What Makes USMNT So Frustrating Right Now? Former Player Jimmy Conrad Nails It

‘I want to watch a game where it’s clear the players are much better than I ever was.’

Jimmy Conrad has transitioned nicely from a career as 2005 MLS Defender of the Year to a prominent YouTuber. Though 42, he’s got the content creation skills of a 20-year-old Twitch streamer, which is a compliment. 

Whether it’s playing FIFA or attending matches around the country ( and abroad), former USMNT CB Jimmy Conrad has a YouTube channel that’s just as entertaining as any soccer channel, but with the insight of a former player.

Conrad played professionally for over a decade, making more than 200 appearances with Kansas City when it still had the stupidly wonderful nickname the Wizards. He appeared 27 times for the USMNT, including at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. 

Conrad scored the only international goal of his career in a friendly with Mexico in 2007 and he knows the USA-Mexico soccer rivalry more intimately than any content creator on YouTube could. 

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So when Conrad posted a video this week (available above) about his thoughts on what’s wrong with the USMNT after getting spanked by Mexico 3-0, his views carried some weight. Add in the fact he knows the coaching staff quite well (he was teammates and/or roommates with Gregg Berhalter and assistant Josh Wolff), and he might just be the best man to go to for insight on the USMNT right now.

Sadly, his views aren’t all that positive, which is how most of us felt after watching the U.S. flail around against El Tri last week, not to mention the lost year before Berhalter was even hired. 

Conrad admits he would crush Jurgen Klinsmann publicly if he had just lost to Mexico in such a shambolic manner but won’t crush the current USMNT staff because of his personal relationships with the coaches. Instead, he vents over what the team did poorly in the match against a team that went out a few days later and lost 4-0 to Argentina’s B team.

Conrad expressed his acute frustration with the USMNT’s attempts to play out of the back like Manchester City, even when high pressure suggested the team would be better to adapt to a different tactic. He asked if the U.S. even has the personnel to play such a style. 

“Right now in my humble opinion, this style of play, at least when the other team is very good at high pressing, is an unnecessary risk,” Conrad said. “If the game dictates something else, then we need to be able to adapt and not continue to force something that clearly isn’t working. Square peg, round hole. 

“We need a Plan B or Plan C and everyone on the field needs to recognize on the field when that’s happening.” 

Conrad also wants to see some more communicators on the pitch, players who can solve problems in real time instead of just waiting to be told by a coach what to do. 

“We’re trying to straddle this line of aspiring to be more while also remaining true to ourselves and being realistic about what we’re currently capable of,” Conrad said.

Most damning of all was this line from Conrad, who, we remind you, made 27 appearances for the USMNT from 2005-2010:

“I want to watch a game — this is my big wish — where it’s clear the players are much better than I ever was,” Conrad said. “That’s how I measure progress, and they’re not.”

No offense to Jimmy Conrad, but it’s hard not to completely agree. As good as the USMNT was at times in the 2000s (remember, it reached the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup and held eventual-champion Italy to a draw in 2006), you expect to see progress, not stagnation.

Conrad’s rant pretty much summed up the feelings of countless USMNT fans who are tired of watching this team struggle, especially while the USWNT is winning everything there is to win. 

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