Just what is former German national football team coach Jürgen Klinsmann up to these days? Ever since he gave up his job at the helm of the German team after coaching it to a third place finish in the World Cup -- and headed back to sunny California where he lives -- there has been speculation as to what his next move might be.
Coincidentally, the US team is looking for a coach. Fate?
It's beginning to look that way. In an interview with the AP on Thursday, Klinsmann, 42, indicated that he was in "casual and relaxed" contact with the United States Soccer Federation and that he had held several informal talks with USSF president Sunil Gulati. "I will stay in touch with him and see what it leads to," Klinsmann said.
Speculation has centered on Klinsmann ever since former US trainer Bruce Arena was sent packing after the Americans' poor showing at this year's World Cup tournament in Germany. After impressing in the 2002 tournament by reaching the quarter finals, this year the United States was knocked out in the first round after losing to Ghana and the Czech Republic and drawing with eventual champions Italy.
When announcing Arena's departure in July, Gulati had said the new coach would have "some knowledge of American soccer, experience, leadership, a track record of success." The former German coach would seem to tick all those boxes. As Gulati said at the time, Klinsmann "has a much better handle on the American soccer scene than someone who hasn’t spent time here." He added, "He's an intelligent guy, multilingual with a lot of very positive qualities."
Klinsmann seems equally enamoured with the American game. He's lived in the country for eight years and has closely followed soccer's development there. "The player-development aspect is a huge aspect," he enthused.
Klinsmann had a number of run-ins with the German Football Association (DFB) after taking over the national team in July 2004. The football establishment didn’t take too kindly to his style of training and coaching -- an offensive oriented style which placed a premium on fitness. Before the tournament, critics doubted that the team of youngsters, which lacked the star quality of the former great German teams, could achieve much of anything. All that changed during the World Cup, when Germany's gutsy performance increasingly turned critics into believers the further the team advanced in the tournament.
Despite the adulation of German football fans following the home team's impressive third place in the World Cup, he opted not to renew his contract. But the move didn't mean he was turning his back on football altogether. "Sooner or later," he said, "I have to get back into coaching."
Stay informed with our free news services:
|All news from SPIEGEL International||Twitter | RSS|
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2006
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH