Finally. After pursuing Jurgen Klinsmann for 5 years, the USSF has hired Jurgen Klinsmann to be the next National Team coach, replacing Bob Bradley. Most fans wanted Klinsmann to lead the National Team back in 2006, but US Soccer would not pay him the money or give him the control he wanted to implement his agenda. While the timing was somewhat of a shock, Bradley’s dismissal is long over due. Klinsmann is just the right man for the job.
Klinsmann is one of the greatest strikers to ever play the game and someone the players can look up to. No past National Team coach in recent memory has had the playing career or experience that Klinsmann had. He won the World Cup with West Germany in 1990, and at a minimum, our young strikers Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo, and Teal Bunbury should improve under his tutelage. All 3 of these players are very young, a little raw, but with a lot of physical ability. We’ve never had a world-class striker on our roster, and while the three players named above may never have the technical skill to develop into one, they can become great players under Klinsmann’s guidance. With his accomplishments as a player, it will give him instant credibility with the current team.
He has also had a lot of success as a coach, leading Germany to a 3rd place finish at the 2006 World Cup. Following a disappointing Euro 2004, Germany named Klinsmann their head coach. The Germans had an aging squad, and needed to interject new players and new tactics. Klinsmann elevated many young players into the starting line-up and also had the team play an attacking style. The team played with an attacking flare that up to that point had rarely been seen from German teams. This is very similar to the challenge facing him today with the US.
With the job openings at the Youth National Team Level, Klinsmann will have the opportunity to shape US Soccer for the considerable future. Because of a pretty fortunate draw in World Cup Qualifying, Klinsmann will have at least the next 18 months to experiment with new young players and tactics without risking progression to the final round of qualifying. It will be exciting to see who is brought into the team. The goal should be bringing in players that can start in 2014, not necessarily the best players at the moment.
The turnaround will not be overnight and there will be a lot of growing pains in the future but finally US Soccer has shown a commitment to someone who has a vision for developing a world-class program. For the first time in a year, there is excitement surrounding the future of the National Team, something Bradley could not do. Hopefully, the hiring of Klinsmann is not 5 years too late.