Tough Choices Ahead For Klinsmann, U.S. Soccer

U.S. Soccer, USMNT

Jürgen_Klinsmann_press_conference_(15096302000)It will be a busy fall for U.S. soccer on the men’s side and Jurgen Klinsmann has some tough decisions ahead of him.

Topping the list for Klinsmann will be the Confederations Cup playoff game with Mexico October 10 at The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. The winner will advance to the pre-World Cup tournament in Russia in 2017.

The match should attract a big crowd to the historic stadium, and the U.S. head coach is hoping for strong support from fans.

[ FOLLOW US: Facebook | Twitter ]

“Playing Mexico in our own country is obviously difficult because of all the Mexicans living here and supporting their team,” he said. “But at the same time our fans have shown that they show up wherever we go all over the world and create an amazing atmosphere. It’s an awesome environment, and we are looking forward to huge support from our fans at The Rose Bowl.”

But perhaps the bigger challenge facing Klinsmann and U-23 manager Andi Herzog is roster selection for the Men’s U-23 side for the Olympic qualifiers, which will take place October 1-13 in Los Angeles, Kansas City, Denver and Salt Lake City.

“It will be a big challenge for us to organize both rosters for the Olympic qualification, but also for the all-decisive playoff against Mexico,” Klinsmann said. “Obviously we want both. We want to be in Rio with the Olympic team and we want to be in Russia in 2017 for the Confederations Cup.”

The Olympic qualifying tournament rules provide for a 20-player roster that must include three goalkeepers. While FIFA rules do not require the release of youth national team players, there is an international fixture date window that opens Oct. 5 and is typically respected by clubs around the world. Still, with teams only being able to select 17 field players and the matches kicking off on Oct. 1, cooperation with the clubs on the release of players will be critical.

“The Olympic qualifiers start outside of the FIFA window [which begins Oct. 5, four days after the start of the tournament] and we badly need those players to qualify for Rio de Janeiro,” he said. “Hopefully we get the support from all the clubs to get the players in. It’s going to be an extremely busy time period, we just hope we get all the players on board and get the job done.”