Posted on April 5, 2012
By Michael Lewis
In the wake of the failure to qualify for the London Olympics, U.S. national coach and technical director Juergen Klinsmann won’t throw U.S. Under-23 national coach Caleb Porter under any bus.
Saying that University of Akron coach has a “a huge future ahead of him” and that he wants “to keep Caleb connected to us” University of Akron coach, Klinsmann said on Wednesday there was plenty of blame to go around.
On Tuesday, Klinsmann was in Chicago to discuss what transpired during Group A play in Nashville, Tenn. with Porter and the U.S. Soccer brass. The Americans, considered the tournament favorites crashed out of the tournament in group playing, being upset by Canada and eliminated on an 11th-hour goal by El Salvador in a 3-3 draw last week.
“It’s a huge disapointment for us, not having our Olympic team going to London this summer,” Klinsmann said on a conference call.
“There were many mistakes being done, and not all of the mistakes were done by Caleb Porter.”
He later added: “I think some players didn’t live up to their expectations.”
Porter will return to the Akron, where he directed the Zips to the 2010 NCAA Division I championship.
“We believe that Caleb is a very, very talented coach,” Klinsmann said. “We chose him for a reason, because I think he has a huge future ahead of him. Sooner than later he will jump into the professional field and become a pro coach.”
Porter’s future role with U.S. Soccer has not been determined. It could range from being part of the National Teams’ workshtops on a regular basis, or helping the national youth teams, watching training sessions in Europe.
“We really think that he has a lot of upside,” Klinsmann said. “I think he’s learned a tremendous amount during the last four months dealing as a head coach with the Olympic team. Obviously he’s more disappointed than any one of us about what happened, that he didn’t get the job done. . . The bottom line is we want to keep him connected with us, we want to keep him involved in what we’re doing in the future because we think that he will have a very positive coaching career ahead of him.”
Asked about the mistakes and what he learned about the U.S. team, Klinsmann replied with a long answser.
“When you don’t reach a goal, and the goal was clearly to qualify, you analyze it from all angles. If it’s the organization, the coaching staff, the medical staff, the player side, what didn’t go well? Obviously that third goal from El Salvador, that happened, and Sean Johnson’s usual routine save, and it’s not going in. And if the mistakes leading to that goal don’t happen, then you play your semifinal and hopefully you win that semifinal and nobody would talk about those things. But that’s how soccer is.
“But it went the other way. So the other way means now let’s take this whole thing apart – what didn’t work out? So that’s what we went through with Caleb, and we went through his positions, with his coaching staff, the participation of the medical staff that led to the very late substitution of Bill Hamid in that game against El Salvador. We went through all the other people involved in the process. Did he really have the perfect support from everybody around him?”
Klinsmann was not finished, indicating the players had a major role in the team’s ultimate demise.
“At the end of the day, obviously you need to go through every individual player,” he said. “Did the players live up to their expectations? Did they do everything they could have done in order to make this positive? Were they at their peak or were they maybe going through a low point in that moment?
“I think some players didn’t live up to their expectations, and you need to get that message across and some players were maybe more positive. I look at a [Mix] Diskerud or I look at a Joe Corona who had positive impressions, too. So that’s part of that process. The result was a disappointment.”
Photo: Juergen Klinsmann: “Some players didn’t live up to their expectations, and you need to get that message across.” Andy Mead/YCJ
Categories: Canada, El Salvador, North America, Olympic Qualifying, U.S.A.
Tags: 2012 London Olympics, Caleb Porter, CONCACAF men's Olympic qualifying tournament, Joe Corona, Juergen Klinsmann, Mix Diskerud, U.S. Soccer