Abby Wambach: I would definitely fire Jurgen Klinsmann
On the eve of her retirement, U.S. women’s national team forward Abby Wambach offered U.S. Soccer one last piece of advice: Fire Jürgen Klinsmann.
Wambach, the all-time leading scorer in international soccer with 184 goals, criticized Klinsmann for his management of the U.S. men’s national team before her final match against China on Wednesday night.
“I would definitely fire Jürgen,” Wambach said in an interview on the "Bill Simmons Podcast" released on Wednesday. “Sorry, Sunil [Gulati, U.S. Soccer president], sorry, U.S. Soccer, but I don’t think the litmus test on him has worked.”
Wambach cited Klinsmann’s player selection, particularly his reliance on dual-passport holders, and his work with the youth system as the primary reasons for her displeasure with the current setup.
“He hasn’t really focused enough attention on the youth programs,” Wambach said. “Although he says he has, I don’t think he has. I also believe the way he has changed and brought in a bunch of these foreign guys is just not something I believe in. Wholeheartedly, I don’t believe in it. I don’t believe it in my heart.
“And I love Jermaine Jones, I love watching him play, and I love Fabian Johnson,” Wambach continued. “He plays in Germany and he’s actually killing it right now after being sent home for ‘faking an injury’ [during the CONCACAF Cup final against Mexico.] But I just think this experiment U.S. Soccer has given Jürgen isn’t one I’m personally into.”
U.S. Soccer has relied on dual passport holders for much of its existence, stretching all the way back to the first World Cup appearance in 1930 and through the modern era.
Several prominent men’s players, including current German-born stars Johnson and Jones, fall into that same category now, while the U.S. women also rely on Canadian-born Sydney Leroux as one of their primary options up front. Other nations also lean on the practice to strengthen their national teams.
Even with those practices in mind, Wambach believes the men’s national team needs a new coach to sort out some of its issues and set the team back on the proper track moving forward.
“It seems to me there are too many egos in our men’s program right now and the biggest ego is the one leading the charge,” Wambach said.