Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson made heavily critical comments regarding U.S. men’s national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
Paulson went on the Soccer Made in Portland podcast, published Thursday, and addressed a quote from U.S. assistant Andi Herzog in a German publication that said the team’s goal was to bring as many American players to Europe as possible. Herzog said later he was misquoted, but Paulson reacted strongly to the comments and expressed his frustration with the national team staff and Klinsmann in particular as MLS attempts to grow its league and presence in the national sports landscape.
“There's no doubt that Herzog was quoted correctly, because that's an accurate sentiment among the coaches for the U.S. National Team right now. That stems from the top and that stems from Jurgen,” Paulson said.
“I don't think you're going to find a single MLS owner who's going to be an advocate for Jurgen Klinsmann. This is a guy who's got a clear agenda that's an anti-MLS agenda. He makes emotional decisions. Landon Donovan would be a case in point. There's very much an agenda to get people playing abroad and probably rewarding some people playing abroad who don't deserve to be playing. That's one opinion, that's my opinion.”
Paulson also discussed Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe, a member of the men’s national team, as he continued.
“Obviously, Darlington Nagbe is on the team and I hope me expressing any sort of candid answer to you on that question doesn't have any impact there. We support Nagbe and we're thrilled that Jurgen rates him, but he's crapped all over MLS in many ways subtle and not subtle. For this sport to be successful in this country, for the national team to be successful, the national team and our domestic league need to be pointing in the same direction more often than not and that just hasn't been the case under Jurgen Klinsmann.”