The much-talked about ‘Boot Camp’ to which Jurgen Klinsmann has subjected his players fits neatly with the “notoriety” the German coach has brought to the job, according to former USA goalkeeper Brad Friedel.
Klinsmann was criticized in some quarters after calling in his 30-man preliminary squad for heavy-duty training right after the end of their domestic seasons. They are currently undergoing an intensive, two-week work-out in California, leading up to a May 27 exhibition with Azerbaijan at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park.
However Friedel, our Sony expert covering the American team, defends the practice. “Taking the players away to a camp right after the end of the season going into the World Cup I think is the norm, I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” he said. “You have to go through yet another mini pre-season.
“I think Jurgen has brought in more of a worldwide notoriety to the job, because of what he did as a player and as manager of Germany.
“He played the game and he’ll know the players have played many long minutes in their European seasons. But I’m sure he’ll be sensible and I don’t think you’ll hear too many grumblings from US players. We’re very determined, very fit. We don’t mind the hard work.”
Friedel hailed the professionalism he sees in the USA squad. “I don’t think you’ll hear any of the nonsense stories we heard from the England camp [in South Africa four years ago] about players being bored,” he added. “In the US it’s a little more subservient when it comes to things like that.”
Friedel believes Klinsmann has brought plenty more to the party. “I think he’s brought in a different system of play that the US hasn’t been accustomed to. He’s also instilled a little bit of a system where you have to playing well with your club team to be considered for the national team – no matter what your last name is – and that hasn’t always been the case.
“He’s going to play a player he thinks fits the system regardless of whether some newspaper or other factions in the US think he should play someone else.”