What’s the deal with Jurgen?

Is he really a good coach?

So if Jurgen can stir up a hornets nest, so can I. I’m curious to know what the big deal with Klinsy really is. A lot of USMNT fans really really want him as head coach and I want to know why. I’m English, so first and foremost I support England, but having lived here for 20 years, I REALLY want to see the USMNT national team get to the next level in International Soccer. I just don’t see how Jurgen can take them there.

He’s had two managerial spells. One with the German National team and one with Bayern Munich.

With Bayern, he coached for less than a season (08-09) and was fired in April 09, with Bayern knocked out of the German domestic cup in the quarters, Champions league in the quarters and in third position of the Bundesliga, endangering their next years Champions League qualification.

He was given a squad that had won their domestic league the previous year and set them a few steps backward.

Germany's 2006 success had more to do with their fans, the players and hosting the Cup then their coach.

Klinsmann was more successful with the national team, at least on first glance. He took a young German team to third place at the 2006 World Cup and did do a good job of shunting out the older generation of players who had failed so miserably in the 2004 Euros, revamping Germany’s national footballing program on the way.

BUT, lets look at his results. Klinsmann’s first two years in charge did little to impress the footballing world, as they did poorly in friendlies building up to the 2006 World Cup (which Germany was hosting, so no need to qualify).

At the big dance, they won their group, but had less than challenging opponents in Costa Rica, Poland and Ecuador. They then beat Sweden (a solid team, but no world beaters) in the first knock stage and then an average Argentinian team on penalties in the quarters. They lost 2-0 to Italy in the semis.

Keeping in mind that every game they played, they were spurned on by their home fans, and that they had a relatively easy route to the semi finals. I would venture to say that the players got them as far as they did and not him as a coach. When they needed him to do something different and come up with a tactical magical moment, he failed and Italy won late in extra time.

After the World Cup, with the German press and pubic in full support, Klinsmann decided to resign, saying he didn’t have the drive anymore and wanted to spend time with his family. Joachim Löw took over and has taken an even younger Germany to the next level, and they are one of the favorites at Euro 2012 and Brazil 2014.

Did Klinsmann realize that he didn’t really have what it took to take Germany further and intelligently decide to step down on top? The cynic in me says yes.

A fantastic striker and amateur diver, Klinsmann and the word defense aren't very synonymous

I’m not saying he’s a bad coach, but I really don’t think he’s what the USMNT wants. I wouldn’t go as far as to say Klinsmann would be a step backward from Bob Bradley, but I don’t think he offers anything special.

Klinsmann was a fantastic striker in his playing days and his coaching style is reflective of that. I don’t believe the word defense is in his lexicon. This is not what the USMNT wants. The US’s counter attacking style and speed is one of their strengths, but they do not possess the skill to just outscore their opponents. They need discipline at the back and Klinsmann cannot provide that.

Who would be perfect for the job. Honestly I don’t know. What perplexes me though, is why so many people think “California Klinsy” would be the savior of the USMNT.

Your thoughts!

36 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Hercules on 2010/09/20 at 1:29 PM

    for me, the idea of klinsmann was that he was not BB, and despite the fact that I think he was a good coach, the tradition of two cycle coaches is not full of successes. that, combined other the fact that klinsmann seemed like the only viable alternative mad me look at I’m as a good possible usmnt coach.


    • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/09/20 at 1:33 PM

      I completely agree that BB should not have been held on for two cycles. I just think that Klinsmann is overrated. I would loved to be proved wrong, but I think the US need someone with some real pedigree. Still racking my brain of whom is available, but if Ireland can get someone like Trapattoni, why can the US?


      • Posted by Kevin on 2010/09/20 at 1:48 PM

        We need somebody who can get the best out of the players they have. Sir Alex is great at that, I would argue to a point that Wenger is great at that, but Bradley certainly is not. However if you can’t get somebody like that what’s next? Do you just get a coach you think is good and pray? I no I certainly don’t. You’re going to want a coach that can do well coaching the style that the player pool likely will. Everyone should face the fact sooner or later that Donovan and Dempsey will not be able to carry the team in 2014. They will have substitute roles at the most. Who does that leave? People who like possession. Why is like that? Because the youth teams play like that. Bradley will stiffen the possession possible by the USMNT. Jurgen in my mind would be the best candidate named to try to play with posession. Another shot could have been to hire one of the coaches from the youth national teams.


      • Posted by Iggystar on 2010/09/20 at 1:55 PM

        I wonder this too, either the USSF is broke or Sunil is waiting till we host the WC to get a “big name”.


        • Posted by Freegle on 2010/09/20 at 7:59 PM

          I sincerely hope that Sunil is nowhere near the front office of USSF by the time we host a world cup. That would, minimum, be another 12 years of this. oof.


  2. Posted by Alex on 2010/09/20 at 1:32 PM

    great points.

    but I think we were just looking for a big name, someone with a lot of experience. So that our improvement of our team would be reflected in the name of our manager.

    We all know he is no pep guardiola but he is def a step up from sweats.


  3. Posted by Kevin on 2010/09/20 at 1:37 PM

    I for one, don’t think Klinsmann is the savior of the USMNT, but I do think he can do a better job than Bradley in the next cycle. Bradley’s vision of how soccer should be played is different than Klinsmann’s vision of how soccer should be played and I see our player poll for 2014 to lean towards being more adept for the way Klinsmann would coach us.


  4. Posted by jellenp on 2010/09/20 at 1:37 PM

    Ach no. You all are falling for the grass is always greener. Seems to be a rampant disease in the US these days. Whatever happened to good ol’ the devil you know….


  5. Posted by Chad on 2010/09/20 at 1:46 PM

    I like Bradley, but I think the 2 obvious reasons people want Klinsmann is that a) he is foreign and b) he brought a very attractive offensive style to Germany’s play. He completely changed the way Germany was playing at the time. They are now playing attractive, attacking soccer and this development started under Klinsmann. Since we tell all our players to go overseas to become better players, I don’t find it surprising that many US fans want a foreign coach. And you sell him short in a couple of respects. First, in discussing the game vs Italy in ’06. Italy scored 2 goals at the end. It was a very close game the entire way. I don’t think you can simply look at the results. The Germans were immensely proud of the way their team was playing. Also, don’t you think Germany got a huge and unexpected boost this year from Mueller and Ozil…of course they did. That can hardly count against Klinsmann.

    I think many want to see the US develop more of an attack as opposed to so much defend and counter-attack.


  6. Posted by Russ on 2010/09/20 at 1:56 PM

    When’s Guus Hiddink finishing up in Russia? 2012? Gulati should have his number on speed dial in case of a Sweats meltdown (No pun intended. Kind of.)


  7. Posted by Russ on 2010/09/20 at 1:57 PM

    Sorry, I meant Turkey.


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/09/21 at 5:04 AM

      I am not saying Golden Guus is not good, but I keep asking myself whether Guus / Jurgen / insert-any-name would do better with the player pool. Yes the USA are on the cusp of making from the second tier to the first tier of international football, but that will never happen with the quality of players you *currently* have. I am sorry but I am just not seeing it; not until you have a Howard / Donovan quality in every position and on the bench.

      I am not the biggest fan of Bradley, but he can only work with the resources that are available. He’s not a magician. And neither are Hiddink & Klinsmann.


      • We may not be able to make it into the first tier on a consistent, month-to-month basis with the talent we currently possess in the player pool, but our player pool has always been one where the sum is greater than the parts. And, when giuded by the right coach, most of us feel that the sum can achieve more than it currently is, or at least achieve similar results in a much more commanding fashion. Thus, I believe, we continue to hear the calmmorings for a Hiddink and Klinsmann.

        Like you said neither one are magicians, and both could “lose the locker room” but I tend to think that a much more experienced can get a little more out of our talent. Take a midtable team like Fulham as an example, talent isn’t great but it’s not Championship caliber either and yet last season Uncle Roy was able to steer them into the Europa League final. Granted their domestic form suffered, but in the one-and-done nature of Cup play (aside from the group stages) a good coach was able to coax more out of a team than say a Lawrie Sanchez was. Looking back at the quality and pedigree of the scalps they claimed in that run…did Fulham really have any business in doing the things they did? And to come within minutes of taking a very good, if sometimes tragic hero-esque, Atletico Madrid to penalties was simply beyond what most thought the Cottagers are capable of.

        Do we always want to be the plucky underdogs? No, but right now that’s the case and we need someone who can maximize our returns until we start rolling world-class talent off the production lines.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/09/21 at 6:18 AM

          With respect, that cliche (sum is greater than the parts) gets up my nose, because it plays into the stereotype of USMNT. A bit like “on our day we can match anybody” or “if we’re at 100% anf they have an off day…”

          Anyways back to the topic, although I am not a fan of the way Bradley has the team play, you have to wonder what would change with a different manager with the same set of players? Perhaps Bradley is a realist…


        • Perhaps he is simply a realist, and whether you hate that cliche or not you have to admit it is what the US currently is and has to be to succeed until we get a better player pool. And, I think most people understand our players’ short-comings and therefore clammor for a coach to maximize what we currently have.

          Do I think Bradley is the right guy for the job? I’m still on the fence. Do I think he is the absolutly wrong guy for the job? No, he’s proven to be able to get some results. But I think we’d all prefer that those results are achieved in a much more confidence inspiring manner.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/09/21 at 7:16 AM

          “Do I think Bradley is the right guy for the job? I’m still on the fence. Do I think he is the absolutly wrong guy for the job? No, he’s proven to be able to get some results. But I think we’d all prefer that those results are achieved in a much more confidence inspiring manner.”

          I agree with this very sensible statement.


  8. Posted by dth on 2010/09/20 at 1:57 PM

    I think the anti-Klinsmann case is somewhat overstated.

    For one, it can’t be underplayed in what desperate straits Germany was in when they hired him in the first place–they’d bombed out of Euro 2004s and everyone was very pessimistic about Germany, with some people going as far to suggest that Germany wouldn’t get out of the first round. It’s only in retrospect that people are suggesting that it was all to be expected–Germany was thrilled and pleased with the result.

    And it’s also a mistake to suggest his tenure at Bayern was a total disaster. He was beset by divisions on the board, which didn’t let him build the team as he wanted. Furthermore, one of the best goalkeepers ever–Oliver Kahn–had retired the season before Klinsmann took over, meaning that Klinsmann’s first season was Bayern’s first without Kahn, which was understandably distressing. Bayern fired Klinsmann in the wake of a thrashing by Barcelona, but frankly a lot of teams get thrashed by Barcelona; doesn’t make their managers inadequate. Look at results–everyone loves van Gaal’s Bayern and hates Klinsmann’s Bayern, but the teams were only three points apart in the final league table. Obviously Klinsmann wasn’t great at Bayern, but then again they don’t call it FC Hollywood for nothing.

    Was the right guy Klinsmann? I honestly feel as if there’s not enough information to know. If his demands were disproportionate, then he wasn’t; if they were proportionate, then perhaps he was. We just don’t know.


  9. Posted by SteveM11 on 2010/09/20 at 2:03 PM

    Bro, Klinsy is the guy. We screwed it up royally by not signing him. Why, because US Soccer has some weird need to micromanage.

    If nothing else, he does what he says in the video, he sells you on his game plan, he makes you believe USA Soccer could go to the next level. BB does not do that–AT ALL.

    He’s thinking about it from the ground up. I don’t know what BB thinks about. Seemingly, at best, how not to lose. He certainly didn’t take our finest team ever and convince them to be worldbeaters. Instead, he put out a team that wasn’t even awake until they were down a goal.

    Time for BB to fade back to the MLS.


    • Posted by pino on 2010/09/20 at 3:11 PM

      Personally i dont need a coach to tell me USA Soccer can reach the next level, I think most people around the world now realize that this is an inevitability not a possibility. That said its not the coach that will take us there its the players, and right now we just dont have those players.


  10. 1) The idea comes from the belief that any foreign coach will be more tactically astute than any American/MLS coach.
    2) I think the criticisms of Klinsi are more than harsh. That Bayern team was eliminated by the eventual Champions League victors and were only 3 points out of first when he was fired. Politics got him fired, not performance. With Germany, they were still a very inexperienced team. Hell, David Odonkor was their super-sub. Anyone really think Odonkor is a player that would usually play for a World Cup semifinalist? Klinsmann got that team to play better than they were. The flipside is that Loew is getting ALL the credit for 2006 AND 2010. That’s very lopsided since both coaches got the same results.

    Still, Klinsmann never was and never would be a savior, only a satisfactory change of pace. Contrary to popular opinion, the 2010 cycle was one of the most successful in US Soccer history. Its a tough ask for any manager to win the 2011 Gold Cup, go to the finals of the 2013 Confederations Cup, win the World Cup qualifying group, and win the World Cup group in 2014.


  11. Posted by Tim M. on 2010/09/20 at 5:53 PM

    I disagree with the whole point that Jurgen was trying to “stir up a hornets nest”, as saying goes. Can anyone argue that any theres any other foreign coach with a great understanding of what it takes to succeed internationally pays as much attention to american soccer and mls as Jurgen? The truth is nobody knows what Jurgen specifically envisions for USA and if and what that entails it would work. All Jurgen talks about in that Kansas City Interview is the strengths of a nation, and the finding an identity for the team. He talks about our strengths, being our work ethic, our determination. He also openly identifys what i think we call all agree our biggest weakness’ were last wc cycle. Our inability to to focus, stay disciplined and capitalize on our chances. We played nervous and timidly and that reflects our head coach. Team character and personality and whether or not we can stay focused ultimately falls on the the shoulders of a coach.


  12. Posted by Gino on 2010/09/20 at 10:21 PM

    Whether or not we like it, Bob Bradley is our National Team coach. All other discussions about whether Klinsmann or anyone else should replace him are wasted breath/typing. While some or many of Bradley’s decisions have infuriated us, he’s also made productive choices that many of us didn’t agree with. Let’s try not to be like so many other footballing nations that change managers every year or two. It’s hard to build when you keep tearing down.


  13. Posted by Soccernst on 2010/09/20 at 11:03 PM

    Klinsmann is not the answer. German hotpants are the answer. Wait, what was the question?


  14. Posted by Tyler on 2010/09/21 at 9:07 AM

    I think a discussion of the differences between coaching/managing a club team versus a national tam are in order.


  15. Looks guys, the coach doesn’t matter nearly as much as the players, and as a country our players just aren’t there yet. We only have a handful of guys who start for a team in one of the top 4 leagues in the world. By my count, Bradley Jr, Dempsey, Holden, Bocanegra, and Cherundolo. You can obviously throw Donovan in that mix thanks to his successful loan to Everton. With that said, don’t you all think that 14th or 15th in the world is about right considering where the US players are in their development? I think the US fans got a taste of a good thing from Bob Bradley and got spoiled. Bradley didn’t make the US squad miss chance after chance against Ghana. If we beat them, I’m pretty sure everybody would have been on the “four more years” bandwagon. It just seems silly to me.


  16. Posted by Kevin Seel on 2010/09/21 at 11:47 AM

    I’m not sure if most people want Jurgen to run the USMNT or coach it. He has always said all the right things on what USMNT needs to do. Forcing MLS teams to have youth camps at a very young age of 10 or 11, inviting European based teams to setup youth camps, getting more into the Hispanic and poorer parts of America. He has the right idea that beyond college most soccer players quit because they feel they have no where to go. They only used soccer to pay for college. Setting up these camps makes them feel like they have somewhere to go and be able to be successful. That’s why I question if people want him to run USMNT or coach it.


    • Posted by ndb on 2010/09/21 at 1:00 PM

      look at the demographic that plays soccer in america? soccer is too white and too middle class. look at basketball and football. many of the kids who are good come from the poorer backgrounds and then go to “college” to participate in the best level outside of the pro-game, basically acting as tghe academy. soccer doesn’t have that. when the average ‘lebron’ is out playing basketball all day, do you think mrs lebron calls him in to do his homework? but when middle-class timmy is out playing soccer, i bet his parents are cutting into his practise time by insisting he does his homework.

      not saying that the white or middle class are less able per se, just saying that the middle class parents know for sure that the chances of ‘making’ it are slim therefore they insist on their timmy getting an education ‘just in case’, but this also helps to hinder their sporting progress. it’s a classic chicken and egg situation.


      • Posted by kaya on 2010/09/21 at 4:09 PM

        Man, it’s always whitey’s fault.
        I’m being funny, but what you’re saying sounds 10-15 years old to me. I think the critical mass has been reached where you will have kids whose parents don’t force them to come in and do their homework that will play soccer. Oh the joy of progress!
        To Kevin’s point, it’s true that the US sporting system is deeply entrenched with schools. I’m not sure the best way forward is to completely upend that… but otoh the college football/basketball booster inertia may be insurmountable.


    • Just so you know, I heard and I don’t really have a source, but someone my uncle works with apparently is helping Barcelona set up adademy’s in houston, so I would assume other cities as well. Again this is just one of those “I heard from _ who heard from _ that…” type of stories. Still, if it’s true that would be a great development for US Soccer.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/09/21 at 3:10 PM

        Not if Barcelona fast track them back to Spain and they become ‘naturalised’ Spaniards!!


  17. Posted by KickinNames... on 2010/09/21 at 11:49 AM

    Am very happy that Bob Bradley is our coach.

    Am wondering why Steve Sampson’s name never surfaced in the discussions. Plent of National team experience. And a full manly head of hair.

    Am very excited to see how Ricardo Clark, Jonathan Bornstein, Sacha Klejstan, a mostly out of position Michael Bradley and Conor Casey will look in the upcoming friendlies.

    Am thrilled and confident that Sunil Gulati has US Soccers best interests at heart and isn’t just some power hungry former playground bully’s victim. Or that he’s not just an idiot.

    Am also on edge of my seat for the next Charlie Stream posting about playing PS2 or how he likes his escargot done or birthday shout out to somebody with no relevance to the outside world or 2nd tier journalist.

    Am willing to post my own Twitter thoughts in a continuous sarcastic stream if anyone is interested…


  18. Posted by kaya on 2010/09/21 at 4:20 PM

    I think one of KN’s points is worth elaborating on.
    I guess no one is impolite enough to talk about it, but I’ll stand up and ask: what is going on with Charlie Davies? I mean, it’s clear that sweatpants decision to leave him out of the 30 man roster was more than justified, but is he even close to getting on the 18? I understand he’s playing in the reserves. Are there any match reports that can indicate what his progress is. We’re almost at the 1 year mark and I’m curious if he’ll ever be the same player.


  19. Posted by moosecat on 2010/09/22 at 7:23 AM

    i was just hoping for someone who wasn’t a puppet of USSF (e.g. Klinsmann)

    and i don’t think taking managerial advice from the English is a good idea. =-)


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