Here’s what Sounders coach Sigi Schmid had to say today when asked about national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s comments that he will call in players based on the interests of the national team and not with consideration to the interests of the club team.
“Every coach is worried about their team,” Schmid said. “I’ve got to be worried about my team, not his. It’s just a matter of he’s got to do what he thinks is best for his team, and I’ve got do what I think is best for my team. … There are a number of players on yellow cards, so you hope some guys don’t get intentional yellow cards so they can return to their team for the midweek game the following week — you hope they don’t play that card. In the old days, it used to be if your second yellow was the last game of qualifying, you’d miss a World Cup game, but I don’t think that’s the case anymore. I think they’ve changed that, so it doesn’t carry over. So that doesn’t have an impact, but everybody has to do what they have to do. There’s prize money, there’s bonus money, I’m sure, for players and coaches: whether you finish first in your group or not. All that factors into things.”
On if Klinsmann’s comments reflect a change of attitude: “No, every national team coach has been the same. When Bruce Arena was the national team coach, he didn’t care. He cares now, because he’s the Galaxy coach; but he didn’t care. Bradley didn’t care. Again, you’re faced with your job, and so you have to do what you have to do. At the end of the day, that determines your decision.”
On if the solution then has to come from MLS scheduling: “I think MLS has to do a better job of making sure … But you don’t know: At the start of the season, we barely had Eddie on the team. Now it turns out we have three guys on the team. So at the start maybe the schedule doesn’t look so bad. Now you’re saying, ‘OK, well don’t schedule teams that you know have significant players on the national team on a World Cup break.’ But you don’t know. That can change. So I think scheduling certainly impacts it, but it’s important, too, that you’re bringing in players that are healthy and not players are going to try and get healthy while you’re there.”
On if the increase in league quality increases the MLS need to accommodate international dates: “Yeah, it has to change. Obviously the European players, when they come in, they don’t miss any league games or anything significant because their leagues are in hiatus for those World Cup qualifying dates. And it’d be nice if we were in that position. It’s better for our fans; it’s more respectful for our fans. I know what the issue is: The issue is that teams draw better on the weekend than they draw in midweek games, and so you don’t want to knock out weekend games for teams where the revenue (is higher), and that’s important for the survival of the league, as well. But I think our fans are getting more sophisticated, and our fans are getting more knowledgeable, and maybe the soccer fan would rather turn up on a Wednesday and see the guys that they want to see than have them not turn up on a Saturday and not see the guys that they want to see. So I think the sophistication of our fans is increasing, and hopefully that would help those teams draw because if they have to play more midweek games because we have to cancel out some weekends due to World Cup qualifying or international fixture dates, that our fans are able to understand that and will support the games on the Wednesdays.”