Filed under: Klinsmann contract extension, Uncategorized | Tags: 2006 World Cup, 2013 Gold Cup, 2014 World Cup, Bob Bradley, Bora Milutinovic, Brasil '14, Canada, Clint Dempsey, CONCACAF, Felipe Scolari, France, Franz Beckenbauer, Juergen Klinsmann, Mexico, Michel Platini, Miguel Herrera, North America, Raymond Domenech, Ricardo LaVolpe, South America, Steve Cherundolo, Sunil Gulati, U.S. National Team, U.S. Soccer Federation
Juergen Klinsmann has agreed to a four-year contract extension that keeps him at the U.S. National Team helm through the next World Cup cycle and on until the end of 2018. As part of the agreement announced by the U.S. Soccer Federation, Klinsmann also becomes technical director.
Appointed U.S. coach in mid-2011 following the dismissal of Bob Bradley, Klinsmann guided an overhauled American squad to a 2014 World Cup berth. The U.S. finished first in the final round of the CONCACAF qualifiers (7-2-1) and went undefeated in winning the 2013 Gold Cup. The team ended the year 16-4-2 overall, setting single-year marks for wins, winning percentage (.761) and consecutive victories (12).
“One of the reasons we hired Juergen as our head coach was to advance the program, and we’ve seen the initial stages of that happening on the field and also off the field in various areas,” said U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati. “In the past two years he has built a strong foundation from the senior team down to the youth teams and we want to continue to build on that success.”
Klinsmann reportedly is being paid $2.5 million a year on his current contract and can earn up to $10.5 million in bonuses depending on the USA’s performance at Brasil ’14. [December 12]
Comment: The comfortable throne reserved for the U.S. National Team coach just got a little more plush.
Since the Bora Milutinovic era, when the rest of the world started to pay attention to the Americans, the post has been derided by the international media and fellow coaches (some of them wishful suitors) as a job with none of the intense scrutiny and relentless criticism that hounds most every other national team boss.
Said soon-to-be fired Mexico coach Ricardo LaVolpe of the overall U.S. National Team atmosphere after losing a World Cup qualifier to the Yanks in 2005: “Here, everyone’s interested in baseball and American football and many people didn’t even know that a soccer match was being played today. So it’s easy for them, because they aren’t playing under any pressure. My mother, my grandmother, or my great-grandmother could play in a team like that.”
We’ll assume that LaVolpe’s grandmother is Clint Dempsey and his great-grandmother is a good deal older, like Steve Cherundolo.
Then, more recently–last December–there was disgraced former France coach Raymond Domenech, who guided Les Bleus to the 2006 World Cup final and then watched his team mutiny and implode in a disgraceful three-and-out showing four years later.
“There’s a job I’d rather have,” Domenech said in an interview with But! Lyon. “Besides, I know [Klinsmann], he knows and he doesn’t care. This post is the coach of the United States. I’d like to see this country. Add to that, the Americans always qualify [for the World Cup]. At the same time, it is easy in North America: there are only two games to qualify for the World Cup. South America is already a paradise, but the North is even better! You play Canada, Mexico. You’ll walk in the Islands.”
We’ll never understand what Domenech meant by Canada, which is ranked 112th in the world and crashed in CONCACAF’s 2014 World Cup qualifiers two months before his comments. That aside, he made his point. Here, there is the lack of the breathless, relentless pressure that has made life miserable for everyone from Franz Beckenbauer to Michel Platini to Brazil’s once and future genius, Felipe “Big Phil” Scolari. And it hasn’t done much for Miguel Herrera, the last in a string of four Mexico coaches run through the grinder from September to November.
While the U.S. National Team is years away from having the support–and scrutiny–of a majority of the country, the resulting atmosphere has spared the USSF the temptation to make panicky dismissals of its coaches and allowed those coaches to go about their business.
In Klinsmann’s case, time to test a large number of players, make mistakes, and, ultimately, over time, alter the culture of the team. Then watch the results at a World Cup. Or, perhaps, a second World Cup.
Not being a soccer nation has its advantages after all.
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