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This time, it’s not just talk: Juergen Klinsmann is the new coach of the U.S. men’s national soccer team.
U.S. Soccer moved quickly to name a replacement for fired coach Bob Bradley, announcing Klinsmann’s hiring Friday. The former standout player and coach for the German national team will be a familiar name to American fans, given that U.S. Soccer almost hired him twice—first after the 2006 World Cup and again last year before giving Bradley what turned out to be a short-lived contract extension.
Now, with the U.S. team’s progress seemingly stalled, it’s time to see what Klinsmann can do.
“We are excited to have Juergen as the head coach of our Men’s National Team,” U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said in a statement. “He is a highly accomplished player and coach with the experience and knowledge to advance the program. Juergen 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.”
Klinsmann will be formally introduced Monday at a press conference in New York. His debut as coach will come Aug. 10, when the U.S. team faces archrival Mexico in an exhibition match in Philadelphia. Qualifying for the next 2014 World Cup in Brazil begins next year.
“I am proud and honored to be named the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team,” Klinsmann said. “I would like to thank the U.S. Soccer Federation for the opportunity, and 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.”
Although the U.S. federation has discussed the job with Klinsmann in the past, the coach’s desire for extensive authority over the entire U.S. program has been considered a point of contention preventing a previous deal.
Klinsmann, who turns 47 on Saturday, has a considerable World Cup pedigree.
As a player, Klinsmann scored 11 goals in three World Cups, 1990, 1994 and 1998. That ties him for sixth on the all-time scoring list, just behind Pele.
Klinsmann was a key cog for West Germany’s 1990 World Cup-winning team and the German team’s captain from 1994 to 1998. He retired in 1998 and moved to the United States shortly afterward.
U.S. Soccer fired Bradley in a surprise move Thursday.
Bradley led the U.S. team to considerable success and several big moments. But the U.S. team seemed to take a step backward this summer, and a stinging 4-2 loss to Mexico in the Gold Cup final last month—the U.S. blew a 2-0 lead— appears to have convinced U.S. Soccer officials it was time to make a change.
Last year, U.S. Soccer gave Bradley a contract extension through 2014.