MLSAllStar_KinnearPresser_07.26.16

QUOTE SHEET: Dominic Kinnear addresses the media ahead of the 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Game

On the opportunity to be the head coach of the MLS All-Stars…
“It’s an honor to be sitting here next to these two fine players in our league. When I saw the All-Star game announced in San Jose I thought of the opportunity to coach these fine group of players. It’s an honor. I’ve been involved in a couple different games in a couple different ways. I was involved with Frank Yallop during the game in 2001 and the last one I was helping out Bruce [Arena] with Manchester United down in Houston. For us, it’s an honor to play against Arsenal. They’re a very storied franchise with a wonderful manager with some wonderful players. Last night sitting at dinner with the group of players we had, you kind of pinch yourself and realize that you have such a great group of men and a great group of players within your grasp where you can spend some time with them. We look forward to a good game and putting forth a good effort. I never thought at seven years old when I was making the trek to Spartan Stadium way back in the day that I would be sitting here 42 years later sitting next to Kaka and Sacha Kljestan as a coach of the MLS All-Stars. It’s a complete honor for me and I’m just looking forward to the match.”

On the mindset going into the match against Arsenal FC…
“These guys are top players. Whenever they step on the field, whether it’s practice or games, they want to do well. I remember in the game against Manchester United the team was pretty humble and it had a feeling of an exhibition. Over the years, with games against teams like Tottenham, the teams have played well and they’ve been competitive. My instructions as the coach of this team is to be as balanced as possible and making sure when the team steps on the field, we’re trying to win the game.”

On coaching different players from different teams and backgrounds…
“It’s a great experience and with the evolution of MLS you have quite a few foreign players drift through every locker room. I think the names and the reputations have gotten bigger over the years. When you’re with the All-Stars it’s a huge collection of top players in our league so to get to know some of these guys and see how they carry themselves and how they train will be interesting and it will be fun as well. I think if you ask Kaka and you talk about the teams he’s played with over the years that it just wasn’t the country he was playing in. I’m sure there will be different languages spoken in the locker room and I think that’s expected in world football now. It’s going to be fun being in the same room as them and being involved in the game.”

On if the game is about showing something or proving something…
“I think it’s all about showing something. I don’t think we need to step onto the field and prove anything. It’s an All-Star game so it should be entertaining so we want to show that they are good players. Obviously, if you’re going to ask the coach of Arsenal Arsene Wenger, he’ll know a couple of our players as well, so I don’t think we’re here to prove anything. We’re here to be competitive and we’re trying to win and we want to show that we have good players in this league.”

On the criteria for selecting the MLS All-Stars after the Fan XI…
“I think beyond the Fan XI you’re trying to get a team that’s balanced and that has enough defenders, enough midfielders and enough attackers. We sat as a staff for a couple hours trying to get as many teams represented and being fair to the players that have been having good seasons and also making it easy for us in the game to make the right substitutions. When you coach against a lot of these players, you don’t want to become fans of the way they play, but this kind of gives you and opportunity to appreciate the body of work in the league. It was difficult for us to narrow the names down. It was a trying process at times. It was a little bit of fantasy football manager with a little guidance from the league so it was a fun time. Sitting down next to some of the players that are sitting across from you, you feel lucky to be in this position.”

On how far this league has come in 20 years…
“I think it really hits me when you show your team unit in a pregame talk. One of the first days when it caught me by surprise is when I was writing David Beckham’s name. You know the league has grown when you put more names up like Kaka, Thierry Henry, Giovinco and there’s a lot of others that I’m forgetting. I don’t normally sit back but I get asked the question enough where I realize how far this league has come in such a short period of time. It’s been 20 years to where we are now. It’s incredible not just because of the stadiums and academies and the TV but obviously the names that are being attracted to come play here. You mentioned Didier Drogba and introducing Kaka as a former World Player of the Year so it’s a pretty impressive list of names that have come across and I think the David Beckham trickle-down effect is a big reason for that. You almost pinch yourself a bit when you watch these players on TV and when you’re writing their names up on the board. It’s been an incredible journey. Commissioner Don Garber deserves a lot of credit for the path that the league has taken and you look at this room and the teams we’re playing in All-Star Games shows that the league has come a long way in a short period of time and hopefully that continues into the future.”

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