The Player Pool Argument

When people discuss the United States Men’s National team, sadly the discussion often centers around why the team just cannot seem to get the results that the fans would like to see. The ever present discussion of what needs to be fixed in the federation. 

There are many arguments tossed out – coaching, youth development, tactics, creativity, MLS club association and on and on.

Recently, a good friend pointed out the one argument you would hear far too often while the team was led by Jurgen Klinsmann – that the “player pool” simply was not good enough. A pass of sorts, for the coach because “What do you expect him to do when these are the players he has to work with?”

And you could even sense the excuse from Klinsmann himself as he constantly capped new players and worked to covert dual nationals into players for the American side. It seemed a grasping for straws to expand the player pool. 

When the federation ultimately moved on from Klinsmann (too late, probably) it seemed like the same argument didn’t arise when talking about Bruce Arena’s failure to dig the team out a hole in the Hex and qualify for the World Cup.

This, now, was a coaching collapse, the media and people would argue. 

So why under one coach is the failure allowed because of lack of talent in the player pool, but not under the next coach?

With the announcing of the next head coach for the USMNT in Gregg Berhalter the team starts a new era.

I hope that moving forward people stop blaming the player pool for any one coach’s failure or successes. It is the coach’s responsibility to get the most from his team at the national team level.

For the United States, the ability is there, if the coach is willing to work with the hand that is dealt.

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