Copa America: USMNT at a crossroads: Will Jurgen Klopp steer the ship?

Copa America: USMNT at a crossroads: Will Jurgen Klopp steer the ship?

The US Men’s National Team (USMNT) finds itself at a pivotal juncture, teetering between the potential for a bright future and the haunting echoes of past disappointments. The nation that once treated soccer as an exotic import is now drawing massive crowds for Copa America and showing a growing enthusiasm for the beautiful game. Yet, the Stars and Stripes’ recent lackluster performance in the combined competition at home has sparked intense scrutiny and calls for change.

The current USMNT head coach, Gregg Berhalter, is facing a chorus of critics who are clamoring for his dismissal. In the same breath, there’s a rising clamor to bring in Jurgen Klopp, the charismatic former Liverpool boss known for his high-energy style and tactical genius. But experts are already highlighting the considerable hurdles involved in luring Klopp from Europe to the American soccer scene.

One of the most surprising objections comes from a former USMNT superstar. Kasey Keller, the former goalkeeper turned ESPN FC pundit, has pointed to equal pay as a potential sticking point.. It seems that US Soccer’s commitment to pay parity could be the very thing that stymies the pursuit of Klopp, despite the keen interest shown by the German.

Keller didn’t mince words on ESPN FC’s Futbol Americas. When reporter Sebastian Salazar asked him, “So you think Klopp would not consider it not that US Soccer?” Keller’s response was direct: “I think US soccer would consider a heartbeat if they could get him for 2 million.” According to Keller, that’s the budget available for Klopp, thanks to the equal pay policy. He further elaborated, “If we have more money for one, we’ve said we will spend equal or roughly equal the amount on the other.”

This equal pay principle has been a cornerstone of US Soccer since last year. It began with player salaries and was solidified into law, ensuring no discrimination between male and female athletes. The policy was then applied to coaching hires, with Emma Hayes of the US Women’s National Team reportedly earning $2 million per year. Keller believes the same financial constraint would apply to Klopp.

Is equal pay really a barrier?

Not everyone agrees with Keller’s assessment. Ali Krieger, a legend of the US Women’s National Team, and other experts have dismissed the idea that equal pay would be a barrier. Krieger suggested, “Let’s find more sponsorship money for Emma Hayes.” Salazar chimed in, saying that the issue should be clarified by US Soccer head Cindy Parlow Cone or Matt Crocker.

Meanwhile, former USMNT striker Herculez Gomez offered a different perspective. He argued that the allure of life in America might outweigh financial considerations for potential coaches. “What’s the one thing all these players and coaches ask us about? It’s life in America,Gomez emphasized.

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Amidst all this speculation, Jurgen Klopp himself has added a twist. On July 4th, the German manager tweeted fondly about his experiences in the USA during Liverpool’s tours. This has fueled rumors that he could be interested in a national team role, with Germany or the USA as his top choices.

As the USMNT grapples with its identity and future direction, the question remains: Will US Soccer part ways with Berhalter and make a serious bid for Klopp? The debate is heating up, and the stakes are higher than ever.

What do you think? Should US Soccer pull out all the stops to bring Klopp stateside? Or is Berhalter the right man to lead the Stars and Stripes forward?

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