In early 2012 an E-Trade commercial aired during the New York Giants vs. New England Patriots Super Bowl. A nervous groom stood awaiting his wife to be, as the bride escorted by her father slowly approached. Also a baby boy is seated in a high chair near the groom as best man, giving comfort reassurance to the groom, while the bride is totally oblivious to it all by reveling in the ambience of the wedding ceremony.
Then after the reassurance, the bride's father who's been suspicious of the groom's ability to provide for his daughter soon tells the groom within earshot and using a hand gesture, "I'm watching you." Next the baby boy quickly comes to the groom's aid, by mimicking the hand gesture while saying to the bride's father, "Oh yeah, well I'm watching you watching him."
All eyes including my own have been on Jurgen Klinsmann, coach of the men's United States national soccer team. And this blog is not the first time I've ever mentioned Jurgen Klinsmann. For in my previous HuffPost blog titled "Star Trek vs. Star Wars: A Modern Hatfield's vs. McCoy's Feud Redux," I briefly mentioned in the fifth paragraph, last sentence about my wish that as a coach he would give the U.S. a boost for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Although the overall point of that previous blog was simply to refute the idea held by some sci-fi fans who say you can't like both Star Trek and Star Wars, for they believe it's as if saying you like both the Yankees and the Red Sox. Whereas I stated the fallacy of that, countering that the world of entertainment is vastly different than the world of sports. Even though a similarity exists in that some aspects of entertainment can be found in the world of sports.
A former striker of Germany's national team as Germany won their third World Cup title in 1990, and former team manager of Germany during the 2006 FIFA World Cup whereas Italy had won their fourth title, Jurgen Klinsmann has so far been exceptional while shaping the U.S. team. The recent win of the CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) Gold Cup victory over Panama (final 1-0) should be proof of that. And the ten game winning streak before the Gold Cup win should be more than adequate proof of that. Yet there was some early off the pitch drama over his then newly appointed leadership since he took over the helm, following up to the spring of this year.
Before going further it is not my wish to disparage former U.S. coach Bob Bradley. For as has been chronicled by Luke Cyphers and Doug McIntyre (U.S. Soccer's attitude adjustment) on August 5, 2011, Comparing Bob Bradley to Jurgen Klinsmann at ESPN Insider, Bob Bradley while a U.S. coach was an unquestionably dedicated workhorse. He had been known to do the NFL Peyton Manning equivalent, by that I mean spending hours reviewing tape. And not only has he been known to stay in touch with players on the squad, but also has been known to do personal scout missions throughout parts of Europe.
But a solid year after the June 26, 2010 U.S. loss to Ghana (1-2) in the second round of the 2010 World Cup at Rustenburg, South Africa, on July 29, 2011 U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati apparently saw to it to have Jurgen Klinsmann take over. And as usual in the sports world whenever teams go through transitions, much has been said about Klinsmann since. One such commentary is that former great players are not necessarily great as managers. Whereas one sports columnist believes that, supporting his commentary by stating all one has to do is to take a closer look at Klinsmann's tenure as Germany's manager during the 2006 World Cup.
And then there's the article titled, "Criticism of Klinsmann divides U.S. men's soccer team" by Kelly Whiteside March 21, 2013 at USA Today. For in that article there were several anonymous U.S. players who criticized Klinsmann for his persistent line-up changes, and having more reliance on German born players. But it was U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley (son of former U.S. Coach Bob Bradley who is now coach of Egypt's national team) who reportedly stepped up, calling such criticism from teammates both shameful and embarrassing.
Because come on look, the U.S. beat Honduras twice during their ten game winning streak. The first win (1-0) was at Rio Tinto Stadium on June 18, 2013, and most recently on July 24, 2013 final (3-1) at AT&T Stadium, Home of the NFL Dallas Cowboys. So in short the (1-2) loss to Honduras on February 6, 2013 at San Pedro Sula, Honduras, now seems like yesteryear.
The reason why it seems I support Klinsmann goes back three years ago. I watched him as a commentator, along with former U.S. defender Alexi Lalas as both were anchoring on ESPN during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Both talked about the French team suspension debacle while I took notes. And their commentary from my notes is as follows.
J. Klinsmann: It should not be all about egos, but they should ask themselves three questions.
What does this World Cup mean to me as a player? What does it mean to my team? And what does it mean to my country? Look at certain players like Thierry Henry. Will this be their last World Cup? I think as time goes on they will all look back and think, "I was at the World Cup which doesn't come often. I should have conducted myself better."
Following that, Alexi Lalas responded by first talking about the U.S. debacle before the 1998 World Cup. And he said that then a lot of players looked at themselves saying, "Oh, I'm young and have all the answers." But you really don't, Lalas had said before continuing onward.
A. Lalas: There are only so many World Cups. And for France to have been given such a golden opportunity that everyone knows about, to have arrived at the World Cup from the start, and this happens. They all need to regroup.
Going forward no one can really tell what Klinsmann will do. But I'd be very surprised if he decided not to keep midfielder Landon Donovan, who scored in five of the ten games winning streak. And also I'd be very surprised if he decided not to keep multi-purpose threat Brek Shea, especially after reading about him in the The Shin Guardian article on March 23, 2011, "The Jack of All Trades: Chatting with Brek Shea."
So what does all this mean? Well it means simply this. People should heed the words of Steve Davis in the Pro Soccer Talk article on May 31, 2013 titled "Everyone take a breath: The United States national team HAS been here before."
Able to speak four languages at least, and known to abhor convention, he is the second of four sons who earned a diploma as a baker, even while entering professional football at sixteen. A belief in giving back, the soft spoken down to earth man created a children's charity foundation in four countries, Germany, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Romania. He beats L.A. traffic by flying his Robinson R44 helicopter to work at the U.S. Soccer's National Training Center in Carson, CA.
Years ago I've also flown a Robinson, if only twice during midflight briefly in an R22 and both times with an instructor at my side. So at least I have one thing, if only just a minute thing, in common with this extraordinary man. And I still recall asking the instructor before we would go up, and I think also I asked my second instructor who was a petite Japanese American woman as I asked, "Can't we go up in a bigger one?"
So anyway, to those concerned about the U.S. men's national soccer team I ask you all to please let Klinsmann be Klinsmann, for he may also tell the U.S. players to ask themselves those same three questions. Beginning with, what does this World Cup mean to me as a player?
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