Jurgen Klinsmann was formally introduced as the new head coach for the U.S. Menâ€™s National Team by U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati during a press conference Monday morning at NIKETOWN in New York City.
During his playing days, Klinsmann was one of the gameâ€™s premier forwards and enjoyed a 17-year career that included stints in four major European leagues. One of the most well-known international players of all-time, he earned 108 appearances for Germany and scored 47 goals while helping the team win the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy and the 1996 European Championship.
Klinsmann also has a famed coaching career and was named manager of the German National Team in 2004, guiding Germany to a third-place finish in the 2006 FIFA World Cup on their home soil. Two years later, Klinsmann took the head coaching position at Bayern Munich.
On July 29, 2011, U.S. Soccer announced Klinsmann as the new head coach for the U.S. Menâ€™s National Team.
â€œWeâ€™re extraordinarily excited about having Jurgen Klinsmann join our team, to lead our team and to help lead our technical program,â€ said Gulati. â€œJurgenâ€™s experience, both as a player and coach, and as a resident of this country â€“ and I think all three of those are important â€“ we think are huge assets. I think today is a very important day and perhaps the start of a new era for us.â€
Klinsmann believes that his mix of international experience and American knowledge will allow him to work with and improve the national team.
â€œI will, step by step, introduce the ideas that I have, always double checking if it suits the American game,â€ said Klinsmann. â€œIâ€™m not coming in here to be the European guy. Iâ€™ve lived here for 13 years, so I think I know a lot about certain issues. But I think you can also be proud of what youâ€™ve achieved over the last few years, where soccer is now.â€
After Klinsmann retired as a professional player after the 1998 World Cup, he moved to the United States with his wife, Debbie, and they currently reside in California with their two children, Jonathan and Laila.
â€œOne of my challenges will be to find a way to define how a U.S. team should represent its country,â€ said Klinsmann. â€œIt is important during the next three years, especially in the beginning, that I have a lot of conversations with people engulfed in the game here to find a way to define that style.â€
Klinsmannâ€™s aim is to take soccer in the United States further through style of play and player development.
â€œYou build on what was built before, and if you look back on the past 20 years in this country, a lot has been built,â€ said Klinsmann. â€œItâ€™s come a long way, soccer in the United States, and I have an opportunity to build it further. I think there are a lot of different challenges ahead of us, especially on the foundation level and the foundation is youth.â€
To that end, Klinsmann has reached out to Claudio Reyna, the Technical Director for Youth Development, to discuss the importance of his new role. He hopes to work closely with Reyna to develop the most effective training for youth players, reflecting the different cultures within the United States.
â€œI deeply believe that soccer in a certain way reflects the culture of a country,â€ said Klinsmann. â€œHaving studied the U.S. culture over the last 13 years, itâ€™s quite a challenge. You have such a melting pot in this country with so many different opinions and ideas.â€
Klinsmann has not yet decided on his coaching staff, using the Menâ€™s National Teamâ€™s upcoming international friendlies as a way to discover his staff.
â€œI wonâ€™t confirm a full time staff in the next couple of months, because I want to see whatâ€™s out there,â€ said Klinsmann. â€œThere are a lot of good, highly qualified coaches in the U.S. that I might not know. I need to talk to people and understand whatâ€™s out there.â€
The U.S. Menâ€™s National Team has an upcoming match against rival Mexico on Aug. 10 in Philadelphia, which will serve as Klinsmannâ€™s debut.
â€œHopefully by Wednesday, we can announce the roster for the Mexico game so we can give you a clear picture of who is on that roster of 20 players and also announce who will be my assistants on the training field and on the bench,â€ said Klinsmann. â€œIt wonâ€™t be a coaching staff that will be confirmed for the next three years to go. We will take our time. I want to make sure that I get to know a lot of different people, a lot of different approaches, because covering this country here is a different challenge than a small country like Germany.â€