Jurgen Klinsmann has said that U.S. soccer fans' criticisms of his tenure as head coach of the national team are an indication of how important the game has become in American sports culture. If the fans are critical, he reasons, that only means that they are engaged and care about the performance of their national team.
There isn't a national coach in the world who isn't criticized by the fans. If Spain wins the World Cup surrendering only two goals in the entire tournament, the fans complain that their team didn't score enough goals. When Brazil won their last World Cup the fans complained that the team was not playing with enough flair. And so on.
Every national team coach becomes the focal point for armchair analysis of their tactics and player selections. Jurgen Klinsmann is no different.
When the fans sense that something is not going their way, they turn the volume up to 11 and call for the coach's firing. In Mexico's qualifier against Costa Rica the fans chanted in full voice, "Fuera Chepo" or "Fire Chepo!"
If such events are the hallmark of a great soccer nation, the U.S. is not far from the pinnacle. When the U.S. seemed to be struggling in the first round of World Cup qualifying, the calls for Klinsmann's removal echoed off Mount Rushmore. When the Nats stumbled in the opening game of the Hex against Honduras, the hot air could have lifted a fleet of giant balloons.
Sports fans are, of course, a fickle lot, and the U.S. fans were chanting "We are going to Brazil" as Klinsmann's team dismantled an overmatched Panamanian squad 2-0 in Seattle.
For now, the voices calling for Klinsmann's removal are no louder than amber waves of grain. So before our national attention deficit swings the other way, here are four reasons USMNT fans should stick to analyzing the players' tattoos and stuff this nonsense about firing Jurgen Klinsmann into the deep recesses of the Grand Canyon.