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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


Klinsmann In Charge & What To Do With The Europa League

Written by on August 18, 2011 | 3 Comments »
Posted in Ask the Extra

Q from Mark

Following the recent Jurgen Klinsmann news conference I read one interesting comment (I can’t remember where exactly) that said, in effect, Klinsi isn’t gunning to be the US men’s (national team) coach but rather he wants to do Gulati’s job.

At least he recognizes that what’s at issue for the US isn’t so much the performance of the National Team in the near term (which will doubtfully improve much under his “tutelage”) but rather a re-evaluation of the whole system

How much of a threat do you think Gulati feels from this assertion? Do you foresee difficult times ahead for the two to work together?

If Klinsi fails to improve the performance of the US team to everyone’s expectations, how much leeway will he be given to carry out his redevelopment plan?

Does Gulati loose if Jurgen Klinsmann is either a success or a failure? Who can replace Gulati?

Whoever wrote that is wildly off the mark and doesn’t understand the governance of USSF and other federations around the world.  Gulati is President of USSF – he is elected by USSF members essentially as a volunteer.

The job is not advertised. USSF have a paid staff with Dan Flynn  

“At least he recognizes that what’s at issue for the US isn’t so much the performance of the National Team in the near term (which will doubtfully improve much under his “tutelage”) but rather a re-evaluation of the whole system.” – not clear who the “he” in sentence refers to.

In my opinion it is not “he” but “they” – Gulati would not have hired Klinsmann if he didn’t think the whole system needed retooled and Klinsmann in my opinion would not have taken the job if he didn’t think that retooling was part of his mandate.

Shifts of seismic proportions are never accomplished by reasonable people – Gulati knows that (despite the common opinion he is an extremely smart and politically savvy). Klinsmann will push hard and Gulati knows that he has to allow that.

Credibility comes from past and present success so undoubtedly the performance of the US men’s team will impact on the political capital Klinsmann can call on to push changes through.

That is one of the reasons that I think you will only see Klinsmann in charge for one World Cup then he will move aside and allow an assistant to take over. He will then continue to oversee the overall structure of the technical and development side.

A replacement for Gulati, when it comes, will come from the established areas of the USSF and its constituencies not from hired staff – which is what Klinsmann is. Dan Flynn is the most senior organizational employee as CEO.   

Q from Coriandre

Is Jamaica’s new run of form now proof that they are a true contender for qualifying for the 2014 world up and apart of the top 4 of CONCACAF?  

I think it puts them into a position where they are considered a threat but I would not consider Jamaica to be one of the favourites to make the top four.

Mexico, US, Honduras and Costa Rica still have to be considered as the teams to beat although at the moment Costa Rico might be considered the most susceptible of the big four – the Arsenal of CONCACAF perhaps!

Then comes the next tier of teams who if things go well and they hit a hot streak then good things might happen. Jamaica would be part of that group along with Panama, Canada, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Jamaica has one advantage over the likes of Canada and that is that generally over the last few years they have had a far better home record.

Based on what I saw at the Gold Cup Theodore Whitmore has added a level of defensive organization that has often been missing in the past.

Nonetheless Jamaica seemed to be more functional than creative in the midfield.

Q from Alec

Should the winner of the Europa League be given a Champions League berth?

Much like your idea that the FA Cup winner should be given one, I think it would revitalize the competition which has only been around a few years but is already under so much criticism.

Any system works best when the correct incentives are built in. In the case of the Europa League there just isn’t a big enough incentive built-in for many teams (particularly English sides) to bother fielding a full strength team.

Simply, there is more to be gained by focusing on the domestic league than the Europa League.

The only incentives at the moment are the experience gained and the chance to improve both the team and country coefficient.

I have supported the idea of granting the FA Cup winner (and other domestic cup winners) a place in the Champions League – particularly in the case where we a country has four places allotted.

And before I get comments about sub-par sides qualifying and ruining England’s UEFA co-efficient I would point out that England’s lead in the co-efficient table is so great at the moment there would be nothing to fear in a pilot program for two to three years.

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3 responses to “Klinsmann In Charge & What To Do With The Europa League”

  1. I have come to the position that USSoccer will only be changed by club actions, not USSoccer or a national team coach.
    The premier league was the big changer in the FA, a bunch of clubs came together and changed the game. In the same token, clubs in the States have to make that change. It will not be USSoccer or a national team coach. Now, to what exact change and which exact clubs, I have no idea. I have my wishes and desires but, Klinsmann nor Sulati will have anything to do with any real change in my view.

  2. Soccerlogical says:

    Hasn’t it just been decided that Ally McCoist the new USA player coach and Klinsmann the new President of USSF?

  3. Joseph says:

    Europa Cup winner should get spot in Champions League group stage. That is a big incentive both financially, and at least temporarily, in stature for a team like Stoke City or Hannover that rank behind the financial giants in their domestic league.

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