USA Needs Lesson In Soccer Culture

June 13, 2014 | Ethan Stewart

Check out 2014 BSMS Competition winner Tony Wisniewski’s blog here on Klinsmann’s comments on the US’s chances at winning the World Cup.

“ We are a little horse that still needs milk and to learn how to jump. A horse that next season can race”

Other than that quote being hilarious to read it’s extremely important in providing context to USA head man Jürgen Klinsmann’s comments on the United States’ chances or lack there of at winning the 2014 World Cup.

These words were uttered by the man who is known as the best soccer manager in the world right now, Jose Mourinho.

Mourinho is the manager of the English Premier League club Chelsea FC.  Chelsea FC is a perennial powerhouse in the Premier League and coming into this past season were projected to finish in the top 3 of the league at the very least.

Mourinho, also known as “the special one”, has won 7 league titles for 4 separate clubs (Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid) and between 2003 and 2012 he did not go a season without winning a trophy whether that be a league title or cup win.

Needless to say his record speak for itself.

However, this very season he stated that his team was a “little horse that still needs milk and to learn how to jump.” and that they are “a horse that next season can race”.

He was saying this about Chelsea, one of the most accomplished soccer teams ever.  A team that was projected as a top 3 team in the league that very season and a team that if they won the league, no one would be surprised.

So why Mourinho did do this?

Mourinho is known for mind games like this.  He said this in order to take pressure off of his team in the media and to mess with the minds of the other managers.  Mourinho like Klinsmann wants the pressure on himself, not on his players.

It’s true saying that your team doesn’t have a chance to win is not the “American Way”.  We have a blind sense of optimism and hope no matter what when it comes to our rooting interests.

What Jürgen Klinsmann said was simply un-American.

Soccer itself is frankly un-American.  We love sports where we use our hands i.e. football, baseball, basketball.  We also love sports that we are traditionally good at and if we’re not good we basically shun it.  Therefore there are a lot of things about soccer that we don’t understand.  We are not a soccer country.  Hell we call it soccer!  Everyone else calls its football.

Soccer is an international sport.  The tactics and strategies differ from country to country and continent to continent.

The tactic of suppressing expectations that Klinsmann utilized is a classic European strategy.  The manager wants the pressure and criticism on himself rather than on his players and it’s working.  We’re all analyzing Klinsmann’s words and actions.  His players who have won ALL 3 of their warmup friendlies and we’re focused on the words of our German head coach just like he wants.

Expectations from the media/public on the teams itself are off and criticism is being laid upon Klinsmann.  It’s exactly what he wants.

Now when the United States beats Ghana on Monday we’ll be pleasantly surprised!

If we want to compete like the Europeans and South Americans in soccer we need to understand their tactics.  When it comes to soccer let’s start being a little un-American.  Let’s play some football.