German connection a good fit for US National Team

The problem with American soccer is twofold: a lack of elite talent and poor style of play. Correcting one without the other won’t bring the US to international prominence, but you won’t get anywhere without changing the boot-it-and-run American mentality first. Thus, new national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s German connections are ideal.

In Europe and South America, possession and aggressive passing are the basis of every team’s character. In America, packing the back line and booting the ball to a talented playmaker or two is how players grow up. It’s no surprise then that once the talent starts to even out as players age, only exceptional playermakers can cut through tighter and tighter spaces. America has never produced a Lionel Messi, so instead, the style must change. Germany is the perfect model for the Americans.

The US squad has size, and moderate speed and skill. With that package, a disciplined attack relying on effective crosses and owning the aerial attack is likely to produce the best results. If there’s one team that traditionally has played in that manner, it’s Klinsmann’s homeland. So, sending youngsters such as the vertically blessed Breck Shea over to European club teams (and others specifically to German clubs) is a perfect way to improve both the talent level and the style of play. Klinsmann has also brought over new German players with enough American heritage to play for Uncle Sam. Together, these two moves should pay off in the long term, although the results have thus far been scanty.

After World War II, the US realized that without a strong Europe, there would be no one to buy its goods, so the Marshall Plan was instigated. Klinsmann appears to be building his own plan, only instead of bringing the American free market across the Atlantic, he’s taking the German style of play to the sleeping giant of soccer.