Tim Howard: Under Jurgen Klinsmann, no more PB&J sandwiches
In his new autobiography, Everton and U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard said Jurgen Klinsmann's high-protein bars, yoga sessions and morning "empty stomach runs" made some on the United States national team feel he "micromanaged them."
"I'd spent my whole life eating PB&Js; somehow, under Jurgen, the sandwich morphed into a natural version of the staple that was practically unrecognizable ... and to my taste buds, inedible," Howard wrote in his new book, "The Keeper," which is due out on Tuesday and excerpted exclusively on ESPNFC.com.
Howard detailed cultural field trips "to inspire us as human beings," the banning of cell phones from the locker room, early curfews, two-a-days, sometimes three-a-days and even a mandate as to what the players should wear in their spare time ("USA track suits to hang around hotel").
TIM HOWARD'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY, 'THE KEEPER'
- Excerpt 1: On Friedel, Man United
- Excerpt 2: Klinsmann enters, Donovan departs
- Howard: Klinsmann banned PB&J sandwiches
- Howard: Friedel tried to block United move
- Friedel wants Howard apology
- Keller and Howard: Talking about breaking records vs. Belgium
- Toe Poke: Friedel scores in NBA challenge
- Martinez: Howard is Everton's rock
- Video: Howard the Prem's best American?
- Friedel on MLS vs. Europe: Playing time matters
- Howard takes break from USMNT
"None of the players argued with Jurgen, but you could sense misgivings from their body language, a kind of tension when they were around him," wrote Howard of the changes made by the new coach. "Jurgen was even determined to change our breathing."
Howard said he put up with the changes because he knew Klinsmann got results based on what he'd seen with Germany's 2006 performance.
Klinsmann, who hired current German coach Joachim Low as his assistant in 2004, is widely regarded, along with his disciplined brand of football, as the manager who helped lead the Germans to the World Cup semifinals in 2006. He stepped aside after that World Cup, coaching Bayern Munich before taking over the reins of the U.S. team in 2011 from Bob Bradley.
"Jurgen gets paid to make big, tough, hard decisions. I get paid to put myself in front of a ball. I get paid to organize a defense. I get paid to stand in that goal, scan the field, and anticipate danger," Howard wrote, adding that Klinsmann's selection methods for the 2014 team were particularly hard on the veteran players.
During the initial training sessions, Klinsmann stressed that no players would be guaranteed spots on the team based upon past performance.
"Jurgen's 'nobody's job is safe' sound byte got the media in a lather. But for us it was business as usual," wrote Howard about the selection process for Brazil this past summer.
The goalkeeper said that while the changes were tough on the original core veterans, he was "glad to be a part of it" at age 35.
"The media created a firestorm around Landon's [Donovan] having been cut. That story was dragged out for weeks and beaten to a pulp. And while I know that kind of thing keeps people watching SportsCenter, I kept thinking, Cripes, leave the guy alone," Howard said.
Klinsmann left Donovan, who has since retired from the U.S. team and whose MLS career will end after this weekend, off the World Cup roster in May, opting to take players such as Brad Davis, Julian Green and Chris Wondolowski instead.
Howard said that although Klinsmann's Donovan decision grabbed headlines, the U.S.'s all-time record goal-scoring player was not the only casualty.
Howard wrote: "I wanted to remind all those pundits that six other guys had been dropped, some of whom had tears in their eyes. Their dreams had been cut short, too. Yet there was barely a mention of them in any blog or newspaper story. Where were the articles about Brad Evans, or Maurice Edu, or Clarence Goodson, or Michael Parkhurst, or Joe Corona, or Terrence Boyd? Every single one of those guys had bled for this team."