WASHINGTON, August 1, 2011—U.S. Soccer has chosen Juergen Klinsmann as the new coach of the U.S. men’s national team. This has been in the works for a long time and was one day inevitable.
Klinsmann withdrew his name from consideration for the appointment in 2006 and Bob Bradley got the job. Now the German is back and has the keys to the car. Will he transform U.S. soccer? Who knows.
The former ace striker is known to be a free spirit and a man who likes things done his way. I doubt he will be as diplomatic as Bradley if things don’t work. But the choice of Klinsmann is refreshing, exciting, and comes at the ideal time. Klinsmann was one of the classiest goal-scorers of the 1990s. He was a great player to watch, and if he can mold players into his stylish image it will be a great benefit to the game in America.
Klinsmann, who coached Germany in the 2006 World Cup, will certainly raise the profile of the American team. One of the world’s best strikers in his playing days, the charismatic Klinsmann is widely respected worldwide.
Bradley, a former D.C. United assistant, was the best American for the job at the time and did extremely well. His team played in five finals and made it to the title game four times. Bradley must be praised for the U.S. team’s amazing win over Spain at the 2009 Confederations Cup.
Klinsmann speaks fluent English and has lived in Southern California with his American wife for over 13 years. He has an understanding of America’s unique soccer infrastructure and the potential to change the culture of the game here. He often trained with the Los Angeles Galaxy and got on well with former American team coach Bruce Arena.
As a player Klinsmann starred for clubs such as Stuttgart, Inter Milan, AS Monaco, Bayern Munich and Tottenham Hotspur. He scored 47 goals in 108 games for Germany, helping the team win the 1990 World Cup.
When he took on the German coaching job in 2004 with no previous coaching experience, Klinsmann came under intense criticism. The German media attacked him for refusing to leave California and for hiring American experts in the field of nutrition and training. However, in the end, he won over his critics and became a national hero as he led a young blue-collar German team to third place at the 2006 World Cup. The son of a baker and a trained baker himself, Klinsmann may have the recipe to revitalize the American team. Let’s hope so.
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