U.S. national team soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann talked to USsoccer.com for the first time about new Seattle Sounders designated player Clint Dempsey's decision to leave the EPL for MLS, and why Dempsey was left off the USA roster for the friendly Wednesday in Bosnia.
Here are the highlights:
ussoccer.com: What are your thoughts on Clint Dempsey’s move to MLS?JK: “It’s been a huge week. Having Clint back in the United States and joining MLS is big and I think everyone in the U.S. is excited about the news. I am thrilled for MLS because you have an outstanding player now hopefully filling more stadiums and getting even more kids and people excited about the game. For Clint it’s a challenge, coming from one of the top leagues in the world, coming back to the U.S. and being back in MLS where we still have to work on a lot of things. Clint himself has set the highest benchmark for himself over the last year. He became our captain and he has to keep that benchmark and he knows that. I told him that over the last two years that he’s got to go for the next level. Obviously we want the best Clint Dempsey ever and that’s what we’re going to push him toward as we begin to look toward Brazil. He has set a high standard for himself, and it’s up to us coaches to make sure he keeps that high standard.”
ussoccer.com: You left Clint and several MLS-based players off the roster. What went into that decision?JK: “For the most part we wanted to leave the MLS players behind because it’s a long way to go for a mid-week game in the heart of the season and many of them were with us a lot during the summer. This gives us a chance to look at some different players as well. At the same time, we still want a strong team so we have some guys from MLS and also from Liga MX. I told (Sounders head coach) Sigi Schmid that it’s no problem to leave Clint off this roster. It’s been a long week for Clint and he is still in preseason and getting a rhythm, so we leave him in Seattle and get him ready for the games in September.”