Brief thoughts on today’s announcement that Jurgen Klinsmann is the new coach of American National Team…
Those who are calling this a disaster in waiting or saying this is a bad hire while citing Klinsmann’s poor coaching record at Bayern Munich (notably pretty bad) and/or minimalizing the impact he had on the German team that finished third in 2006 are missing the point of the hiring.
He has the knowledge, credibility, and personality to inspire wholesale changes to the way the game of soccer is approached in this country. He has an attacking mindset and knows firsthand what it takes to play and succeed at the upper echelons of this game. He also has lived and observed US Soccer for the past 12+ years and knows the strengths and weaknesses of this countries system. Combined with his MLS experience (albeit minimal) and he has enough of a knowledge of the state of the game in the US to know what he is getting into/
In the below video he makes it clear that he recognizes the issues that plague American soccer begin with the player development system and result in a glaring deficiencies at the highest level (ie a really poor first touch).
People were calling for other big name Europeans/S Americans, but bringing in someone who didn’t understand US Soccer was a bad idea – if the change is going to be massive, you can’t rely on someone who might bolt in the middle due to frustration or a better offer. Klinsmann (with his family settled here) seems to be committed to this cause of establishing US Soccer as something more than a pesky underdog. It is all the better that, as a former attacking player, he relies heavily on playing attacking football.
Ultimately, only time will tell whether this is a good decision. But you have to give credit to Sunil Gulati for finally getting his guy and (hopefully) giving him the control required to change the culture. This country has no reason to be so far behind in this sport and I think Klinsmann sees that, it is now his challenge to do something about it.
August 10th should be as fascinating as any friendly in recent memory as the new look USMNT takes on Mexico. Ultimately though, this cannot be a results driven experiment for the next three years; the only result that matters in that period is 2014 in Brazil. While winning is unrealistic, they should at least be able to demonstrate a sense of style that is their own and doesn’t involve a haphazard attempt at packing the back.