GLASGOW, Scotland – The talent pool for the US national team has become so diversified over the past two years under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, he simply can’t run the show from the States all by himself anymore.
Ahead of the US team’s international friendly against Scotland on Friday (3 pm ET, ESPN, UniMas), Klinsmann told media assembled here that U.S. Soccer has actually established something a satellite base in Europe to scout potential players for the future and keep an eye on the ones who will figure into the team’s plans for Brazil next summer.
“Our setup is a bit different to most other countries, and that presents a challenge,” Klinsmann said during a press conference Thursday at Hampden Park. “Our players are spread out across Europe – Italy, Germany, England, France, Scandinavia – so we decided it was worthwhile to build a European office.”
Assistant coach and former Austrian international Andreas Herzog runs the base from Vienna, along with former Bundesliga player and manager Matthias Hamann serving as the chief scout for potential US players.
“We have a lot of young players coming through with dual citizenship, so it was important for us to have a presence here in Europe,” Klinsmann said. “It means that when the players have any issues wherever they play we have our coaching staff instantly on hand. It also means we can closely monitor what is happening in Europe. Martin Vasquez is also linked to the Mexican players in the same way.”
With the MLS playoffs still in full swing, Klinsmann has focused on selecting a heavily Europe-based team for Friday’s game against Scotland and a matchup against Austria next week, with the roster complemented by players whose clubs failed to progress further in the postseason.
“I talked to every player who we were considering from MLS before we selected the squad,” said Klinsmann. “We altered our selection according to which players were still involved in the playoffs.
“It worked out fine in terms of building a deeper roster and it’s one of the main reasons we have tried to deepen the roster over the whole year, so that we can deal with these kind of situations,” he said. “I talked to all the coaches who it would affect and there was no problem there either.”
With the World Cup fast approaching these opportunities cannot be squandered by players on the fringes of the squad, and Klinsmann stressed what his players must do if they are to punch their ticket to Brazil.
“Players need to be playing week in, week out for their clubs,” he said. “Within the national team environment they only have a few games and a few training sessions to impress, so we need to be watching them every week.
“When we call them into the camp it’s important that they get a feel for the team and the chemistry of the group,” he added. “If they are not ready for the World Cup, then maybe these experiences will get them ready for the Olympics in 2016, which is also important to us.”