Klinsmann not happy with American returns to MLS

Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:18pm EDT
 
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By Simon Evans

BOCA RATON Florida (Reuters) - Major League Soccer has trumpeted the return home of leading American players as a sign of the league's rise but United States national coach Juergen Klinsmann is worried players making the switch could be hampered by the drop in standard.

Clint Dempsey's move from Tottenham Hotspur to Seattle Sounders and Michael Bradley's switch from AS Roma to Toronto FC were greeted with some fanfare by MLS but Klinsmann says it may be tough for the players to maintain their standards of play.

"There’s nothing I can do about it. I made it clear with Clint’s move back and Michael's move back that it’s going to be very difficult to keep the same level that they experienced at the places where they were. It’s just reality. It’s just being honest," Klinsmann said ahead of Tuesday's friendly against Honduras.

While Dempsey is 31 and former Schalke midfield Jermaine Jones, who recently moved to New England Revolution is 32, the 27-year-old Bradley's move from Serie A to MLS was surprising given it came during his peak.

Having lost his starting place at Roma, Bradley was offered a lucrative and long-term financial deal by Toronto but he was below-par during the World Cup and the Canadian club have disappointed this season, looking almost certain to miss out on the playoffs.

"I think he’s been faced with a very, very difficult year, going from a Champions League club to a team, Toronto that seems like they’re not even going to qualify for the playoffs. It’s a huge disappointment,” Klinsmann said.

For the moment, there is no question of Klinsmann losing faith with Bradley, who has been at the heart of the U.S. team throughout the German's time in charge, but it is clear that he is keen to evaluate the midfielder's form.

"He has to prove that he hasn’t lost a bit. Obviously we’ll keep working and pushing but it’s down to him and his environment to see what level he’s capable to play," he said.   Continued...

 
Jurgen Klinsmann, head coach of the U.S. men's national soccer team, speaks to the media during a news conference in New York City, May 30, 2014.  REUTERS/Mike Segar