The head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team is unhappy some of his premier players are, well, playing in the U.S. again. Now, Major League Soccer's commissioner is firing back.
The ruffling of feathers came Monday from head coach Jurgen Klinsmann about two of his team's star players, Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey, returning to play in the U.S after spending several years with top European clubs. Klinsmann made it known to reporters that he felt the MLS wasn't as strong as overseas competition.
Klinsmann told reporters, "I made it clear with Clint's move back and Michael's move back that it's going to be very difficult to keep the same level that they experienced at the places where they were. It's just reality. It's just being honest."
But, MLS commissioner Don Garber defended his league's skill level in a conference call with reporters and even took a few shots at Klinsmann.
Garber said, “Jurgen’s comments are very, very detrimental to our league. They’re detrimental to the sport of soccer in America and everything we’re trying do north of the border. And not only are they detrimental, I think they're wrong.”
Garber threw another shot at Klinsmann, criticizing the German manager for leaving another one of MLS’s biggest stars, Landon Donovan, out of the squad for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
And it appears a few are siding with Garber in defense of the league and writing off Klinsmann's comments more so as the outspoken coach just being himself.
RICHARD FLEMING, MLS REPORTER VIA BBC: "Here's a guy in Don Garber that has built Major League Soccer into what it is today. ... New television deal coming into place in 2015 that's going to give Major League Soccer more money, more exposure than it's ever had."
But, that's not how Deadspin sees it, saying Garber got worked up over nothing. "All Klinsmann is saying is that all else equal, a player is better off with a team like Tottenham—a perennial Champions League aspirant in the best league in the world ... rather than MLS. This is non-controversial, but Garber somehow found a way to read these obviously true statements as indefensible attacks on his league and the sport of soccer in this country."
Klinsmann, after all, is no stranger to controversial comments, telling The New York Times that the national team had couldn't win the World Cup because they "we are not at that level yet."
MICHAEL WILBON VIA ESPN: "I think I'm pretty much on record as having expressed my annoyance with Mr. Klinsmann."
According to Yahoo, Michael Bradley seemed to brush Klinsmann's comments off for the most part saying, "I have broad shoulders and thick skin. I'm not ever going to change who I am."
Now, as to what kind of effect this little spat has on the MLS and USMNT is still yet to be known. The U.S. is next scheduled to play November 18 against Ireland.
This video includes images from Getty Images.