Direct from Sarajevo
Behind the Scenes: Who Did What at Monday Training
At today's U.S. training in Sarajevo, Klinsmann maintained a frantic pace and asked his players to do the same. Here's a glimpse behind the scenes from ASN correspondent Graham Ruthven.
BY Graham Ruthven PostedTHE METHODS AND PRACTICES of Jurgen Klinsmann have provided a compelling study since his appointment as U.S. national team boss back in 2011. His philosophies—or lack thereof, if you believe some detractors—have often divided supporters. Those in attendance at Monday's training session in Sarajevo were afforded some insight into the workings of the German coach. While the afternoon started off relaxed enough, warming up on a field in the shadow of a retired train engine to work out any jet lag that might still be lingering, Klinsmann’s sessions are otherwise relentless. Once broken up into groups, Klinsmann and his team of assistants began working on an exercise in which teams of players were required to keep possession of the ball for as long as possible, using neutral players in certain positions as pivots. For instance, Mix Diskerud found himself as the central pivot for one of the groups, meaning he could provide an outlet for whichever team had possession of the box. As soon as one ball is out of play, another one is fired in. If the German’s methods are designed to manipulate constant movement, his training drills do just that. Klinsmann would often watch from a distance, crouching down on his haunches, alone with his thoughts. But every so often Klinsmann could be heard shouting in that unmistakable mid-Atlantic German tone. “Yes Jozy.” “Well done, Jozy.” “Excellent Jozy.” Indeed the Sunderland striker seemed to be getting a lot of attention from the U.S. coach, and Sacha Kljiestan, who accidentally fired a misplaced pass straight into Altidore’s midriff, again put Altidore in the spotlight. “What the hell, man?” the Sunderland striker said to the Anderlecht midfielder. But both guys laughed it off. To finish off training, Klinsmann simplified the full-size field down to a quarter, contesting a player-heavy, space-lite game. Once again, as soon as the ball crossed the touchline, another one was entered into play—like a pinball machine. Joe Corona netted a number of neat goals, lobbing Brad Guzan from long range (for a quarter-size field) and scoring from various degrees of tight angles. Not all players took part in the session, with new boy Aron Johannsson conducting some light conditioning alongside Jermaine Jones, Eddie Johnson, and Brad Evans. Besides Evans playing keepy-up with Diskerud toward the end, none of the four saw a ball all afternoon. While the U.S. team returned to the sidelines, cooling themselves in the Sarajevo heat with various mixes of fluorescent Gatorade, Terrence Boyd stayed out on the pitch, practicing his headers on crosses from the left. Klinsmann stood behind the goal as the young German-American worked on his technique, the coach giving Boyd tips and pointers. The German’s methods, apparently, sometimes just come down to a bit of helpful advice.
August 12, 2013
August 12, 2013