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Fans Voice Opinions on Next MNT Head Coach

When we asked for your opinions on who should be the next coach of the Men’s National Team we knew the hot topic might get us a few responses. We were right…we got a few hundred. Just going through the outpouring of e-mails with the subject line of “Next MNT coach” took us a while, but after a few long days at Soccer House, we picked out the most knowledgeable and convincing opinions, and maybe some on the other side of the fence as well.

Before we get to the responses we figured we’d let you know that – surprise, surprise – former German manager Jurgen Klinsmann would have won the majority vote as more than half of the responses were in favor of the former World Cup star jumping up and down on the U.S. sideline wearing a tight, blue dress shirt. Second was D.C. United's fiery leader, Peter Nowak, who didn’t get an overwhelming amount of support, but a substantial amount more than anyone else. Picking up the bronze was Guus Hiddink, an impressive finish for a guy not really in the running considering Russia locked him down before the World Cup.

While most of the responses are about those three options, make sure to read the “And the rest…” section, where you’ll find some entertaining choices, including one fan, Roman, who thinks Kasey Keller should take over. (Psssttt….Roman, ahhh…not sure how to tell you this, but he’s still PLAYING. We’ll cut you some slack though, as in time, you’re probably right that Keller, if he wanted to, could turn into a pretty good coach.)

Okay, here we go.

Klinsmann, Klinsmann, Klinsmann….we hear you, we hear you!

I believe that a coach must bring a great deal of energy in coaching. At a time, Bruce Arena was brilliant in doing this even if he did not have the most talented players on the pitch, he helped them elevate their game to a new level. The coach whom I believe can bring this energy to the U.S. is Jurgen Klinsmann. Klinsmann brought great energy to a struggling German team and lifted them to a third place finish in the World Cup. Klinsmann lives very close to The Home Depot Center in Carson, which was frequently used as a training ground for the national team. With Klinsmann’s great knowledge of the game along with his experience of coaching the German national team, he should be a perfect fit for U.S. Soccer.
-- Thomas Breslin

If Jurgen Klinsmann is interested in the job, I think that he would be the best choice. Klinsmann obviously knows the game as he was the German coach and he knows how to coach players at the very highest level.  That is what U.S. Soccer needs right now - a proven winner who will continue to improve the credibility of the U.S. Soccer program. He has said in the past that he likes living in the U.S., so if he wants the position, no one else is really more qualified for it.

-- Patrick Graham

I believe that the U.S. National Team badly needs Jurgen Klinsmann to be its next coach. The following are my reasons. Klinsmann has a good track record. We saw what he did with Germany this year. Granted, the Germans had an excellent team, yet he was able to motivate the team and bring it into shape, all while surviving the pressure cooker that he was put in by German fans and media. Klinsmann is emotional and passionate. Our team needs someone who can provide the emotional spark that was sorely missing during the end of Arena's tenure. I believe that Klinsmann could spark the passion and motivation that is necessary for the players to put their best effort out on the field. Klinsmann wasn't nicknamed California Klinsi’ for nothing. He has been living in the U.S. for a decade, and he probably understands U.S. soccer and the needs of American players. At the same time, he has ample experience with the European style and culture of soccer. This year, he was able to bring the best elements of the two together, thus fostering an exceptional German team. I hope that he would be able to do the same with the U.S. National Team.

-- Harold Matskevich

Jurgen Klinsmann would be the best choice for the U.S. head coach position as he has an effective and exciting offensive strategy. Klinsmann uses his strikers to maximum effect as was seen in Germany's World Cup games and it was great to see how one striker would set up the other to score some beautiful goals. In addition, Klinsmann lives in California so it would be convenient for both himself and the U.S. team. I feel strongly that if he is the coach of the U.S. team, we will have a strong performance throughout the qualifiers (which is needed since the CONCACAF group is getting stronger – Mexico, Trinidad, Costa Rica and Jamaica will be tough competition) and with Klinsmann, we will show the world in 2010 that the U.S. is a progressing soccer power with advancement out of the group stage and knockout rounds. After that anything is possible with a strong U.S. team which is coached by a dynamic coach like Klinsmann.

-- N.N. Coyle

Moving from Klinsmann to Nowak

Jurgen Klinsmann. He has the international level experience as a player and a coach. He knows MLS and the U.S. soccer player. He will be willing to work with youth and build the team from the ground up. If he does not want the job, how about being involved in a management capacity or youth development for U.S. Soccer? This would work well in tandem with my second U.S. head coach choice, Peter Nowak. He, too, has the experience as a player at the international level, and is doing very well with D.C. United. He knows MLS and the U.S. player, and would be willing to build the team from the ground up as well as bench any player that is not performing up to capacities.

-- Dirk Sanders

Peter Nowak, Peter Nowak, Peter Nowak.  A fierce competitor, with a proven ability to win.  He would bring his fiery, inspired nature to American soccer.  One thing we have lacked in the last five World Cups is an American style (unless you consider not meeting expectations the American style - we either blow them out of the water or fail miserably).  Peter would help us to define the American style - which would be gritty, hard-nosed soccer.  Furthermore, he would assemble a team of hard-nosed players, not primadonas, that would eventually help us to achieve the ultimate goal - World Cup Champion. While Jurgen would probably succeed as the American coach, he is not what we need right now.

-- Jay Zmrhal

Captain of the Ring of Fire...Peter Nowak.  He has plenty of European experience with a touch of homegrown MLS cookin'.  He coaches like he played, with drive, determination and an expectation of playing your best.

-- David Hanke

Peter Nowak. Perhaps the bandwagon/hot domestic pick right now, but he’s proven himself domestically and seems to have a very good eye for talent.  What other MLS teams have been as successful bringing in foreign players?  Or developing young talent for that matter?  He plays to win and he also coaches an attractive style of soccer.  I also don't think he'd shy away from making the tough decisions that might offend some people, but are in the best interests of the program.

-- Mark Maxson

Peter Nowak for the U.S. MNT coach.  Many accomplishments as a player before coming to the Fire in 1998.  Outstanding captain and leader of the Chicago Fire – including the amazing first season – with MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup championships.  In his third season as coach of D.C. United, he has had a championship, a very decent second season and has his team miles in front of the conference at the All-Star break.  Coached the All-Star team to a 1-0 win over Chelsea, then turned around and coached D.C. to a 1-1 tie with Real Madrid.  I'd say he can lead U.S. players against European competition and he knows the talent in our  domestic league.

-- Tom Sullivan

Trying for the unavailable…at least at this point - Guus Hiddink

I would like to say I think the next U.S. Men’s National Team coach should be Guus Hiddink. But since he has recently signed a two year stint with Russia, and even if we could get him at the contract’s end, that begs the question, would he have enough time (two years) to ready our men’s team for the 2010 World Cup? I say it would be too big of a risk, and a large task to ask of him. But, if anyone is capable of doing it, Guus Hiddink would be the one. His record is unbelievable, and his capability to get the most out of his players is outstanding, and I think his record proves this.

-- Brad Ackles

I really feel that Gus Hiddink would have been the best candidate, as he seems to be able to maximize the talent that is available. Just look at Korea ('02) and Australia ('06).

-- Hector Vasquez

And the rest…

If Frank Yallop can get out of his contract with L.A., then he would be a great choice.  He has experience coaching at the international level with Canada and he has proven he understands how to coach the American athlete by coaching San Jose to MLS championships.  There are not too many guys out there who you can say both of those things about.  The American-born coaches are not quite ready for this job and the European and South American coaches often struggle connecting with our athletes.  Yallop is the guy!

-- Chris Apple

Jurgen would be a good choice, but I would rather see Sven-Goran Eriksson as he exits England.  I think it is critical that we get a coach from outside the U.S. Soccer program so that talent can be objectively evaluated.  The roster for this past World Cup was generated from nepotism and favoritism for players that clearly did not have the capability to play at the world level.  I fear that Jurgen is still too close to the program, having lived so long in California. Eriksson can look at players based on their current abilities with no regard for what they did when they were 12 years old in ODP.

-- Rick Kukwa

Jose Pekerman would be an outstanding selection who has developed many of the top players for Argentina (Saviola, Messi, etc.) and has experience with both youth national teams/programs and senior national teams.  As many of our senior players are retiring after this World Cup, or will really be too old in 2010, our collective road to success lies through maximizing the effectiveness of our youth programs, developing our young guns and transitioning them to high-level professional playing.  At the moment, many of our young guys struggle when put into MLS — they need a helping hand to develop their game to a much higher level.  Pekerman could help improve the development of our youth teams, aid each player’s transition to the senior team, and lift the performance of the senior team to the next level as well.  If we could get him, it would be a coup.

Or Zico. If he could infuse some of the Brazilian style and system into the national team, our performance could greatly improve.  He had considerable success on the national level with Japan and is a person with the insight to lift us to the next level.  Zico's style is considerably different from our own, which could help our players develop additional skills and improve their understanding of the game.  Zico has also had success against European and South American teams and understands their mentality and strategy.  One problem is that he's in a two-year contract with Fenerbahce SK.

-- Eugene Peysakh

My choices for the next coach are: Erik Wynalda, Tab Ramos, John Harkes, Alexi Lalas, or Kasey Keller. Because they have been there and played at the highest level.

-- Roman Kent

Jerry Yeagley.

-- James Harmon

How about former Turkish national team coach Senol Gunes?

-- Ahmet Turgut

Big Sam Allardyce, current coach of Bolton Wanderers. That is, if you can get him to leave England. He has always been able to do a lot with less. If we can get Jurgen, that'd suit me fine as well. We need to go European at this point to figure out how to beat them. I live here and know that our boys are better than what they showed. A European coach will give them some confidence against the Euro-trash. Good luck.
-- Bob De Laney

First of all, I believe we need to continue to have an American coach.  Can you imagine Jurgen Klinsmann coaching our boys from the sidelines as we battle Germany?  I can't!

We have our choice of at least three experienced American men who have all been around the block: Dave Sarachan, Glenn Myernick and Bob Bradley.  There may be a few other equally-qualified Americans of whom I am unaware but U.S. Soccer should (and I think they will) take a serious look at all three of these guys.

We can win with Americans!

-- Mark Soria

Two guys: Klinsmann, for obvious reasons, or Eric Wynalda. Wynalda is attack minded (which the U.S. team forgot to do this World Cup), he's direct with everybody – the media and players – and he's played overseas.

-- John Andrulis

I feel the next U.S. National Team coach should come from these candidates:

Leo Beenhakker, Dick Advocaat or Guus Hiddink – If they are not signed with another club by now. (editor’s note: They are.)

Randy Waldrum (Notre Dame Women’s Head Coach) – Proven winning coach on all levels, excellent tactician, great player's coach, allows creativity, very organized.

--Billy Viger

By whatever means necessary, get Juan Felipe Scolari. By whatever means necessary.

-- Alex Rekas

I think you should admit your mistake and re-hire Bruce Arena.

-- Marty Lawyer

Thanks for all the responses.