U.S. Soccer names ex-German skipper Jürgen Klinsmann as national team coach
Former German national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann has been tapped to head the U.S. national squad.
July 29th, 2011
01:27 PM ET

U.S. Soccer names ex-German skipper Jürgen Klinsmann as national team coach

The U.S. men's national soccer team, a day after firing its coach of almost five years, has named former German skipper Jürgen Klinsmann to take the helm ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, in announcing the team’s 35th manager, said he was excited to see Klinsmann taking over.

“He is a highly accomplished player and coach with the experience and knowledge to advance the program,” Gulati said in a statement. “Jürgen has had success in many different areas of the game and we look forward to the leadership he will provide on and off the field.”

Gulati announced Thursday that Bob Bradley, who had coached the team since January 2007, had been relieved of his duties.

The U.S. Soccer Federation will hold a news conference Monday to formally introduce the 46-year-old Klinsmann as its coach. His first match will be a highly anticipated August 10 bout with Mexico, which thrashed the U.S. 4-2 in this year’s Gold Cup final.

“I’m excited about the challenge ahead. I am looking forward to bringing the team together for our upcoming match against Mexico and starting on the road toward qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup,” Klinsmann said.

Klinsmann’s record as a coach is a mixed bag. Though he silenced many of his critics by leading Germany to a third-place trophy in the 2006 World Cup, he stepped down to be with his wife, Debbie, and their two children, who live in California.

“I have a big wish to return to my family and get back to normality,” he said during a news conference announcing his resignation.

In 2008, the Goppingen native took over Bayern Munich, one of Germany’s most prestigious club teams, but he was replaced after a year, despite a 25-9-9 record and making the quarterfinals of Europe’s Champions League. It was widely reported that he did not see eye-to-eye with Munich’s board of directors.

It’s worth noting that Klinsmann coached American star Landon Donovan during a loan to Munich. Klinsmann told Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl last year that he believes Donovan “can play at the highest level” and thinks the 29-year-old midfielder could have excelled in Germany’s Bundesliga had he been given more time.

Klinsmann’s resume as a player is far more impressive than his coaching CV. As a striker, “the Golden Bomber” had a knack for finding the back of the net and amassed 232 goals in 516 games during his 17-year club career. During that time, he played for some of the world’s best teams, including Italy’s Inter Milan, England’s Tottenham Hotspur and Bayern Munich.

He also played for the West German national team that won the 1990 World Cup and the German squad that brought home 1996’s European Championship. He scored 47 goals in 108 games for his national team.

Klinsmann has been considered for the U.S. post in the past, but negotiations crumbled twice over the amount of control Klinsmann would wield in coaching the top American squad.

Last year, Klinsmann told Wahl that he passed on the job after the 2006 World Cup but “left it totally positive.” In a separate interview with SI’s soccer guru, Klinsmann said he turned down the job following the 2010 World Cup because the U.S. Soccer Federation wouldn’t give him full control of the team in writing. He declined to explain exactly what the federation refused to include.

“That goes too much into specifics,” Klinsmann told Wahl. “I don't want to go that far. We couldn't get the deal done because of a couple of issues, and the main issue was we couldn't get it into a written format. And that's it.”

Read Wahl's take on Friday's news

Klinsmann will immediately replace Bradley, who was signed to a second four-year contract in August. He had a 45-25-12 record but faced criticism for decisions that observers said led to losses in pivotal games. Included are a 2-1 loss to Ghana in the second round of the 2010 World Cup, and blown 2-0 leads in the 2009 Confederations Cup final against Brazil and the Gold Cup final against Mexico in June.

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Filed under: Soccer • Sports • U.S.
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Madame Royale

    Good for Jürgen Klinsmann.
    If they're excited, I'm excited.
    My son played soccer.
    Number 14 for the Panther Varsity Team.
    He loved it, and was quite good.
    He would have approved, too.

    July 29, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kevin in Atlanta

    About freakin' time we got Klinsmann!!!

    July 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Franjo Schiller, Germany

    Congratulations to all US soccer fans. Jürgen is the best choice as your national coach. He is already a RESIDENT of the USA and knows how to deal with talents in the soccer world.

    July 29, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Anomic Office Drone

    Nice. Maybe now we will see our best players playing the beautiful game instead of our best player and a troupe of mediocre players engaged in what looks like an AYSO game.

    July 29, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. B

    Thank God we have a great coach now. Football (soccer) in American is a joke right now. Partially because so many Americans would rather support Basketball and American football....sports basically played by a bunch of thugs. Hopefully this, and the US Women team doing so well this year will shine some light on soccer.

    July 29, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boheme

      B, popularity is not about if fatheads playing amerootball, it's about money corporate sponsor can make hustling their wares during the gme. Unfortunately true football with its no-breaks-for-commercials will always be shunned in the US, but its not for lack of talented players. Only chicks with swinging boobs and butt cheeks can attract more attention, but even theirs is a marginal sport only.

      July 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Al

      Football is not joke in the US! Our MLS is in our 2nd decade, we won our group in the world Cup group and we have lost count of how many Yanks play in the premiership or the bundesliga!

      We're headed to Brazil, baby! GO, USA!!!

      July 29, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • B

      Boheme...I have no clue what you just said in that statement.

      Big Al – If you compare the teams that play in the MLS to the teams that play in the EPL, it looks like a joke. Any EPL player will be better than 99% of MLS players. Thats not saying America doesn't produce any good football players (Donovan for example). But, take a look where Donovan is playing – Obviously not for the crappy MLS.

      July 29, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kevin in PA

    This is truly a great day for football fans in the USA. Hopefully this means the best players will be put on the pitch. This may be the strongest coach pick the US team has ever had. Lets hope he doesn't get wrapped up in the BS politics that seems to keep USA men's soccer from becoming something great.

    July 29, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Calvin

    Congratulation. Just twist your fingers and hope that the new coach will help to rebuild a better soccer team with high technical knowledge and media as well.

    July 29, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joseph

    Mistake

    1) Klinsmann never led Munich to the semi-finals of the Champions League. He only led them to the quarterfinals where they were crushed by Barcelona (the crushing defeat was one of the catalysts in Munich deciding to sack him)

    July 29, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. usafan

    its about time we get a real coach

    July 29, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jon

    I love the pick, he should have gotten the job before. Give him complete control for the next three years and see what happens. I don't know of a better choice for manager of the national team, it should be a fun next three years. I just hope the US Soccer Federation doesn't handcuff him and let's him put this team together.

    July 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Big Al

    Ja, geile...

    July 29, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Paul

    I have to be dreaming. Any second now the alarm clock will go off and bring me back to reality. This makes my YEAR!!!
    USA!!!! 2014

    July 29, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. therantinggeek

    About time!!! I was pulling for either Klinsmann or "Big Phil" Scolari to be the US Men's head coach.

    July 29, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. PeteMD

    Finally, Klinsmann to coach the USMNT. Now, to see if the 'talent' in US can step it up, and give him something to work with! Should be an interesting next three years leading up to 2014.

    July 29, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. NEW THEME SONG

    USA,USA über alles...

    July 29, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
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