Klinsmann lauds "upward" club moves by US players

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has hailed the recent moves made by prominent European-based US players in the international transfer window, citing them as encouraging signs that his master plan for the program is moving forward apace.

Speaking to a collection of Jamaican and US media at the offices of the Jamaican Football Federation a few hours after the US national team’s arrival in Kingston ahead of Friday night’s World Cup qualifier, Klinsmann paid tribute to Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra, Maurice Edu, Geoff Cameron and Oguchi Onyewu for making what he described as upward moves to prominent clubs.

“It’s been a hectic and, a little bit also stressful, time for a couple of players in that transfer period, but now we are all thrilled,” he said. “We are thrilled they all found clubs of a certain caliber, they all found clubs, actually, of a certain standing.

“I think it shows you what is going on here. Our players are eager to move to the next level, they are eager to prove a point. Never ever [have] so many Americans played overseas in top leagues, and moved in those top leagues even to a higher level,” he added, also noting that similar growth is taking place among Jamaican players as well. “That was the message from the beginning, when I came onboard, is telling them, ‘You’ve got to step it up, and you’ve got to make it higher up.’”

While Klinsmann declined to reveal any specifics about his lineup or tactical choices for Friday’s pivotal clash at Independence Park (8 pm ET, beIN Sport, live chat on MLSsoccer.com), he sounded ready to throw Dempsey, Bocanegra and Edu straight into action despite their lack of top-level game time during their respective transfer sagas.

“Things are looking pretty good,” he said when asked about Dempsey’s readiness for a starting role. “Obviously he’s very excited about things, how they finished off with that difficult time for him with the transfer period, moving on to Tottenham Hotspur, one of the biggest clubs in England. He looks good, he looks sharp in training. Overall, the last three, four days went really well in Miami for us. We have all the guys at our disposal and we are eager to prove a point tomorrow night.

“Mo barely [played] any games, Clint the same. But we have to pick them up wherever they left it – that’s our job as national team coach – and then evaluate them in a couple of days now, and see where they’re at. I think we’re looking pretty good.”