Toronto FC's Torsten Frings Interviewed (A Translation)

Discussion in 'MLS: General' started by Stefan Schuette, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. Stefan Schuette

    Stefan Schuette Member

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    Hey Guys! I saw the link on MLSsoccer about Frings recently being interviewed, it was in German, I thought it was a good interview, so I'll translate it to English and post it here for everyone to read!

    Don't know if this belongs in N&A or in the Toronto forum, but it definitely has some general stuff for fans of the league:

    Here's the link to the original article (in German): http://www.derwesten.de/sport/torsten-frings-freut-sich-nicht-erkannt-zu-werden-id7442449.html

    Translated to English (As good as I could):

    Mr. Frings, you were German champion with Bayern Munich and Canadian champion with Toronto FC. Are the celebrations in Toronto similar to those in Munich (holding the Trophy with the team on the City Hall Balcony at Marienplaz)?

    (Laughs) Nah. It was a small competition, so afterwards we went and got a beer. And that was it. You can't really compare it to the Bundesliga. People here aren't really interested in soccer as they are for ice hockey or basketball. The title was important however.

    How come?

    Because then you qualify for the North American Champions League. You leave Canada to play clubs from Costa Rico or Mexico, and that's a lot of fun. But you really can't compare it to Europe, because in the Canadian Cup we're only competing with four other clubs so our chances are really good. We've been Canadian Cup champions for 4 years in a row now. While it didn't work out great for us in MLS, it worked out for us in the Champions League.

    How is the level of play in MLS? It's been compared to the lower divisions here in the past.

    Toronto would be mid level in the 2nd Division, or maybe a little lower on the table. The Galaxy, Beckham's club, MLS Champions of the last two seasons, would be at the level of a 'Greuther Furth', but they wouldn't be in the relegation zone. There is definitely a gap, but the league structure becomes more and more professional.

    You've played in the World Cup and the Euro Cup, and you were world class in your position, was switching leagues a big adjustment for you?

    Sure, I'm used to a different kind of play, the quality in Europe is higher, but you learn to deal with it and try to help my fellow players with corner kicks and throw-ins, and so forth. With these teams there are a lot of young players that come straight out of College. We have a completely different training system here in Germany. They are however physically in excellent shape and very fit, (North) Americans value that greatly.

    You are 36 years old. Can you still keep up?

    (Laughs) I played in Europe, there the quality is clearly and simply higher, but naturally you have to keep yourself fit. There's not a high level of value placed here on a technical style of football. They can all run, but the oversight is lacking, however that'll get better.

    You were quickly made captain at Toronto.

    I was asked, and here I'm sort of a marquee player. I really enjoy it. We're a close-knit group here, everyone really gets along, it's different than in the Bundesliga. Here you can befriend someone very easily because there is no envy, with the salary cap, players here all make around the same salary. There are players here who earn 40,000 dollars a year, no one would play in Germany for that amount, but for young players here the league can act as a nice springboard.

    Let's talk about what's going on around you, what's the stadium atmosphere like?

    Not as bad as you'd think, actually pretty good. Here in Toronto, we have 20,000 fans regularly, the stadium is usually almost full, and they make for a great atmosphere. New York has a really nice stadium and Seattle brings in crowds of 50,000.

    The Travel...

    ...is something I totally underestimated. It's quite exhausting, you fly 6 hours to a game in Los Angeles or Vancouver, plus there's a 3 hour time difference. Also, we don't fly charter planes, we use the airlines. The entire team sits scattered around the plane where they can find free seats. The good thing though is that you see a lot of North America, it's really beautiful.

    The Media...

    ...All the games get broadcast live on television, but usually there's only 3 or 4 journalists there plus the guys from our club channel (Toronto FC TV). In Munich or Dortmund it was completely different. Sports journalists here, however, are allowed to go straight to the locker room after the game and interview you while you're in the shower, but you get used to it. And here in the city no one recognizes me, thankfully.

    That's different than in Munich or Dortmund.

    That's the best part! I've always wanted to live in a big city, and here I can walk around free without being photographed or watched. Toronto is really nice city. I don't know anyone who doesn't like it, I highly recommend for people to come here and visit. The city changes every month, its constantly growing with new skyscrapers. It's nuts. During the summer here, the beaches and the lakes here are just like in the Mediterranean. During the winter however it's incredibly cold, so I'm happy to be here in Germany during that time.

    Toronto is a big sports town, and you're a big sports fan.

    Yeah, that's also great. All the teams here have the same owner, so that becomes really pracitical when you need tickets. I can go watch the Maple Leafs (Ice Hockey), the Raptors (Basketball), or the Blue Jays (Baseball). You can usually spot me at the games when I've got the time. Half the players live in my apartment complex, so we go out to dinner too.

    How do you do it with the family?

    My girlfriend is with me here in Toronto, and my children visit me during their vacation, they like it here. I also go to Germany 2 or 3 times a year.

    So, in conclusion, you did the right thing?

    Yeah, I'm really glad I made this decision, and I feel very comftable here.

    What's next? How much longer are you going to play?

    I just had an injury, but everything's OK now. I head over to start preseason in January. One more year should do it for me, I don't want to play longer than that.

    -------

    There you have it, cool stuff. Good to hear opinions and observations from a player who's played at the highest level. I wish we could hear it more often from more players. It's still crazy that the teams fly commercial, I think flying with chartered planes would be a nice step when it comes to MLS infrastructure. Hopefully they'll be able to afford that at some point.
    manoa, Zoti, TopDogg and 16 others repped this.


  2. EvilTree

    EvilTree Member+

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    thanks for the translation. easier to read than google translate (though not as funny lol)
  3. GVPATS77

    GVPATS77 Member+

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    Thanks for the translation. Pretty much backs up what every other player has said about the quality of MLS teams. The top teams in the league would be near the relegation zone in the top 4 leagues in Europe.

    Sadly, no matter how many players from Europe share this opinion, the MLS trolls will continue to say that MLS is on par with the Regionalia, Serie C, League 1 level teams.
  4. profiled

    profiled Moderator Staff Member

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    I read a few tweets by Port Vale fans, when talking about signing Chris Birchall saying that he'd be playing at the same level he was playing at in MLS by joining them.

    Port Value is in League Two (4th level in England).


  5. GVPATS77

    GVPATS77 Member+

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    Well Chris Brichall was playing at a League 2 level. The Galaxy weren't. Which is why Chris Birchall never played.
  6. kickin365

    kickin365 Member

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    I am not sure how you take away from this translation that top teams would be near relegation. He pretty much says the level is much much lower, but everyone can run fast and run a lot. Seemed like a pretty harsh review to me, but then again he plays for TFC which are just horrendous.
  7. profiled

    profiled Moderator Staff Member

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  8. kickin365

    kickin365 Member

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  9. looknohands

    looknohands Member+

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    I would certainly hope that this is something that the players push hard for in the next CBA, even at the expense of a significant addition to the salary cap. I'd also hope that the league takes a good, long look at "block" scheduling (similar to how the NHL does/did it wherein a team would play three or four games on the road--say Seattle, Vancouver and Portland in one swing--and then come home for three or four games, to cut down on the amount of time spent travelling.)
  10. fuzzx

    fuzzx Member+

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    That doesn't really make sense for MLS though, they usually play one game a week, so spending a full week out of town just to save on a flight is not too advantageous.

    NHL plays every 2-3 days, so it makes more sense.

    Or course if the wednesday-saturday/sunday games were organised that way it would probably be quite helpful.
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  11. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

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    Plus we've heard multiple reports from ticket staff that its hard to get people (non die-hards) to come out 3 or 4 weeks in a row for games. I like the general idea but I'm not sure the league is there yet.

    I'd love for the Rapids to be scheduled Sat-Wed-Sat in the 3 Pacific NW cities. I'd take the week off and go see all 3 games.
  12. JG

    JG Member+

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    66 appearances in 2.5 seasons is a lot of never playing.
  13. themodelcitizen

    themodelcitizen Member

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    MLS at it's worst, in the midst of fixture congestion when a bunch of kids are getting way too many minutes, is probably close to Port Vale/League 2 style kick and rush football. When the teams are in good shape with no injuries and playing good football though, it's a different story.
  14. deejay

    deejay Member+

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    That can happen in any league
  15. GVPATS77

    GVPATS77 Member+

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    Aside from the fact that he explicitly said that the Galaxy was on par with Greuther Fürth, but wouldn't get relegated.

    He really didn't leave a lot of room for interpretation. He even said that the absolutely putrid Toronto FC would be a mid-table Bundesliga 2 side.

    Makes me wonder, did you actually read the entire translation, or just cherry pick statements and draw your own conclusions?
    (TxT) repped this.
  16. kickin365

    kickin365 Member

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    I missed that part. Read again and I did see that, it was the only part I somehow missed in the first pass. S#$! happens. He was indeed quite specific, which I give him credit for.
  17. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

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    Of course, the staunchest MLS fans assume that Torsten didn't guild the lilies just a tiny bit.

    I would discount his claims by 10-15% because there's no way Toronto would have stayed up in BLII on its 2012 season.
  18. GVPATS77

    GVPATS77 Member+

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    The simple fact is that EVERY SINGLE player that has come to MLS from a top 4 league in Europe has had the same evaluation. The top teams in MLS are around the bottom 4-5 in the top division while the lower teams are 2nd division quality.

    I kind of hold their opinion a bit higher than yours.

    Frings wasn't exactly glowing in terms of his overall evaluation of MLS players and US development, which leads me to believe that he wasn't trying to blow sunshine up anyone's ass when he assessed the overall quality of the teams in MLS.
  19. Spursfan1

    Spursfan1 Member+

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    It is better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low. And we of MLS have set our sights very high, so high in fact that even failure will have in it an echo of glory.

    I pity those that accept mediocrity.
  20. Elninho

    Elninho Member+

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    More so in MLS, though, because of the parity around the league. In most leagues, the talent is unevenly distributed between clubs; the second-choice players at the top clubs are easily starters for mid-table clubs and so on down. Clubs that have injuries to starters can plug in someone who doesn't look out of place in the league. That still isn't always the case in MLS, where the top players are spread out around the league and no team is more than about 15 players deep. In MLS, if a regular starter is injured, the player who steps in is likely someone who wouldn't be a starter for anyone in MLS.
  21. profiled

    profiled Moderator Staff Member

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    But doesn't that make games between the bottom teams in those leagues even worse as the talent ladder gets worse and worse the further down the table you go, something you don't really see in a more even/parity driven league?
  22. looknohands

    looknohands Member+

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    Your parents would be thrilled if you could even reach the level of "mediocrity."
  23. superdave

    superdave Member+

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    EDIT: sorry for the long post. I guess I had alot to say. :D

    I'm not really interested in the 922nd iteration of the "how good is MLS" argument.

    I think what Frings said about the lifestyle and everything related is interesting. It suggests (as we all suspected) that MLS can carve out a terrific niche of bringing in Euros who have been at top clubs but just aren't good enough anymore for the likes of Bayern or Juve and so forth, and don't have the personality to then play for Hertha Berlin or Chievo. What MLS has to offer those guys is a decent level of play that will appeal to their competitive nature. MLS can offer a chance to focus on soccer because here, they're just people and not celebrities. And because of the cap and the just general gratefulness of pro soccer players here, it's FUN to be part of the team. That's probably what most of these guys loved about soccer when they were 9 and 11 and 13 years old, and in MLS, they have a chance to experience that one more time before they retire. Finally, they get a chance to live in a new city and, on road trips, see alot of stuff. I'm guessing that there's a hell of alot more variety between the sites in Dallas and Chicago and Washington compare to the sites in Liverpool vs. Newcastle vs. Birmingham.

    For me, personally, I would think it would be pretty awesome for a guy like Frings, who can afford it, to stay the Sunday after TFC plays the Fire and check out Chicago, to stay the Sunday after they play Dallas and go to South Fork.

    But if you look at what Frings said, there's a fly in the ointment. The travel is a bitch, especially for an older player. MLS can do SOMEthing to lessen the impact. When a team has to play Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday, there's no reason why a couple of those cycles can't involve playing 2 of the Northwest teams in a row, or NYRB and NE, or Houston and Dallas. Just because TFC plays the Sounders on Saturday and the Vancouver on Wednesday doesn't mean that the Sounders are at home that Saturday or Vancouver is at home the previous Saturday!

    The league can't, as a practical matter, do this as a blanket policy like the NHL does. But they can pretty easily solve the problem, say, twice a year. And the road team is going to play better in that 2nd game, which addresses, to a very small extent, the "level of play" discussion that Frings gets into.

    One last thing...what I found interesting is that Frings says (and as everyone would agree) that of the 3 main elements that make up soccer abilities, MLS is strong in the athleticism department. But he cites technique as the biggest problem, rather than tactics, and that surprises me. It doesn't jibe with my personal opinion, and I recall Schelotto and (if you want to go old school) Lothar Mattheus pointing to tactics, to the mental game, as the biggest weakness in MLS. I'm not arguing with Torsten, just making an observation.

    I wonder what y'all think about that?
  24. deejay

    deejay Member+

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    Superdave, soccer players may often use the words style or philosophy instead of tactics. Klinsmann also uses the word style or philosophy. So when Frings says technical style he means the choices players make in creating or continuing a play.
  25. ChrisSSBB

    ChrisSSBB Member+

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    Maybe Frings ascribes to the old adage that without technique, there are no tactics. I think that it is fair to say that MLS is somewhat limited tactically due to the uneven technical abilities of players.
    GVPATS77 repped this.

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