Coach Klinsmann, who (as you know) is from Germany, raised concerns about his marquee players moving from the traditional power houses in English Premier League and the Italian Serie to the U.S. Market. In a recent interview, he said that "it's going to be very difficult to keep the same level that they experienced at the places they were. It's just reality. It's just being honest."
Such honesty didn't sit well with the MLS brass, and Garber called his comments "personally infuriating." Now, Garber's "infuriation" may be due MLS branding worries, or perhaps about the perception that the U.S. National Team and MLS should work hand in hand to build U.S. soccer, but there could also be an intercultural communication issue at play. Klinsmann's comments were quite direct, and we Americans can have a hard time German directness. Now, as a Southerner, I grew up in a culture where you learn to give the bad news with the least direct way possible. For example, say I'm wearing a hideous, tacky tie. The German response would be: "That tie is ugly and you should be ashamed for leaving the house with it. It doesn't help that you're a unattractive person to begin with."
The American response: "Wow, that is a colorful tie you got there! I LOVE it (really), but I think the establishment requires that you wear a tie with one color, so why don't you try a navy blue."
Therefore, I've collected a list of sentences that Klinsmann could use to talk to players about their MLS careers while avoiding further infuriation.
(Note: For the sentences to work, you need a continuous smile. Also, practice flashing your eyes at every stressed syllable. Practice in a mirror as necessary.)
- "It's so GREAT that you're playing Sporting Kansas City next week! You know, wouldn't it also be fun to play Chelsea or AC Milan?"
- "The MLS is the best league in North America!"
- "I mean, the MLS competition is great, but the quality is just an inchy, squinchy bit lower than some of the European leagues. Just an inchy, squinchy bit." (Sip your sweet tea and smile)
- "Oh, you're leaving the English Premier League? It must be the weather..."
- "Oh, bless your heart!"
- "What a wonderful league you're moving to! I need to refresh my drink." (Then walk away)