Jurgen Klinsmann is your dream girl. Beautiful, prestigious- you're the center of attention if you walk into the ball with
her him. You court the object of your affection with boyhood infatuation, and after years of pawing, they finally relent and return your affections. It's hard to resist your adoring public after all. The new arrangement comes with rules you (obviously) assent to.
1. She wears the pants. She's gorgeous, established, and coveted...you're definitely punching above your weight with this girl. Since you're living in the real world, and you're a
loser just a regular guy, she gets final say on everything: what you do, who you spend time with, what you wear. She even gets to tell It's all up to her, and you should be grateful.
2. She gets to tell you all of your shortcomings...and they're a bunch of them. You're a little fat, you could use some cardio. Well, I guess you could waste your prime years playing video games, or you could do something to broaden your horizons a bit. You'd be a lot cooler if you learned French. Or Castillian Spanish. Or German. I'd even settle for a fake English accent, but enough with the Sean Connery impression; everyone has one and they are all shite.
3. She gets to flirt with her exes, and you get to take it. Watch her as she bats her eyelashes at her old beau from London. Watch her cheer on her first love as they get that promotion/earn their doctorate/look really awesome in a picture with their new puppy. But that's not all, she's chatting up a handsome Turk to boot. What have you gotten yourself into?
Clearly, this is unfair to Klinsmann, and it's more complicated than that. And yet, it isn't a big leap to make the comparison between the girl and Gulati's
pain in the ass dream date. Here are my thoughts on the Klinsmann reign as it heads into the cycle for Russia 2018.
1. The Good- There are several gold stars you can point to here. The friendlies have been against stronger competition. I think Klinsmann's network, affinity for testing his roster, and star power helps here. Speaking of star power, there are few if any bigger magnets than Klinsmann when it comes to National Team coaches. In a land that is squarely in its soccer adolescence, Klinsmann's charisma is a massive boon for the sport from the league, to the fans, and to the players.
2. Bad- Well, you have to start with the Brian Straus article, right? Then, you really have to give a little credence to the sentiments of his
dumbass loyal progeny. You can't help but think der Kaiser Klinsmann has a difficulty managing empowered subordinates. Of course, we're talking about Landon Donovan here. The US men's national team delivered a good performance in Brazil, but one can't help but wonder what the US's all-time leading scorer might have added if the personality conflict could have been resolved. A trip to the quarterfinals was this far away, and a poacher with more tools could not have conjured a worse result. Ultimately, the battle of egos left us all wanting, and it left us questioning whether Klinsmann was intellectually limber enough to provide the cutting edge as a national team manager.
3. The ugly, indifferent, whatever. We went over the kid stuff and the home country stuff. That's all easily forgotten and forgiven if the results are good. The true ugly, ultimately, has to be tied up in the results during the U-20's failed run in the last youth World Cup and the U-23's failure to progress against a
biting, punching, nutgrabbing, lucky, cheating, industrious El Salvador squad. Klinsmann, rightly, lamented the lost generation of American soccer after the Olympic failure. How much of the blame for this epic fail should fall to Klinsy?
Given the breakneck schedule of the World Cup and the extra gear of youth, you know your hot girlfriend is right: the beautiful (youth) will prevail. DeAndre Yedlin and Julian Green showed explosive fits of greatness that reinforce Klinsmann's lament amount the Olympic failure. If the U-23's and U-20's provided more accomplished options, Brad Davis and Chris Wondolowski aren't on the plane to Brazil. Kyle Beckerman might even have been stuck in the Wasatch despite his revelatory performance in Brazil. Truly, it's a young man's game...especially in such a compressed schedule. And ultimately, the progress of our depth and development of difference-making youth will determine whether JK was the girl that lifted us to the promise land or if she was just the girl that broke our heart.