Striker Clint Dempsey, above, and his USMNT teammates, training Monday in Carson, are seeking a new start to the new year Sunday at StubHub Center after a string of poor results culminated in a road loss last weekend to Chile to begin a pivotal 2015 (Photos by Staff Photographer Robert Casillas).
USMNT Jurgen Klinsmann, despite being taken to task by MLS Commissioner Don Garber for his criticism of the league and how it dovetails with the aspirations of U.S. Soccer, continued Monday to point out the shortcomings of American soccer culture ahead of Sunday’s clash with Panama in Carson.
“The (foreign) teams that have peer pressure in their environment allow themselves to drop 10 or 20 percent not 30 or 40 percent; that is the difference with what we deal with in the aftermath of the World Cup,” he said. “Their club environment puts them back on their toes. … Our players are not there yet educationally or mentally to understand the dynamic so they lose their spots on their European teams or they drop 30 or 40 percent in MLS.”
I was just in awe,” Zardes told reporters Monday after his first training session of the email he received from national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann inviting him to camp. “When I was in Hawthhorne this was a dream. It’s what you dream about.”
Klinsmann has spoken of the importance of players like Zardes’ attacking partner on the Galaxy, Robbie Keane, and recently-signed EPL veteran Steven Gerrard and their role in grooming up and coming youngsters:
“Theyre doing a tremendous amount of work getting our players to another level. These are the guys we need in the United States to help our guys grow even faster.”
“Robbie Keane is a phenomenal player and I’m a student of the game and I just try to learn as much as I can from the veterans like these guys who are on the national team,” he said, adding that he is looking forward to seeing Keane, who had brief spell at Liverpool, and Gerrard reunited with the Galaxy.