Klinsmann will provide a breath of fresh air for U.S. Soccer
By Tim Keeble, Soccer Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
U.S. Soccer finally got its man on Friday.
The appointment of Jurgen Klinsmann as coach of the national team was supposed to take place more than four years ago when Bruce Arena's contract was not renewed following a disappointing showing at the 2006 World Cup.
However, the deal collapsed near the end with Klinsmann unhappy over the amount of control he would be given.
U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati instead handed the reigns to Bob Bradley, saying that the U.S. was looking for a "fresh approach."
It was funny to hear Gulati speak about a "fresh approach" considering that Bradley came from the same U.S. Soccer establishment as Arena.
During his time as U.S. coach, Bradley compiled a respectable 43-25-12 record and did well to expand the player pool by bringing new faces into the fold, while also leading the team on a memorable run to the final of the 2009 Confederations Cup.
Jurgen Klinsmann bring a fresh perspective to proceedings having come up through the German ranks as a player.
But the Americans struggled to make it through a relatively soft group at last summer's World Cup, and were disappointingly ousted from the tournament by Ghana in extra time in the next round.
Many viewed the loss as a missed opportunity, considering the team could have reached the semifinals of the World Cup without having to face one of the tournament's true heavyweights.
And since that time, the play from the U.S. has often looked stale and uninspired, with the team's recent struggles in the Gold Cup as a prime example.
So now is a great time for a truly "fresh approach", which is something that Klinsmann is sure to provide.
Unlike Bradley, Klinsmann doesn't have the same coaching ties to U.S. Soccer as many of his predecessors, and therefore isn't blindly loyal to certain coaches or players.
For example, when Steve Cherundolo went down with an injury in the Gold Cup final against Mexico, Bradley opted to replace him with Jonathan Bornstein, a player that Bradley coached at Chivas USA, but someone who is an inferior defender to Jonathan Spector.
Bornstein ended up getting toasted by speedy Mexican wingers all night as the American back line was ripped open, while Spector remained on the bench and got a good view of the action, wondering how things might have been different had he gotten the call.
Klinsmann will bring energy and enthusiasm to the team, while Bradley preferred a stone-faced and stoic approach.
Plus, Klinsmann brings instant credibility into the locker room as a man who not only won a World Cup as a player for Germany, but also coached the national team to a third-place finish at the tournament.
He has lived in the United States for a number of years and knows how the system in this country works. But he can also bring a fresh perspective to proceedings having come up through the German ranks as a player.
It took a while, but Gulati finally got his guy. Now, he just needs to stay out of the way and allow Klinsmann to prove he was worth the wait.