Arena sounds off on USMNT in ESPN interview

Bruce Arena

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Jurgen Klinsmann’s tenure as U.S. Men’s National Team manager was never going to be easy, but he’s hit some rocky slopes recently as his team train in Denver ahead of a crucial World Cup Qualifying match against Costa Rica on Friday.

First, the Sporting News reported about internal strife in the U.S. camp, with certain players sharing their displeasure at the current state of affairs. And now, in an interview that will appear in the April 1 edition of ESPN The Magazine, Former U.S. coach Bruce Arena has made his feelings known (note: subscription necessary) on what he considers someone who should play for the national team.

“Players on the national team should be — and this is my own feeling — they should be Americans,” Arena told ESPN the Magazine’s Doug McIntyre. “If they’re all born in other countries, I don’t think we can say we are making progress.”

One of the controversial quotes from the Sporting News article was about the perceived divide in the locker room, between the foreign-born players, specifically from Germany and those that grew up in the United States. This quote from Arena reaffirms that those issues do exist in one form or another within the American soccer community.

What do you think of this news? Do you believe Arena chose his words correctly?

Share your thoughts below.

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185 Responses to Arena sounds off on USMNT in ESPN interview

  1. No says:

    Shut your yap, Bruce.

    • Josh D says:

      This. He still sounds bitter about the USMNT. His views didn’t stop him from starting foreign born players.

      • Eugene says:

        Arena is obnoxious and xenophobic. I would NEVER want him back as US-MNT — I can’t ever forgive him for the 2006 debacle. It was THAT bad.

    • Rooney's Hair Piece says:

      +1,000. I am very proud to have Jones, Chandler, Boyd, Williams, & J.A. Brooks (hopefully), playing for the USA. It is this kind of garbage thinking in Germany that caused them to play for the US over Germany in the first place. Arena probably also believes we should not have a coach born outside of the US too.

      • Hogatroge says:

        Jones busts his butt every game for the US, even if he has a bad game.

        Fabian didn’t hesitate for a second to become cap-tied to the US, even as he was becoming prominent as one of the best fullbacks in the Bundesliga. Neither did Danny Williams.

        Boyd seems genuinely happy to be a part of the team as well and obviously gets along well with all the other guys around his own age.

        No matter what Arena thinks, these guys are legally Americans just as much as any of us, even if they weren’t raised in the culture.

    • Kosh says:

      Hear, hear!!

      With small mindedness like this one can leap to the conclusion that our player pool would look very different and we would have the same guys doing the same-old, same-old. Like many on here, Arena is entitled to his opinions but that does not make the me right. For me these statements are an embarrassment and I hope him and his ilk are never in considered candidates to lead our National Team.

      • Lorenzo says:

        I think it is worth noting that the sensitivity of it is based on the fact that people really want guys who care to be a part of our national team. Sometimes that can lead to wrong conclusions.

        Personally I understand the side that says “I don’t want you to be here just because you couldn’t make the German national team”. We want people who really want to be a part of it.

        The same reason someone might question how Jones could feel strongly connected to the USA without living here or getting much of America, is the reason we question how could Rossi have ditched us after being born and raised here. When Gyau made comments about Ghana over USA, it bothered us. Chandler’s hold out for Germany bothered many of us. John Anthony Brooks joining the Germany youth team bothers us. Americans have a sometimes over the top amount of pride in our country. It doesn’t have anything to do with Black, White, Hispanic, Spanish, Mezo, Asian, etc. It’s all about the dedication to our country.

        I welcome players in from other countries of birth and different childhood backgrounds. I will say being the back up choice for less then passionate players is not what we want to be.

        I think if the Chandler thing didn’t happen the whole sensitivity to it would not be such an issue.

        • Lil' Zeke says:

          Like Everton’s the back up for goalkeepers who can’t hack it at Man U? People end-up places for all different reasons, and if they happen to make us better in the process, then win-freaking-win.

        • scott47a says:

          You, my friend, are a sensitive soul.

        • Eugene says:

          Look, whatever a player decides, he just needs to be dedicated to it. A lot of our players, whether born outside the US or IN the US have the option to play for a variety of national teams because they are sons of immigrants. Giuseppe Rossi is no less American because he decided to play for Italy — he just followed his dream. Same with a lot of the guys who have gone to play for club teams down in Mexico, instead of MLS. There were foreign-born players on our national team before Arena’s tenure as well. We just have to accept that for a global sport like soccer, people have options on which national team to play for and make their choices for a variety of reasons. That doesn’t make them any less “American”, or any less committed, and it doesn’t speak to the quality of the players that were raised in the US. It’s just a national team coach picking the best possible players he can find for a given position.

        • Mc says:

          Players should be able to chose to play for which ever country they want if they are eligible. Arguing about whether or not they could have made the other national team is senseless, there is no way of actually knowing, just speculation. With an exception of Chandler, I have not seen any reason to question the other German Americans, and I think it’s silly to do so. We need multiple cultures to represent this country, since that is our strength. Not to get all patriotic or anything, it just makes sense.

      • Joel says:

        Bruce has never been known for his tact, but I think the reaction here is too harsh. He’s right in the sense that finding talented German-Americans for the USMNT helps in the short term, but it doesn’t address the more important question of player development in the US. He’s not being racist, just realistic; we will never compete with Germany if our strategy is to recruit the players who weren’t good enough to play for Germany.

    • Old School says:

      “Players on the national team should be — and this is my own feeling — they should be Americans,” Arena told ESPN the Magazine’s Doug McIntyre. “If they’re all born in other countries, I don’t think we can say we are making progress.”

      Was this Lou Dobbs or Bruce Arena?

      I think it’s incredibly offensive to not associate children born overseas by people serving as American.

      Shame on you Bruce. That was an embarrassing indictment on your own ignorance I was unaware of.

      • scott47a says:

        Here, here.
        My father served overseas more than once for his country. American men serving the U.S. Military overseas should never, ever have their patriotism questioned, no matter who they end up sleeping with or marrying.

      • Eugene says:

        100% agree. Its completely offensive, considering these are the children of American service men and women ostensibly protecting our country, our freedom and our rights by serving in our armed forces.

    • Mike Caramba says:

      Ironic, coming form a guy whose most notable World Cup squad featured players born in Colombia, Martinique, Switzerland, Argentina, and the Netherlands.

    • V-8 says:

      He should stick with lacrosse.

    • jayk says:

      your comment is brutal but also right on. i say A MEN!!!!

    • Riggity says:

      Thank you so much, the guys mouth never stops running and you know he is hoping we blow the next two games so more people will come on here and say he should take over and feed his already massive ego. As the son of an American soldier who was based in Germany it’s really sad to think that if I was born over there and lived there that people here wouldn’t view me as “American enough” to represent the country my father put his life on the line for.

  2. KJ says:

    Wow. Very ignorant.

    • BrianK says:

      Woooow! Steeped in ignorance!

      1. Let’s think about this,….Hugo Perez, Boris Bandov, Marc Livric, Tab Ramos, Claudio Reyna, Mike Windischmann, Tom Dooley, Jeff Agoos, Werner Roth, Ernie Stewart, Roy Wegerle, the little left fullback from Uruguay who played in ’94 (?),…pretty sure these guys were not born in the US. At least half-dozen Hall of Famers.

      2. These guys like Boyd, Williams, Johnson, Jones,….like Dooley before them are American! Since when is it up to Bruce Arena to decide who is American and who is not?

      I cannot believe Bruce is being so ridiculous. His comments are shameful.

      • scott47a says:

        I believe it.
        And just yesterday we had people on this board calling for JK to be firred and to be replaced by this little dictator. How soon people forget.

  3. Doug says:

    Remember David Regis?

    • Eric says:

      …or Earnie Stewart, or Tab Ramos…

      • mike says:

        Yes, but they all actually live in the USA, no? I hear the amen corner loud and clear. But I think there is something to what Arena says. Well, first, have any of you read/seen the interview yet? No. So, shut up. You’re taking everything out of context (or not, I don’t know yet either) and falling for the sensationalism hook, line and sinker. Everything else right now is second guessing really. But since we are second guessing might his comment just as likely mean let’s have people involved in our national team who give a sheit. And that includes the whingers who complained to the press and didn’t have the sense to address the issue in a way that arguably could only make the situation worse.

        • Joe+G says:

          The whole interview isn’t a lot bigger than this blog post and this is all he said about the subject.

          I get that grabbing most of our roster out of other countries’ development systems isn’t the best way to make sure we have a healthy system here, but he really did a horrible job of explaining that.

        • Tweaked says:

          Earnie played for DCU during the 2003-04 season, the rest of his career was spent in the Netherlands. And few people would question Earne’s dedication to the USMNT.

    • CCJC says:

      +100 My thoughts exactly Doug.

    • Ricardo says:

      Regis played for Sampson

      • drew11 says:

        Carlos Llamosa. Naturalized citizen, I believe Arena gave him his first cap.

        Surprisinglu Arena wasn’t so selective when he needed a centerback for the USMNT.

  4. chris says:

    what about arenas boy Pablo Mastroeni?

    • Kc says:

      Not a good example. Pablo played youth club and high school soccer in Phoenix.

    • Johnny says:

      Pablo is an American…nice try though

      • 2tone says:

        Uhm Pablo was born in Argentina. Read Bruce’s comments again.

        Bruce stated that players that aren’t born in the US should not be on the USMNT.

      • Bruce says:

        Nice try Johnny. Arena stated “if they are all born in other countries…” Pablo was born in Mendoza, Argentina. That’s precisely the problem with this statement – it is an indefensible and incomprehensible generalization. He surely intended to say something more nuanced (at least I would like to think so) but ended up spewing out stupidity instead. This is a perfect opportunity for him to apologize and clarify.

  5. Scott says:

    Come on Arenas. You’re better than that. Completely disagree with what your definition of American is .

    • Sandtrout says:

      I get what Arena is saying, even though his choice of words is a little too broad. Strictly speaking, those German-born players are Americans. But I think he’s right that at this stage we shouldn’t be going to Germany to beg FIVE players to come play for us. Fabian Johnson is special. The rest? Even Jermaine Jones we could do without: He’s useful, but he’s a lot like Bradley in the role he plays. If he’s going to be obsessed with any dual nationals, it should be Mexican-Americans not Germans.

      • Drew says:

        Yea lets go grab some Mexican Americans. That will wound the Mexican FA so bad. #butthurt

      • Scott says:

        If he had said something like, “the pursuit of the German-Americans has caused some resentment from the group of USMNT players who have been the the system for a long time”, I could have seen where he was coming from. to me, this was something completely different.

      • Ed says:

        After looking at this, i think his point is that if the US continues to fill our senior roster by plucking people abroad who never worked their way through the US youth program as kids, it could potentially be damaging to our domestic development and growth of the sport here.

        To that extent, i think he’s spot on. It was just a bad choice of words..

        • Ryan says:

          This is to a T what I feel he is saying and he is completely right, however, the way he said it sounds a bit prejudice.

          • Dimidri says:

            To be fair, I don’t think a national team has to be produced by the country they play for-if I move to Arsenal at age 11 because I want to receive the best training that does not in anyway alter the identity I have crafted for myself during those 11 years.

            The ideas that national teams have to develop their own players privileges countries that are already soccer rich, Didier Drogba, the face of African soccer, would never have played for the Ivory Coast under such a system.

            I also think both the Strauss article and these comments prove a point I made a month ago-Danny Williams, Jermaine Jones and Terrence Boyd all pretty clearly to me meet the “minimal eligibility requirement” for me to feel it is fair for us to use them and we are not cheating. I’m sure Fabian Johnson, the one of the bunch who had the best chance of playing for Germany someday does as well. I really think playing a guy like Chandler just to win even if he probably does not feel a tie to the point where it’s not unfair for us to use him hurts the overall view of the American-German contingent. I think by saying “we care about more than just winning, we care about using players who are American in more than just name like Boyd, etc.” these divides would be much shallower.

            • Monty says:

              Not really there is a difference between a player moving to a different nation to further their career and a player growing up in a different nation all together. Drogba moved to France at a young age to further his soccer career just like how Jonathan Spector moved to England at a young age to further his career or even someone like Joe Corona moving to Mexico to further his career.

              • al17 says:

                Drogba moved to France at age 6yrs old for Familial reasons, mainly education and opportunities for a better life. Not for Football reasons at all. He’s been fortunate to make a living as a Footballer but the goal was for him to get a Great Education and a better life for he and his family.

          • Benny says:

            That is exactly what he means. We can only read this little quote. There was probably more said off the record.

            • Madaoua05 says:

              I think the more apropos examples are players such as Frederic Kanoute, Mohammad Sissoko, and Demba Ba. These players were born and raised in France, and yet chose to represent the country where at least one of their parents is from. Are they ostracized and heckled when they play for Mali or Senegal? I don’t know, but I doubt it.

              I think that this entire debate would be irrelevant if the US team were producing quality results. Sure, there may be a few disenfranchised fringe national team players because their spots on the squad were usurped, but I guarantee that their grumpiness would be drowned out.

        • Kosh says:

          So we are either reading into or parsing what Arena said or taking anonymous quotes from the Straus piece at face value? I love the interwebs.

          Anywhoodle – here you are again with another criterion. You don’t have to work your way up the Nat Teams ranks to represent the full side. I don’t think that is what Arena is saying either (even when coating his comments with our own biases).

          This is a huge country and our program does not have its act straight yet. They are working on it but we have a way to go. Take Yedlin for instance. Regardless we have a lot of Americans playing the game and developing their game all over the world. We will miss a few and while that shows that US Soccer has some work to do it does not mean that our youth development is in jeopardy or in trouble or whatever internet sensational thing people can come up with. We are behind the game. We’re getting there but we must admit that we are behind in youth development.

          But to say an American must work their way up the Nats system is ridiculous. These arguments remind me of the tings I heard in high school ball when I used to coach my kids. Talk about why the development system is behind.

          • jayk says:

            even if Arena meant members of USMNT must go thru’ the US system, it is still an incredibly STUPID statement. in US govt, major US corporations, you have a lot of foreign nationals, who acquired their expertise outside US, and Arena said because they did not go thru’ US system?

            more significantly, we need the best players to represent US. not US home system or where the guy was born.

        • Booker Reese says:

          This sort of gets at it, but I think you’ve got it backwards – it’s not that these foreigners damage our development, it’s that it’s an indictment of U.S. Soccer.

          Arena is almost always ham-handed with his words, but he’s right – if we are always searching for foreign-born/raised players, we are doing something wrong in this country in terms of developing soccer players. We aren’t making “progress” as he puts it.

          It’s one thing to feature guys like Dooley, Stewart, et. al., when the U.S. had no professional outlet for players, when most youth coaching involved parents who didn’t know the game, etc. But the MLS has been around for well over a decade. More of our players are finding professional gigs overseas. Youth coaching may not be where it needs to be across the board, but it’s night and day from where it used to be and there are more kids playing everywhere. Shouldn’t more of our players have come through our system by now? In 2006, we didn’t have a single foreign-born player.

          It’s not a personal attack on foreigners. As people have pointed out, he used them on his teams. Do people honestly think he’s ignorant of that fact?

          And while we are on the subject, can we stop the nonsense with the recitation of ex-players with foreign backgrounds? Does anybody really think there’s no difference between the Swiss-born son of a U.S. Diplomat who was raised in Dallas, and rose through the US youth national ranks and a Martinique-born, French-raised player who married an American woman and only qualified in time for ’98 due to some immigration law loopholes that required his wife to change jobs?

      • Riggity says:

        At this stage we shouldn’t be begging five German-Americans to play for us…I wasn’t aware we literally begged anyone but my bigger question is, what elevated stage do yo think American soccer is at? Look at the talent on the field, as far as I’m concerned if your an American citizen and one of our best players, REGARDLESS OF WHERE YO PLAYED SOCCER WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG(seriously, think how stupid that is, you didn’t play soccer in America when you were young and you lived in another country, so you shouldn’t represent the country yo have citizenship in) YOU NEED TOO PLAY.

  6. Alex says:

    I’m gonna agree with the guy to an extent here. I’m not going to call into question their “Americanness” or their commitment to the team. I think THAT is unfair and xenophobic.

    BUT. If Arena’s point is that it doesn’t show progress for American soccer, that’s true. We didn’t develop these players. Their success, for club and country, isn’t reflective of the development process in America. I don’t mind having them playing for us. I mean, as far as I’m concerned, they’re Americans, and if they want to work their asses off for us, play them! But to not reflective of the progress American soccer has made.

    • SuperChivo says:

      Well said, although I feel strongly that it is not up to the national team coach to decide who is “American enough” to wear the colors. I hope that he clarifies this and steps away from any appearance of xenophobia. The US needs to do a better job developing players, but any citizen should be able to represent the colors if he is good enough.

  7. Dave says:

    Then no team in Europe clubs would be worth a damn

  8. el bastardo says:

    …or Preki?

  9. Gnarls says:

    There are two ways to interpret Bruce’s comments. Seems most here assume he’s making a xenophobic statement about the national origins of Jones, Williams, and Johnson. I highly doubt that was his intention. I take his words as a judgement of the lack of quality Americans-born players, stated in motivational, coach-y way. He did end with, “… I don’t think we’re making progress,” seemingly referring to the underwhelming development of American youth players.

  10. swoopy says:

    I’d like Arena to tell that to the face of the American serviceman or woman that his/her kid is not an American. Nice job.

    • chris says:

      Please just because you have one american parent doesn’t make you american. Being American isnt some ethnicity. Most of those service men are back in the US while the germans stayed in germany. You can’t honestly call yourself american when you’ve never spent time living in the US or spent time in the US soccer system. None of the germans

      • Nick says:

        First, you’re wrong at the deepest level possible. Second, I could formulate a pretty good argument that you are in fact less of an American than any of the German-American players with that attitude.

      • Al_OC says:

        So if you were born in Germany and are aspired to be a pro soccer player, you would go back to the US to make yourself better?

      • drew11 says:

        Chris, read a U. S. history book and go visit a national cemetery. Then get back to us about who is “American”.

        • chris says:

          Hahaha I got a 5 on my AP US history test. I’ve had family members die in WW2, Vietnam and Iraq. America was founded by people who went out of their way to COME to the US and live in THIS country. I don’t care what race you are if you want to represent the country you grew up in. Agudelo is one of my favorite players. I have no problem with the Gyau’s of this country leaving young to go to european academys. What I have a problem with is players that haven’t lived in this country being called in when very few have shown to be better than other domestic options for a team that needs to have commradere and unity.

          • Byrdmanhsv10 says:

            You are wrong in that the fact that they play in the Bundesliga first division, by all accounts a top five league in the world, evidences that they have proved they are better than somebody playing in Scotland or MLS or …. Obviously each league will have a few stars that exceed the mold. My point is they have proven themselves.

          • Unnamed says:

            Chris this is no longer the American that we all once knew and loved and you are not entitled to your opinions. Keep in mind we no longer live in a democracy.

          • Wow.a5inAPHistory! says:

            Not that anyone, myself included, will come back to read this (well maybe I’ll check back once) but here’s my critique Chris. To establish credibility I will see your 5 in ap history with my own, and raise you a bachelors degree in history magna cum laude. Anyways,

            This country was founded by plenty of people who weren’t looking for a better life. Such as any of our Germericans American ancestors, who were in all likelihood slaves. Native Americans also take issue with that, as well as the prisoners sent to Georgia. There’s also the people who were part of other nations who were annexed (louisiana and the Mexican cession, puerto Rico, Hawaii etc) who while not part of the original 13 colonies are still American. Point being, we’re all mutts, USA is a country that grants citizenship clearly and these guys apply.

            All that aside, I see why people get butt-hurt by dual nationals. But it’s stupid to hold soccer players to a higher standard than the clearly defined laws of the country. Complain about the fact that we grant dual nationality or that there’s no requirement for living here for dual nations. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy having some good talent available for my national team.

            • jayk says:

              listen. if you are working/living in germany and you are american. that means you pay BOTH german and US income taxes!! so having dual citizenship is not necessarily good for your wallet.

              • revenue agent says:

                You are incorrect on the tax 411. The tax code has foreign tax credits and exemptions that prevent double taxation. It’s unusual for an individual tax payer to pay more, yes in some cases they may but nothing substantial

          • 2pac shakur says:

            Dear Chris….. If the USMNT should be reflective of the citizens of the country as you are clearly asserting I feel I have

        • M says:

          Thats not a fair comparison. It took 2 years to convince chandler to play a soccer game for us, I doubt he’ll be enlisting.

      • Kosh says:

        You never pass up on the opportunity to embarrass yourself do you?

        I tried staying away from this topic because it appears the people talking about it only say things from one slanted POV – which is not their fault as you know what you know, right? I promised to let it go but I feel something must be said. So…

        Let’s leave the soccer out of it for a bit.

        Many on here have severely constrained the parameters of being “American” to where you are born. I have even heard the well put yet still one-sided argument of community – living here, going to church here, paying taxes, etc. These are interesting points but still come from a slanted POV that I find lacking in broader perspective.

        I am a Naturalized citizen who has tasted injustice, poverty, second class status in the country of my birth, corruption, and worse of all – unfairness and no rights or freedom. All the things that this country represents – this bright shining beacon in the night that leads the world. I wanted to taste and live in freedom, justice, equality, liberty to live my life to the fullest. I thirst and yearned for those things well before I came here. That was in my being and I knew that I was always American – even before I came States side. For me I was American then. This country touched my heart and could well before I landed on it’s shores. I would die for this country even before I got here.

        I came here legally and waited 10 years to grab my dream and my opportunity. I worked hard for it and became an naturalized citizen. I work here and have a family here and own property here. Not many here can understand the love in my heart for this country before I came here and none can measure it today. Was I American then or after being sworn in?

        Look, none can dare say what is in the heart of our German born bothers, or African born sisters or Mexican born aunts. No one can really understand what it means to be American to those of us who were not born here.

        This restriction basing everything on birth, or where you lived or played you youth soccer cheapens everything! Our team is in turmoil and I get that, as fans, as Americans we don’t like it. But to turn on our own because a few soccer games have gone south??? Man, that just saddens me.

      • Joe says:

        If you are the child of a US service man or woman who is serving abroad, some for several years, then you are an American citizen. They did not go over seas by personal choice but by orders of their superiors so their children should not be refused their American birthright. Sure they weren’t raised in America but they are still American. We also can claim someone as American when they weren’t born here but migrated for specific reasons, see Freddy Adu.

    • Ed says:

      I think he means “Americans” as “soccer players who worked their way through the US youth development system”

      If you think about it, it really could be damaging to our youth system if the senior team evolves into a collection of dual nationals who’ve been in european academies their whole career. Would you feel good about that being our US team? Seems to dilute the experience of playing for one’s country.

  11. Nick says:

    Good, I’m glad he thinks that. I agree, everyone playing for the U.S. national team should be American. Now, I challenge him to find someone on the team who isn’t, in fact, an American. Here’s a hint: he’ll be looking for quite a long time.

    Have we had enough of this xenophobic BS yet? I sure hope so, because this is completely asinine, especially given our diversity as a country and a team.

    • Paul Miller says:

      Too much protestething.

      Asinine? And an earlier comment called it xenophobic? It’s neither. I mostly don’t agree with Arena, but he’s not just some idiot. In one way, he is correct. Let’s say the USMNT were to make it to the semifinals in Brazil. (Don’t think that’s likely, and it’s becoming more and more doubtful we go at all – but let’s pretend we make it to the semifinals.) Everyone in the world, including the USMNT’s own fans, wouldn’t see that as the American development of the game as much as they would see it as outsourcing.

    • Reid says:

      I’m so sick of all of “these” people giving their opinions. No one should say anything ever, especially not what they believe.

      I don’t want the guys i look to in sports to watch everything they say or do, it makes life so boring. I take Bruces words as that someone that throws the jersey on should bleed red, white and blue and people shouldn’t be playing for us just to get exposure, like what Kevin Prince Boateng did for Ghana, which is how i feel about Timmy Chandler.
      If people can’t get behind the message of what Bruce is saying and just want to push the xenophone button I feel sorry for you.

      • Nick says:

        You’re welcome to believe what you want, as is he. You’re both wrong, but you’re welcome to believe it.

        If he’d meant it the way you say he meant it, why didn’t he say it that way instead of questioning how American people are?

        • Reid says:

          When asked in an interview to answer something…. you answer it. Words hardly ever come out exactly how you want them to, thats what good interviewers do.
          A good interviewer will push buttons until he strikes a nerve or gets to emotion, and when someone is speaking based on emotion its not going to be PC and its not going to be whitewashed like the statement these guys agents put out.

          • Mc says:

            “No one should say anything ever, especially not what they believe.” ????? That just doesn’t make any sense, but it was good for a laugh.

  12. Snack Time says:

    I think the quote is being taken out of context. What (we all hope) Arena is trying to say is, “look, if we have to search for talent in such a way that we have to find foreign-born players, then the system is failing us. We should be able to find and coach domestic athletes which allow us to compete, and if we don’t do that, then how can we claim any progress?”

    • Cameron says:

      Even still, Germany, Italy, England, Portugal have all found integral players from other countries and implemented them into their national teams… so while I understand your point, it doesn’t necessarily show a lack of progress….we aren’t taking players in who literally have no connection to the US….these guys are all half American…no different really than a player born in Mexico to an American and Mexican parent opting to play for one of those countries

      • Dimidri says:

        This point is often made but…
        a) just because others do it doesn’t mean we should-others dive, embellish, etc. but we like to think we don’t.

        b) I dare you to find a player on Germany, Italy, or England who has not spent a large portion of their life there who plays. Definitely not on England, the Turkish-Germans and Podolski/Klose all have lived 80% of their lives in Germany, Mario Balotelli same deal with Italy, etc. I agree Portugal has a bad model, we should not emulate that. I guess maybe Thiago Motta with Italy but he didn’t really play and Italy in general is against players playing who are Boateng’s.

    • Benny Dargle says:

      I agree that this is at least part of his point. We’re not making progress on the player development front if we’re still going abroad to fill in the gaps for better players instead of raising them through the system. It’s not the fact that the German-Americans are German that is troubling, it’s that they are better than U.S. players because they were raised in Germany and taught by German coaches in the German system to play the game. To the extent our population base is much larger than the population base of children of German servicemen, it suggests that the problem is with our system.

    • Matt says:

      I agree. His choice of words is unfortunate but the concept he is getting at is right. If we’re trying to measure the progress of our development system based on the success of the national team, importing players who were fully groomed in another system–whether American, German, German-American, from Micronesia, fluent or not fluent at all–distorts the reliability of any conclusions you draw from its success. Pablo Mastroeni and Tab Ramos may be no more American than Jermaine Jones and Terrance Boyd, but they were bred by and large in the American soccer system (e.g., played high school soccer, college soccer, with the U20s, etc.).

  13. Ben says:

    Just Another shark circling Klinsman.

  14. Steve says:

    Honestly, I am getting sick of this line of thinking. First of all, let’s not lump every duel national in the same boat. Did Jones only come on board when the German team stopped calling, yes. Did it take Chandler a little longer than it should take to choose, sure.

    But don’t, just don’t, insult the professionalism of Fabian Johnson, or the heart of Danny Williams and Terrance Boyd who signed up without reservation. I am proud to call them Americans and glad to have them as part of our player pool. As well as Jones and Chandler for that matter.

    I can guarantee you this, if we did not have a German coach right now, I doubt this level of stupidity with respect to dual nationals would even be a topic. This is a nation of diverse backgrounds, it’s what makes us different than every other nation. Anyone who argues otherwise cant take that Bill the Butcher malarkey some where else!! Including Bruce “Sour Apples” Arena.

    • Heff says:

      If we didn’t have a German HC we wouldn’t have Johnson or Williams in the first place.

      • Shaun Ramirez says:

        Jones was on board before Klinnsman. What would make you think Bob bradley would of stopped there.

    • Nick says:

      These guys have all been American since birth, folks. Since birth. They didn’t just get their American citizenship yesterday, not that that would make them any less American even then, but people acting like they’re only here because it’s convenient seem to be forgetting all of these guys were Americans the day they were born.

      I wholeheartedly agree with you. This is becoming the new “Michael Bradley only plays because his father’s coaching the team” style argument of the day. When Bob Bradley was no longer the coach, the argument disappeared. If we had an American coach and all these guys were still on the team, it would do the same.

      • chris says:

        Jermaine jones was born in germany. Played 7 games for german national teams before he applied for us citizenship.

        Terrance boyd was born in germany. Father was never apart of his life, credits his german step father for his success as a professional. Had to apply for us citizenship and had to have his aunt sign off his papers because he couldn’t reach his father.

        Danny Williams was born in germany. Played 3 games for german national teams and had to apply for us citizenship

        Fabian johnson was born in germany and played 20 games for german national teams. Had to apply for citizenship.

        Timmy Chandler was born in germany and it took 2 years to convince him to be cap tied

        John anthony brooks has been playing with german U20s the past year

        Evidently these players were not american since birth and werent USMNT first and foremost

        • Jamie Z. says:

          I can’t help but keep a mental list of posters whose opinions I ALWAYS disagree with. It’s not a big list, but you’re on it. Congratulations!

        • Joe+G says:

          Every child of US citizens born abroad has to go through the process to prove US citizenship and be issued a passport. By law, they are US citizens at birth, but they need more than a birth certificate to prove it. They didn’t “apply” for citizenship so much as get together the documents to prove they are.

    • jay renoir says:

      Anybody who’s lived their entire life in Germany is not American, they’re German, sorry.

      • Kevin says:

        You show a shocking lack of understanding of the rules of eligibility to play for the U.S. national team.

        If you’re point is that someone should have lived for a certain number of years (or percentage of their life) in the U.S. before playing for the USMNT, then that is bordering on being xenophobic.

        • Kevin says:

          *your, not you’re.

        • Reid says:

          Kev – drop the xenophobic crap. Its not about laws, rules, mothers, fathers, citizenship.
          It is not the letter of the law its the spirit and feelings behind the badge, if people feel that players are representing this country and as an extension the fans not for the right reasons then people are going to be upset.
          How do you think the people of Ghana felt about Boateng retiring after he used the nat’l team and world cup to jump to Milan and then retire…. i do not want a person like that representing my country, whether one of their parents is from Germany, Canada, Mexico or Iceland.

          • drew11 says:

            Nativism I think. Not xenophobia.

            But seriously, these players are all offspring of frontline U.S. soldiers. Anybody suggesting they are not “Americans” deserves a smack upside the head and mandatory visit to a VA Hospital or soldiers cemetery. Cold War was no joke.

      • Steve says:

        I guess all of the influence their American parents and relatives have had on their lives, the feeling of being perpetually an outsider in the country they are living in, and a whole host of other cultural issues I do not care to touch on in this forum had absolutely no effect on them becoming the men that they are today. You’re right, nationality is solely about your address.

        • chris says:

          You do realize most haven’t seen their fathers since they were babies?

          • Cameron says:

            Williams I believe is still in strong contact with his dad, who actually wanted him to play for the US….and even still for the others does that take away from them desiring to play for this country? Boyd met his dad’s side of the family when he came here last year for a game and seems to have had a positive impression from that.

            Multiple German-Americans on our team have said they appreciate being welcomed for their appearance and like when they come here….Williams, Boyd, and Jones are ALL on record of that.

            The fact that they may have lost contact with their fathers literally has nothing to do with them being less American. In fact, I’d think that would make them think negatively about our culture but since it seems to have not impacted their commitment at all (only questionable one has been Chandler) I’m not sure why this statement matters at all.

      • Nick says:

        You guys have no idea what any of these guys think about their American citizenship. Like, not one idea whatsoever. Everything they’ve said publicly suggests they’re proud of their American citizenship and to be playing for this country. In the battle of people who are apparently proud to play for the country they are a citizen of and whiny MLS douchebags who can’t cut it at the international level and are now bitching like little schoolgirls, you’re on the side of the whiny, petty douchebags. If you’re cool with that, then be my guest.

        • Weston John says:

          One bad game out of 10 WCQ games and everyone hits the self-destruct button. I agree 100% that if an MLS player who was born in the US has a problem with one or all of the Germericans playing, then they should compete and take their starting spot. But if they can’t compete, then they should sit on the bench and enjoy the show. I am happy to have the Germericans on the team. American mom or dad = American son. Simple as that. Full support to the Germericans!

      • Cameron says:

        Right….so if your parent is a US service man/woman and you’re born on a US military base then you’re not American…got it.

        Nvm the fact that YOU can’t dictate whether these people are American or not…if they feel it in their heart then thats what they are, surely as kids they didn’t have a say in where their families grew up. Danny Williams, Jones, and even Boyd have come out and said they feel MUCH more welcome and accepted and not looked at as strange foriegners here.

        JJ comes to Cali with his kids in the offseason, Timmy Chandler lived here briefly as a young child, Williams’ girlfriend is American and he visitied here with his father often (even cried when he found out he was getting called in the first time), Boyd loves our culture and even has a Bald Eagle Tattoo with the US flag…Fab Johnson has done nothing but represent the jersey with class on the field. Where do you get this nonsense from?

    • drew11 says:

      Arena has insulted pretty much everybody with this flip comment. Including a naturalized guy like Carlos Llamosa. Who gave him a shot with the USMNT again?.

      I have lost all respect for Arena.

  15. Monty says:

    I don’t really like the “they should be Americans” quote from him but, he makes a really good point in the next sentence. “If they’re all born in other countries, I don’t think we can say we are making progress.” I actually agree with that. If a player who was raised in a different country but, has an American passport can help us fine. But, that is not something we could really rely on.

  16. Cameron says:

    Wow! Such an extremely ignorant comment to make….sure guys who literally bleed for this country on the field and have tattoos of the Bald Eagle (Terrence Boyd) aren’t real “Americans” if they’re born in another country, nevermind the fact that one of their parents are/were US servicemen, who did the utmost to protect all of us while abroad…so idiotic smh

  17. Samurai says:

    The only real Americans are the Native Americans, everyone else either immigrated/colonized (italians,Irish, etc..) this place or was forcibly brought here from their homeland against their will by Europeans, the Africans. That said, these Germericans are just as American as anyone else here. America is a melting pot.

    • Jacknut says:

      You do realize that the Native Americans are immigrants from Asia. At least I hope you do. :)

    • chris says:

      Yes THIS nation is a melting pot but these players have never lived in this nation. I have no problem with giving players of every race a chance for the NT if they are from this country but the fact is these dual nationals arent. They don’t speak english, they dont know what its like to play a sport not taken seriously in this country, they haven’t spent a single second in the us soccer system and they don’t know what a successful nt would mean for soccer in this country. You can act like theyre just the same as every other player but the fact is they are not and evidently domestic players feel the same way.

      • Cameron says:

        Actually Boyd, Williams, Johnson and Jones (not as great but still well enough) do speak English. You guys seriously sound ridiculous. Boyd was one of the few U-23s who looked like they gave a damn during the qualification for the olympics this past cycle. So I guess they can’t talk to other players and learn by visiting cities and exploring what the sport means to people in this country? Cmon now

        • pjsmoov says:

          I think all four of them belong. They’re just new to the team and some of our regulars might be a little uncomfortable with this situation. But they need to sit down and hash out whatever issues and conflicts emerge. Jurgen played for and coached the German national team but I have no doubts about his commitment to this country and to improving soccer here as well. I just doubt his managerial ability.

    • pjsmoov says:

      How did American Indians get here? Sprout from the ground? Did all of North America belong to them? What should we say about Mexico? Distinguish between those of primarily Spanish ancestry and Amerindian ancestry?

      I agree that those Germans are American and qualify for the national team. I like all of them but I have some suspicions about Chandler’s commitment.

  18. Freegle says:

    I’ll be interested to read the rest of the article. I’ve read this quote in multiple places now but only in isolation, not in the context of his entire thought.

    If he is discussing simply Americans representing the USMNT, and that the dual nationals are somehow “unamerican,” he’s wrong and narrow minded. However, if he is discussing the prevalence of players not only born, but trained exclusively, in other countries as a representation of how little progress we have made as a soccer nation, then he’s absolutely correct.

    I’d like to think that Bruce was insinuating that our development progress is poor and the German American influence on our senior quad is evidence of that because I don’t think he is naive enough to believe that the USMNT should not use dual nationals or that his tenure didn’t benefit from that freedom.

    • Joe+G says:

      The article is really short and he doesn’t expound on this thought at all. There is almost no other context, so we are left with the snippets we have.

  19. Samurai says:

    America can have anyone play for their team, because it is multicultural.

  20. BCC says:

    A coach who has won championships with players from around the world insists that it is for some reason necessary to have national team players who are all born in the US. Ironic? Odd? Odd and ironic?

  21. The Squad says:

    Wow.

    Buce chimes in with a dig at the core of what JK is trying to do.

    Develop an top notch evaluation system and draw talent from every spot possible.

    Well, given th fact that Bruce sort of sent a sideways critique Jurgen’s way in the past when he downplayed the importance of overseas training stints with kind of a ‘been there done that’ comment-Seemed to be a matter of time before we read something like this.

    the honduras loss must of really stung a lot of folks

    Or maybe presented a chance to jump ship

    Sad

    Hmmmm.

  22. Anthony says:

    After reading the article, it seems like he wants the team to be made up of more MLS players, and more players who have lived in this country. I think Bruce’s philosophy is if there’s an MLS player and a Europe-based player with similar ability, he would pick the MLS player almost every time. I guess he considers players who haven’t lived in America to not be Americans, even if their fathers were. He also said it wasn’t his decision, and refused to answer repeated questions about Klinsmann’s job so far.

    • Neruda says:

      He did say he believes JK will qualify the US for the WC 2014 but it wasn’t a ringing endorsement of his performance so far.

      On the question of using born and bread players from the US I agree Arena is off base about what constitutes “American.” In the future however (hopefully soon) this nation should be putting out a lot of the best talent in the world because we have so many incredible athletes here. If the US starts making many of our best young athletes soccer players we won’t really be in need of dual nationals.

  23. Al_OC says:

    He admits that MLS is still far away from the best leagues in the world. And yet he wants the national team to be comprised more of MLS players. Most players would want to play in the best leagues. So, if we follow Bruce’s thinking, then those players would be “punished” (not selected for USMNT) for trying to improve themselves? Am I missing something?

  24. Clyde Frog says:

    I don’t know the exact context here, but it is really difficult to think of a conrext where this is anything but anti-immgrant hateful BS. Really going to be that much more difficult to stomach Arena’s arrogance and inflated ego now.

  25. MikeG says:

    Sounds like Bruce is ignorant or just how players are developed in Europe and other areas of the world. MLS is not at the same level of player development as Europe. The USMNT is not limited to only MLS. IF a US eligible player in Europe provides something that the current USMNT player does not have then that player should get a look. Look at Regis, Dooley, Stewart, Valasquez, and even Jones. I am a definite Galaxy fan, but never a fan of Arena’s coaching ways. Bruce Arena has the biggest ego in the USMNT fraternity. I have a point of view from Europe anyways after living there for 5 years. If we look at Germany, for example, as a team to be a bench mark, we have some pieces, but still far off.

  26. Soccer Fan says:

    So does Bruce Arena realize his comment stating that “If they’re all born in other countries, I don’t think we can say we are making progress” means we shouldn’t have Donovan (born in Ontario), Holden, Feilhaber, as well as the many in the past people have already named on the National team? He needs to take a seat and figure out how to get that foot out of his mouth as it’s a stupid comment. Besides let’s be realistic plenty of other countries who are considered world powers do the same for their national teams and no one seems to have a problem except the US.

    • Monty says:

      The difference is all those players came up through the American soccer. Also, Donovan was born in Ontario, California his father is Canadian though.

  27. MikeG says:

    very proud of players like Jones, Chandler, F Johnson, Williams, Gomez, Corona, Torres, and Castillo. I can see a German Clique. I see a Mexican Clique. I see a Gringo Clique too. Lots of different languages are spoken on this team besides english. I see a small picture of the USA on this USMNT with the complete roster. I see various styles of playing ability with this team. Now, more than any other time, it’s time for the USMNT to become united. Shut up Bruce Arena!!!!!!

  28. NOJazz says:

    Here’s an example of a double edge sword statement. But if you are one who thinks his statement is wrong but at the same time support ChivasUSA’s method of selecting players, then I would consider you a hypocrite. While I think Arena chose a poor collective of words for his clause, his underlying statement is true. While I do not agree with excluding any player who is eligible to play for the USMNT, I do agree that the majority of the team should not be made of foreign born players; if for nothing else than to prevent any other country from claiming responsibility for our success. If everyone on the German National team was from Turkey, like Mesut Ozil, then theoretically Turkey could claim responsibility for Germany’s National Team Success. Likewise, if the USMNT is made up of players born and raised in other countries, then whenever we see success we run the risk of being labeled as being the result of the success of other countries instead of our own. Whereas, if you have a bunch of players who are born and raised here but then ply their trade in other countries, other leagues may improve their skills, but the US would be credited with establishing their foundation. No one wants to be known as “(insert random country’s name) little brother”.

    • Monty says:

      That has become sort of a myth. Ozil’s grandparents are from Turkey but, Ozil spent his entire upbringing in Germany.

    • NOJazz says:

      The issue is kinda compounded when we are talking about players being on the team who have never been to or lived in the country for which they play, except to play a game. Unlike, Ozil and Pepe’ ( or even Donovan and Adu) who are immigrants and/or implants, some of our players have only been state side solely for the purpose of playing a game. So their presence on the team is viewed differently, than someone who was born in another country but moved here at a young age or early in their life.

      • NOJazz says:

        @Monty…You are right Özil is a third-generation Turkish-German,but either way, it was just an example.

        • Joe+G says:

          Except Ozil wouldn’t have been a German citizen at all until the change in the citizenship laws in Germany in 1999.

  29. bbstl says:

    Wow. This is turning into 1997 again. Minus the swinger party, of course.

  30. Neruda says:

    Arena hit upon one of two things the US has to do to make the sport more mainstream.

    1) MLS has to increase salary cap to elevate the whole league/sport (arena mentioned this)

    2) USMNT has to go farther in WC’s and be more competitive between WC’s to garner national attention. Case in point: how many average sports fans know there’s an important game on Friday against CR vs how many are filling out brackets still trying to figure out why Kentucky isn’t in the NCAA tournament. Obama even has a televised bracket session on ESPN but does he even know about the qualifier? March madness is a national tradition every year while soccer in the US is a national tradition every four years.

  31. espada says:

    I wonder how Bruce Arena defines an “American.” Does he not want Germans or Mexicans playing on the team? And if so what were guys like Earnie Stewart to him? Just because you look a certain way or you have dual citizenship and play your football in another country does not mean you should be excluded from the national team. Disgraceful. While there’s some merit to wanting to include more MLS players, it should not be just them. If Klinsmann sees that the MLS players don’t have the ability to play as well as the foreign-based players, then they should go overseas and play against more elite competition.

  32. FK PIRIN says:

    I am curious how many people who think Arena is crazy have lived a long time in another country? I am an American and proud to be. However, My first memories are of Upper Volta, which doesn’t exist anymore, and many of my formative years were spent in Czechoslovakia, which is now two countries. I also live in Bulgaria for a few years. Every time I came back to the US I felt like a foreigner, and I am still pretty different from most Americans raised in the US.

    I understand what Bruce Arena means. People who grew up in the US whether they are technically US citizens or not are a certain way and just stick out anywhere they go in the World. People like me and the German American guys that grew up in Germany are US Citizens, but we are different, come from different cultures and see the World differently. I suspect they are all really similar to most Germans rather than most Americans.

    Bruce Arena is a great coach, and he was great for the US. His statements aren’t xenophobic, I am sure he has plenty of relatives from different parts of the World. He is just saying people who share an American cultural background should play for the team and that other US Citizens like me who don’t really share that background shouldn’t play on the team because the team won’t be a truly “American Style” Team. Right now maybe our team feels like a German B team or something, that is kind of odd. As for me I disagree with Arena, but I think he has a legitimate point.

    • David M says:

      I agree. I was also born and grew up in another country. And it amazes me how quick so many Americans, who have probably never lived in other countries, are to jump on Arena and everyone who says similar things. How eager people are to call those who think so xenophobic and bigots. Political correctness run amok. Well, I just happened to think that Arena is right (provided he meant not “born”, but “grew up”, which I’m sure he did). I’m gonna repeat what I wrote here yesterday.

      I don’t think the problem with the Germans is their footballing qualities. It’s obvious from the article that it’s their real or perceived lack of understanding of what it means to play for your country. And after all their country is Germany, not the US.

      I was born and grew up in a European country and came to the US at the age of 20. I obviously know many of my former compatriots who now live in the US (many of them are US citizens). Yet for great many of them the US is no more than a convenient residence, a place where they can make more money than in their homeland — nothing more. They feel no emotional attachment to this country, no patriotism of any kind. In soccer (and other sports) they continue to support the national teams of their countries of birth and have absolutely no interest in the US national team.

      Now, these are people who actually live in the US (and have for many years) and are often citizens of the US. What would you expect from someone who comes to the US just to play a game or two and then goes back home? Someone, who in some cases, had never even been to the US before their first game. Any kind of emotional attachment or patriotic feelings? Highly unlikely. And such attitude will upset team’s chemistry on and off the field.

    • Excellency says:

      I have a bi national background. Maybe the issue could be clarified somewhat by defining American loosely as somebody who genuinely feels American or aspires to.

      Should JK have pursued T. Chandler to the ends of the earth if he did not really have any genuine interest in representing the USA?

      People seem fixated on some perceived insult being hurled at somebody just because they are labeled as “not American”. If they applied for citizenship just for the purpose of playing soccer to promote their career in the Bundesliga, should we not be somewhat circumspect about actually soliciting them? Is it not the job of the manager, Klinsmann in this case, to exercise due diligence in these matters and take responsibility when it goes wrong? I answer yes.

      There is far too much generalization of what one can and cannot say in these matters and too little analysis of what makes the US National team a special case that deserves a well reasoned and responsible policy.

  33. David M says:

    I’m sure Arena meant not “born” in other countries, but those who grew up in other countries.

  34. Realist says:

    Arena led the USMNT to its best ever finish in the World Cup. He can say whatever the F he wants.

    And frankly I agree with him…but for different reasons. Why should I root for the child of a father who knocked up a German woman and abandoned their kid. I don’t care if he was a serviceman protecting me from the evil Germans. I don’t want to support kind of behavior and destruction.

    This team is walking freakshow. You can have fun with it until Klinsmann fails to qualify and gets fired.

    • Henry says:

      He was protecting you from the Evil Russians. At least get your history right!

    • scott47a says:

      Since you are so concerned with the morality of the behavior of the parents of soccer players I’m wondering if you can enlighten us all on the background of the players not fathered by American servicemen overseas.
      How many of the fathers of U.S.-born players are still in the lives of the players? How many have cheated on their wives?
      How many of the players are from divorced families?
      Clearly these kinds of things matter to you as much as soccer skills, so I was hoping you could shed your moral judgment on all of the players’ families and not just those whose dads were in the service.
      I”ll wait.

  35. pjsmoov says:

    It just keeps getting better doesn’t it. First the Strauss article, then Boca and Howard’s half-hearted pep talk focusing mainly on the team and not on defending JK, and now Arena takes a few shots at JK. We’ve known before that Arena wasn’t fond of foreign coaches although one could probably make a case that Jurgen is quite the American. But by refusing to comment on Klinsmann’s tenure he’s basically announcing that he doesn’t think much of the talkative one. All that money spent on the motivator but Sunil kept Arena’s buddy Bradley as interim for such a long time. I wonder if he blames Klinsmann for Landon’s freakout and walking away from the game for a few months.

    • David M says:

      What’s your point? That no one should be allowed to say anything negative about Kaiser Jurgen?

      • pjsmoov says:

        Just an observation. It’s all hitting the fan at the same time. Kind of interesting that perhaps several people have been holding out for the right moment to talk about this stuff. I called JK “the talkative one” which is exactly a ringing endorsement of his coaching ability. And I’ve been critical of Jurgen on here for the past two days.

  36. solles says:

    Bruce used stupid words (who woulda thunk it?) but too many people here are tripping over the sill on the front door and not bothering to look inside the argument, it’s too easy to shout “xenophobia”without bothering to read past the first paragraph. To me the point is: if we need to fill weak positions on the national team, why is the default position (under Klinsmann) to look at German players rather than the pool of players in our own system. Maybe they’re not as good, maybe they’re exactly the same, the point is no one really knows as Klismann isn’t primarily looking at american-developed players to fill these spots. This proves one of two things: we’re not doing a good enough job developing players, or Klinsmann just does not have faith in the American player (defined as a player developed here). I’m not sure I believe the latter explanation given how many new young players JK has brought in, so it seems an indictment of our development system.

  37. kjreade says:

    Um, Bruce… David Regis? Oh, and Thomas Dooley too (but he was white so I guess that different?).
    And all this time I thought Sigi Schmidt was the biggest arse in MLS.

  38. Pedro says:

    Bruce has always been a sour negative character. Probably not fun working for him. He seems angry at the world – for some reason.

  39. jayk says:

    Bruce is DEAD WRONG! US is a country of immigrant. from government to major corporations, we have people of US citizenship but born outside the country making profound contributions. applying Arena’s “only US born americans”, we won’t have Intel, Apple, Miscrosoft, Internet, Bell Labs, as many of these companies were founded or co-founded by immigrants with many of their products designed, invented by non US born naturalized americans. AND… BY THE WAY, how about fire Robbie Keane, Juniho, Sarvas? they are all non US citizens…

  40. somedude says:

    For everyone crying “xenophobia”…isn’t the idea of national teams kind of xenophobic to begin with? You’re cheering for your country to defeat another….

    Anyway,I know what Bruce is trying to say anyway,he should have worded it better. Just like with Zimmerman. I want to support the USA,not the German rejects. (which we aren’t I know,just sayin…for the future)

    .

    • Lil' Zeke says:

      Astute of you! But I cut Bruce less slack, due to his lengthy track record of contrarian behavior and obvious hypocricy in this case.

  41. Gene says:

    Considering that U.S. is a nation of immigrants, what a stupid thing for Arena to say.

  42. louis z says:

    I think his quote may be parsed. First he is talking about our players should be “Americans” are we sneaking in other nationalities? Second, sounds to me he is commenting that by going after abroad Americans that is showing that our homegrown players are either not to par or not given the right change. He should talk, I guess he forgot the abroad Americans players he had.

  43. bottlcaps says:

    In reading the article, it seems like Arena has a beef with the preferential treatment the USSF and Klinsmann has given German-born Americans over US born.

    First, let me make it clear that I think it’s great that these young Americans, born to US serviceman have chosen to pledge their allegiance to the US and the USMNT. They, after all, did not choose where to be born, but chose to play for America.

    But it should be known that many pundits believe that when you “recruit” foreign born players, you diminish others, who may just as good, but are considered inferior just because they play their football exclusively at home instead of an impressive foreign league.

    It is not the “leagues” that play football games. It is the players.

    The question becomes: Is a exceptional player at home, any less exceptional that an exceptional player overseas? It appears that JK has determined that this is the case. And that may draw the ire of players, former coaches and the press..

    • David M says:

      The chose to play for America only because they weren’t good enough to play for Germany and not eligible to play for any other country.

  44. biff says:

    I am not going to try to interpret exactly what Arena was trying to say. But I will say that as a huge fan of Jermaine Jones, Fabian Johnson, Terrence Boyd and Daniel Williams, I still think that we (the fans and the coaches) have gotten carried away with scouting the world for soccer players abroad who might be able to claim US citizenship and therefore be able to join the USMNT. And I also think there is a knee-jerk reaction, and I was guilty of this before the Timothy Chandler soap opera, of believing that any foreign-born player even in the a lower league just has to be better than a player Born in the USAaaaa! and, by gosh, let’s cap-tie them all.

    I really would like this to stop this madness and be along the lines of, well, the door is open to all who are truly interested. Get your citizenship if you really want to wear the US shirt, and then contact us. If you can prove you are good enough and have the fighting US spirit, welcome aboard.

    And one other thing, I do think that Klinsmann in the past from time to time has given preference to some of the German-born players (but not Jones, by the way, who I think is our best midfielder and one of our best players). And if I were a US-born player and found myself on the bench because of it or not even getting called up, I would not be happy with it. But after the events of this week, I think Klinsmann has learned a lot about this sensitive topic and will be more careful in the future.

  45. Michael says:

    When we produce high caliber players on our own soil, then we can cry foul about foreign born players. The profile of our current roster reflects just how far we have to go as a nation. We still do not raise enough players who play at a high level and until we do you can expect whomever is the helm is going to scour the globe looking for quality players with US roots. You worry about missing the world cup now? Imagine if we only played guys raised in the US system?

  46. Ed says:

    Doesn’t matter in the long run, in 20 years everyone knows the entire USMNT will be Mexican-American, we’ll play beautiful attacking soccer and dominate. Viva estados unidos! Latinos>Gringos

    • d2dn says:

      Tension breaker, mi amigo…tears in my eyes laughing so hard!
      Just win, baby. Things will sort itself out.

  47. Hildy16 says:

    I find it kind of humorous that Arena is criticizing the current USMNT for lack of progress because they are born in all different countries. Since he was in charge 7 years ago wouldn’t those U15-18 year olds that he was in charge now be in their prime? I guess he didn’t do a good enough job w/ the youth system to produce players to play at top level now.

    Also I don’t hear anyone in Germany complaining that Klose, Ozil, Boateng & Podolski are on their national squad or complaining about Germany’s progress

  48. WeatherManNX01 says:

    I find it amazing that he trashes the players not born within the physical U.S. borders, trashes the fact that our squad is more based out of European club teams than MLS, then says all the right things about not publicly trashing the team when the questions of the Klinsmann era and possibly not qualifying come up.

    Honestly, I lost some respect for Arena through this interview. American players are American players – if they weren’t American, regardless of where they’re born, FIFA wouldn’t have given them the chance to play here, and players like Jones are happy to put on that uniform. Secondly, how is it a bad thing that our squad is heavy on European club players than MLS players, when earlier in the interview he said he doesn’t think MLS is anywhere near one of the top leagues in the world?

    I’ve thought that maybe Arena could take a second run at the USMNT, but now I think he’d be two steps back from even Bob Bradley.

  49. Jim says:

    To get back to soccer for a moment! JK didn’t bring in these guys because he wanted to hear more “Deutch spreche” in the locker room. He brought them in because the current player pool is shallow and getting old. While I believe that one of his objectives is to change the way we play and to ultimately improve the skill set of the members of the player pool, he also needs to worry short term about qualifying for WC14. Without the need to make it to Brazil, we would probably see a lot younger player pool but that isn’t reasonablel given the upcoming qualifiers. Therefore he needs to plug in the best players he can find ANYWHERE.
    REGARDING BRUCE — I think his comments are nothing new and should be taken with a grain of salt. Bruce has always had a problem with the intrusion of FOREIGN influences into US Soccer — hypocritical, hell yes, but nothing new. I think that he was an excellent coach for the traditional US teams — strong, athletic, great stamina— unfortunately, the time has come to move beyond that and Bruce is not happy–nor are the many current and past US players who developed in that tradition. JK isn’t just a foreigner for these folks, he represents the potential to trash everything that they believed in and everything they based their playing careers on. The big problem is that US fans want to win NOW and the idea of a transition just doesn’t work!!

  50. Nathan says:

    If you people hating on Arena’s comments can get off your highhorses long enough to look at the broader implications of what he’s saying, consider this:

    As Arena’s (and every USMNT manager before Klinsmann) WC squad shows, the great majority of the players in last three decades of USMNT history are born in footballing nations and are transplanted to America. That is the same with the strong German contingent in the current squad. I don’t think Arena was trying to defame or discredit foreign-born (and raised) players or trying to have an “America-first” attitude. If that is what you are reading in the comments you’re painting everything with the wrong brush.

    Arena is talking about PROGRESS, as in progress in the player pool for stateside players and progress in the growth of the game in a nation of 300+ million people. In this, he is 100% correct. We can bring in all the German, French, Dutch, English, or Tazmanian-born players we want. We can win a World Cup with eligible Argentines and Brazillians, but that does next to nothing to help the growth and PROGRESS of the game in the U.S.

    We cannot say we are making progress in the National Team if we have to rely on a foreign-born contingent to anchor our squad. I’m not say (nor do I think Arena is) that these players are any more or any less American or eligible for USMNT selection. The problem with foreign-born players is that they don’t reflect a growth in the game domestically. Our squad should be full of born-in-the-states competition because our domestic league is thriving and a strong supporters culture has grown in the U.S. (yes Euro-snobs, it IS important to support MLS NOW because it IS the mechanism through which the game and the USMNT will grow in the U.S.). That doesn’t mean foreign-born players should be omitted, but they should have a hell of a lot more competition than they do currently.

    In conclusion, Arena wasn’t being whatever all you haters are imagining. He was, as every American-born coach does, commenting growth of the game and the U.S.’s progression to being a footballing nation, and he is right. So stop interjecting politics and partisanship into this and look at it from a footballing perspective, you silly silly people.

    • Excellency says:

      Yes, how odd that the US Soccer federation isnt attacked for their xenophobic name, just for starters. Why arent they developing soccer in Holland? They must hate the dutch !

      Let’s face it, there is a dividing line that needs to be defined out there so let’s stop hurling names and epithets at bona fide efforts to identify it.

  51. Pingback: Kick Off: Bradley, Gomez have differing views on USMNT controversy ...

  52. Mc says:

    Man, I’ll read an article and comment on a thing or two, but holy hell, How do you guys have time to get in philosophical debates about this stuff? I’m assuming at least 50% of you are at work? To all you patriots out there, get back to work. We just got out of a recession.

  53. Primoone says:

    for being such a cerebral guy…He makes some pretty stupid comments.

  54. Excellency says:

    I wonder what some of the anti-xenophobe posters here think of FIFA’s rules that only allow an individual to play for one country and only if the individual meets certain genetic requirements. Is that kind of discrimination ok?

  55. Ashoka says:

    I look forward to the day when any player in the world can play for any country they choose. And if the best teams are from the countries that are willing to spend the most money for the best players, then we could win the World Cup! Because that is what is most important. Winning. I wouldn’t even care if the players didn’t know the National Anthem, or even didn’t care, or even hated America. Just so long as they win. You know, kind of like the Champions League, only we pretend like it’s the World Cup.

  56. soccer mom says:

    So is Klinsmann half American or not?? Is one of his parents an American? If not, then he should NOT be coaching the USA team. If he doesn’t have American citizenship, this is what ruins the American economy, outsourcing a job to a non-American. Of course, my dad suffered under Nazi occupation during World War II so I still carry a grudge against Nazis. Of course, none of this matters, since Holland will win it all in 2014. And if you compare American football (what you call soccer) to football anywhere else in the world, there is no comparison. I can’t STAND to watch it played by the USA team. There is no finesse or style. It’s too clumsy and ugly. Only the Dutch really know how to play the game.