I was hoping to see someone come out to counter what's been written which would mean the article I posted was off base & here we go from none other than Carlos Bocanegra & Tim Howard.
Carlos Bocanegra takes to Facebook, gives defense of Klinsmann
Richard Farley Mar 20, 2013, 12:35 PM EDT
If Carlos Bocanegra really was broken hearted, he got over it.
That was the distraught picture painted by an anonymous player in yesterday’s buzzworthy piece, but judging by what the U.S. men’s national team captain posted to Facebook last night, he was either never as crestfallen as described or is showing an admirable amount of resiliency.
Posting to his Facebook page last night, Bocanegra provided a tacit defense of Jurgen Klinsmann, lauding one aspect of his coach’s communication style while providing some perspective on a coach’s prerogative:
"During the last 18 months Jurgen has introduced a lot of new ideas to the team and has a vision of how he wants to grow the program. Every coach around the world has his own style and methods. He has always been up front with players about where they stand and where he sees them going. Not every player is going to be happy with all of the decisions and methods, but he will tell you to your face where you stand. From a coach, that is the best thing you could ask for. One of the greatest strengths of this team has always been our unity and spirit, and we all remain committed to the cause of qualifying for the World Cup."
Let’s go ahead and read way too much into this.
One possibility holds Bocanegra has put aside his broken heart (another person’s diagnosis) and taken the high road, electing to issue a pacifying statement with the hopes that it can defuse the potentially distracting controversy. Even from Spain, the captain’s providing leadership. He may not be happy with situation, and he could very well share all the concerns that came out this week. But as far as his public face is concerned? He’s the captain.
Another other possibility: Bocanegra is being earnest and just stating the obvious. After Tuesday’s early backlash, he felt it was important to provide a more level-headed perspective. Yes, there are unhappy players, but “[n]ot every player is going to be happy.” Klinsmann’s “vision” is “new”, but “[e]very coach around the world has his own style and methods.”
Much like the Sporting News piece, Bocanegra’s embodies both sides of the debate. Klinsmann has changed things, but players know that, and they know why. According to Bocanegra, “that is the best thing you could ask for.” At some point, players need to adjust.
Here's some more on the situation including a quote from Howard.http://prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/2013/03/20/tim-howard-jurgen-klinsmann-usmnt-united-states-mens-national-team/
Tim Howard next to defuse U.S. man’s national team controversy (and the developing picture)
Richard Farley Mar 20, 2013, 2:20 PM EDT
The piece that’s become the talk of the U.S. Soccer world was already a six-of-one-half kind of story, but with a couple of veterans going on record to clarify some of the depictions given to the Sporting News, if feels like there’s some record-straightening going on. Carlos Bocanegra was quick to respond via his Facebook, talking up some of Jurgen Klinsmann’s positive qualities. Now Tim Howard’s gone on record with Soccer by Ives to address the idea of a locker room divided. If Steve Cherundolo and Clint Dempsey chime in, this story may get double back on itself. Or worse.
First, let’s talk Tim Howard. The Everton keeper is out of this week’s qualifiers with broken bones in his back. When he’s in the team, he’s recognized as one of the its leaders, a status that makes his comments to SBI all the more meaningful:
“Our team has always been made up of players who come from different backgrounds, which has been a source of strength for the group. No matter where players are from, the pride in wearing the U.S. shirt is the only thing that matter (sic) to us.
“We have a great group of guys who are all committed to the cause, and the morale and the camaraderie remains high. We are completely unified in our ultimate goal, which is to qualify for the World Cup.”
Obviously these comments only speak to one of many concerns raised by players in Sporting News’ work, but the idea of a divided locker room — one which pitted German-American in a type of culturally-driven split — was one of the more concerning aspects of yesterday’s feature. But between Bocanegra and Howard we have two players who’ve alluded to they unity (Bocanegra’s word) and camaraderie (Howard’s) as a plus. If the locker room isn’t exactly fraternal, I’m inclined to think it’s tenable.
This also gets back to what we discussed in the Bocanegra post. Are these comments just window dressing from a leader or an earnest rebuttal? Given Bocanegra’s role in the team, you can see the virtues of maintaining a public face. But Howard? He’s not the captain. He could stay quiet, yet he’s spoken out.
We’ll double back on this later today, but these two public clarifications bring up a number of concerns:
First, this story may have more legs and angles than we thought. If the Sporting News’ story was allowed to run its course, it might die out or be overshadowed come Friday – a one-time bomb. But the life cycle for this story may be longer than we thought (and even from the team’s point of view, that may not be a bad thing).
Second, a locker room divided on cultural lines? You don’t say. Shock-gasp-awe. That doesn’t mean the locker room is poisonous, about to explode, or even out of the ordinary. This is just how people tend to organize themselves, for better or worse. More on this later.
Third, the Sporting News claimed 22 sources in and around the team, all with a certain level of knowledge of U.S. Soccer. It might be time for us to start seriously considering who these sources could be, because it’s no secret that Klinsmann’s hiring has never been fully loved by the entire establishment. If a revered team member is giving up the worst on Klinsmann, that’s telling. If it’s a former player who never agreed with the hire in the first place, we need to consider the comments in a completely different light.
Fourth, there is the risk of a backlash overshadowing the real issues. The concerns brought up by Sporting News are real. The question is more of magnitude than existence. Comments like Bocanegra’s or Howard’s shouldn’t be used to disregard the findings from SN’s work.
And finally, the more people that come out clarifying this story, the easy it’s going to be to identify those anonymous sources. And if you think things are bad now (and they’re not, really), it could get worse if people are able to zero in on the dissectors who helped light a powder keg before a World Cup qualifier.