Jurgen Klinsmann: MLS owners should give more thought to 'global picture'
United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann says MLS club owners' "misconception" about his goals for the national team has led to the perception that he is at odds with the league.
Klinsmann and Major League Soccer have always had a frosty relationship, with tempers coming to a head in October 2014 as the U.S. coach suggested star players needed to prove themselves after returning to MLS.
MLS commissioner Don Garber called those remarks "detrimental," "wrong," and "personally infuriating," and said several MLS owners indicated their displeasure with Klinsmann.
But Klinsmann told ESPN FC this week that he would welcome the opportunity to sit down and explain his position.
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"I think it's great if people have their opinion out there, that they express that opinion," Klinsmann said in a wide-ranging interview. "But I think before they express their opinion they should give me a call and ask what is really going on. Because a lot of people mention their thoughts without even knowing what is really going on.
"For example, there is the feeling out there that MLS owners are not really on board, but it's because I was never given the opportunity to speak in front of them and explain the technical side of what we're doing with the national teams.
"So there's maybe a misconception with some people because I was never given the opportunity to explain, this, this, and this. There are very few people that can explain to you different levels of leagues, different levels of environments, different levels of continents."
Klinsmann suggested MLS owners' limited perspective may be behind their differences.
"Our picture is the global picture," he said. "We need to know what England, Germany, and Spain are doing in Europe, and then Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay are doing in South America. But our benchmarks are internationally.
"So for a lot of people they define their world domestically, which is totally cool. They should think maybe a little bit more before saying things from the outside about the national team program."
Klinsmann also pointed to his inclusion of MLS players, who made up more than half the U.S. squad at the World Cup, as proof that he has players' best interests in mind, no matter where they play.
"We see a lot more than the result. We see the development of players at a specific point in time in their careers. Our job is to help them to build," Klinsmann said. "We never give up on players because they have a couple of bad months, a couple of bad games. We help them through those phases. No matter where they are in their club environments.
"That's another point with MLS. I always say, 'We are here for the players, to play at the highest level possible.' If that highest level is MLS, we are here to help. Why am I here at this camp? Why did I take 13 players from MLS to Brazil, and keep on helping, helping, helping?"