Ever since taking over as the United States manager in 2011, Jurgen Klinsmann has had a lot of opinions. Some of them were regarding style of plays, others about player transfers and others about development. One of the things that has been on his mind lately is American player fitness, or lack thereof, and he's found his culprit -- MLS.
Klinsmann believes the MLS season is too short and that's why some of his players are not fit enough, do not get enough reps and generally, are not good enough. The problem is he's entirely full of it.
"The MLS season goes nine months and they should take a month off but then they should go back into preparing themselves for the next year," said Klinsmann on America's Pregame.
"Soccer is an all-year-round schedule. My wishes at the end of the day is that the domestic league here, the MLS, goes to an 11-month schedule like the rest of the world."
Klinsmann has talked about the short MLS schedule before, and he's talked about fitness problems in the last few days as the MLS-based U.S. players are together for training camp. But there's a problem with this line of thinking -- it's not true.
The current MLS offseason will last 89 days. The Premier League took a 97-day break this summer and La Liga's offseason lasted just as long. The Bundesliga took a whopping 104-day offseason and that doesn't even account for the one-month winter break they take.
Those numbers can be pushed a week or so when you take into account cup competitions and the like, but they aren't going to change drastically. Even if you include the preseasons, European clubs get two months off in the summer, which isn't different than MLS. The teams that don't make the MLS playoffs get a longer offseason than 89 days, but there are November internationals and January camp that mitigate much of that.
You can count the break any way you would like, but MLS isn't going to suddenly have a significantly longer offseason than the other leagues. That's probably because the other leagues aren't going to magically have an 11-month season, like Klinsmann claims.
There are arguments to be made that a longer season isn't actually better and that the lack of time off leaves players susceptible to injuries. You could take Klinsmann's side that the U.S. team isn't fit enough. There are a lot of discussions to be had regarding fitness and various things that impact the Americans' fitness, but you cannot argue that the MLS offseason is significantly shorter or that the rest of the world has an 11-month season. That's just wrong.