advice to players is to develop your own pathway. If you love soccer, practice it, play it, and see how far you can and want to go with it. Maybe you will be a recreational player. Maybe you will be a select player. Maybe you will play in college. Maybe you will become a professional.

There is no one way for all players.

There is no right way --- except as it satisfies the individual player.

Again, to play at more competitive levels requires more commitment, more time, and more talent. These are internally driven considerations. We like to say that soccer is a "player's game". And, so it is in terms of how each player will develop. Consequently, parents and coaches need to keep things in perspective. They can provide support and opportunities. But, they should always make sure that their children and players are enjoying themselves and are not playing soccer to please their parents and their coaches.

Let's keep soccer a "player's game."

Background on Klinsmann from US Soccer

Klinsmann has been involved in soccer almost his entire life as a player, coach, television analyst and consultant. As a player, Klinsmann was one of the game’s premier forwards and enjoyed a 17-year career that included stints in four major European leagues for a number of clubs, including VfB Stuttgart, Inter Milan, AS Monaco, Tottenham Hotspur and Bayern Munich. One of the most well-known international players of all-time, he earned 108 appearances for Germany and scored 47 goals while helping the team win the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy and the 1996 European Championship.

Klinsmann also has a famed coaching career and was named manager of the German National Team in 2004. He guided Germany to a 20-8-6 record and a third place finish in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, earning him Coach of the Year honors in Germany. Two years later, Klinsmann took over the head coaching position at Bayern Munich.

Since his time in Germany, Klinsmann has worked in television broadcasting, is a partner in the sports marketing consulting agency SportsSolutions and signed on with Toronto FC as a consultant.

Klinsmann began playing soccer from a young age in his hometown of Gingen. As a 14-year old, he joined the youth program of Stuttgarter Kickers and signed a professional contract with them two years later. He made his debut at the age of 17 for the Kickers in the second division Bundesliga.

In 1984, he was signed by VfB Stuttgart, where he helped the club reach the German Cup final in 1986 and the UEFA Cup final in 1989. In 1988, Klinsmann was the top-scorer in the Bundesliga and was named Player of the Year in Germany.

Klinsmann made his national team debut in 1987 against Brazil. He participated in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, where he helped his team earn the bronze medal. In 1990, Klinsmann also helped his team win the 1990 FIFA World Cup with stellar performances throughout the tournament.

In 1989, Klinsmann joined Internazionale in Italy, and won the Italian Super Cup that same year and the UEFA Cup in 1991. Starting in 1992, Klinsmann played with AS Monaco of the French League 1, and then joined Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League in 1994.

In 1995, Klinsmann returned to Germany to play with Bayern Munich, where he helped Bayern win the UEFA Cup in 1996 by notching a record 15 goals in 12 matches. In 1997, Klinsmann played with Sampdoria of Italy and then joined Tottenham of the EPL mid-season, where he would close out his professional club career.

Klinsmann retired as a professional player after the 1998 World Cup. He had played 17 seasons with four major soccer clubs, scoring 226 goals in 506 appearances. Klinsmann also notched 108 caps with the German national team, scoring 47 goals. He represented his country in three European Championships (1998, 1992 and 1996), including winning in 1996. He also participated in three World Cups (1990, 1994 and 1998), including winning in 1990. He was named team captain of Germany from 1994 to 1998.

After retiring as a player, he moved to the United States with his wife, Debbie, and they currently reside in California with their two children, Jonathan and Laila.

Klinsmann was well-prepared to become a coach after his club experiences in the top European leagues. He learned from very successful managers and learned various tactical systems that emphasized different styles of play. In June of 2000, he earned his German Football Teacher License.

In 2004, Klinsmann became the Technical Advisor for the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer. In July of the same year, the German Football Federation asked Klinsmann to become manager of the German National Team.

Klinsmann melded young players with proven veterans and emphasized fitness and an aggressive, attacking style of play. He led Germany to third place at the 2006 FIFA World Cup and retired with a winning record of 20-6-8 after the tournament. Despite stepping aside as Germany’s manager after the World Cup, he left a foundation for ongoing success, including the core of the German National Team coaching staff and players.

In July of 2008, Klinsmann became the head coach of his old club, Bayern Munich where he aided in the design of a new player development and performance center. Bayern reached the quarterfinal of the Champions League that year, going 25-9-9 in all competitions under Klinsmann.

Klinsmann was hired as head coach for the U.S. Men’s National Team on July 29, 2011, and will make his debut with the team in a friendly match on Aug. 10, 2011, against Mexico in Philadelphia.

KLINSMANN FACT FILE:

CLUB SOCCER CAREER: Stuttgarter Kickers (1981-84), VfB Stuttgart (1984-89), Internazionale (1989-92), Monaco (1992-94), Tottenham Hotspur (1994-95), Bayern Munich (1995-97), Sampdoria (1997-98), Tottenham Hotspur (1997-8)

NATIONAL TEAM SOCCER CAREER: West Germany U-16 (1980-81), West Germany U-21 (1984-85), Germany (1987-98)

    • PLAYER HONORS: German Player of the Year (1988, 1994), FWA Player of the Year (1995)
    • CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS WON: Suppercoppa Italiana (1989), UEFA Cup (1991, 1996), Bundesliga (1996-97)
    • NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS WON: FIFA World Cup (1990), European Championship (1996), U.S. Cup (1993)
    • PROFESSIONAL COACHING CAREER: Head Coach, German National Team (2004-06), Bayern Munich (2008-09)
    • COACHING HONORS: German Coach of the Year (2006)

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