Landon Donovan is on walkabout. Tim Howard's got a bad back. And Carlos Bocanegra can't see the field. So US manager Jurgen Klinsmann had an armband available this week and his usual suspects were nowhere to be found.
And after passing on naming his captain on Monday, Klinsmann bestowed the honor on Clint Dempsey two days later, explaining the Tottenham midfielder was ready to shoulder the responsibilities despite some recent fitness issues.
“Clint is one of our most experienced players and ready to assume a more vocal leadership role,” Klinsmann said in a statement. “He has been huge for us in World Cup qualifying so far and is already one of our key leaders. We know he will do a great job for these two important games.”
But should it be Klinsmann's decision and his alone? Does the coach hold unilateral decision-making responsibilities or should it be put to a player vote?
Let us know what you think in the comment section below and stay tuned for coverage of the USMNT's upcoming World Cup qualifier vs. Costa Rica on MLSsoccer.com.
Time for The Big Debate.
|The Argument||A true captain is voted by his constituents||Coach makes the call|
The function of a captain is to represent the members of his squad and their interests in front of the coaching staff, the referee and the media. Let the players determine who they want as their spokesperson. Unless a coach doesn't trust the judgement or the group dynamic inside his squad, the players should always be allowed to pick their leader. Otherwise the captain's ability to lead can be seriously undercut before he ever has a chance to don the armband.
This is an absolute no brainer. The coach chooses the lineup best suited to earn a result — in their opinion, of course — and he or she should also have the final say when it comes to who's best suited to lead the side. Pitting players against one another for the right to wear the armband seems counterproductive and, frankly, divisive. Of course, internal politics must be taken into consideration, but if a coach doesn't have a firm handle on that dynamic, they've got bigger problems than deciding on a captain.
Who do you agree with? Let us know in the comments below.