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Klinsmann's thoughts on U.S. Soccer's present and future

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This will be a tough day for U.S. soccer fans.

Not so much for the early game, Netherlands-Brazil. If you can’t find a little joy in that one, well, check the Major League Baseball schedule, because soccer just ain’t your sport.

No, this will be tough because of today’s second quarterfinal, Uruguay-Ghana, otherwise known as "the game the United States should be playing."

The sting of opportunity squandered, having maybe softened over the last few days, will rise and fester anew. And it’s going to take more than a little Benadryl to relieve the itch on this one.

Here’s a little something to chew on while you consider today’s matches and, also, where U.S. Soccer is going in the future. These are words of Jürgen Klinsmann, a bright mind of the game, and one that recognized immediately on Saturday that the United States was not mentally prepared for its match against Ghana.

Klinsmann wasn’t necessarily talking about Bob Bradley here, as he discussed the U.S. loss on ESPN. But there is certainly an unmistakable link as he suggested the United States failed to properly manage the dramatic win over Algeria very well.

"What I mean is that they didn’t recover mentally and physically from that win," he said. "Suddenly Bill Clinton is coming by, Mick Jagger is in the stands, and all that takes you away in a World Cup. You can’t allow that. It’s about now and tomorrow, it’s not about what happened an hour ago. So once you win this tremendous game against Algeria, an hour after the game, after you do your interviews and then get all that stuff done, then you start to actually prepare for next game."

Read on for much more from Klinsmann ....

Klinsmann recalled that something similar happened to Germany as he managed that country in 2006.

"Oh yes, we had these moments too, very emotional moments too, once we beat Poland in the last minute," Klinsmann said. "You have to bring down the players right way, back to the ground, you have to tell them, ‘Forget about the last game, it’s done.’ It’s all about Algeria. I had a feeling they were not really prepared for Ghana for this battle.

"When I was reading the body language, when I was following first 10 minutes, they were not into the one-against-one battles. Ghana was far more aggressive and taking over. I had a feeling that they didn’t recover from that last win."

Then Klinsmann said something that takes Bradley off the hook a little. He talked about U.S. Soccer’s dysfunctional developmental system, one that emphasizes club soccer and the chase for college scholarships over true professional development. Remember, this man knows soccer and he knows the United States, having lived here for the better part of 12 years now.

"This is the only country in the world that has the pyramid upside down. You pay for having your kid play soccer," he said. "Because your goal is not to have your kid become a professional soccer player, your goal is that your kid gets a scholarship in college, which is complete opposite rest of the world."

Oh, do go on, Klinsy …

"We all [came] out of moderate families and fought our way through … so we need to keep this hunger throughout out life. I compare it to basketball here, because I look at these guys and they are coming from inner cities. So we need to find ways to connect, however that could be, to connect with Hispanics, to connect with everybody in the soccer environment in the U.S., and to get kids who are really hungry, to get kids on technical level to perform, and what I mean is first touch

"The first touch yesterday was not there. There were far too many mistakes, and you can’t afford those mistakes in a World Cup."