Upon the hiring of Juergen Klinsmann as U.S coach, Steven Goff checked in with 24-year-old Columbus Crew winger Robbie Rogers, who hopes to get a call-up from the man with whom he once played alongside.
In 2003, at age 16, Rogers joined Orange County Blue Star, an amateur, fourth-division club based in Southern California. His teammates included Jay Goppingen. “Goppingen” was, in fact, a stage name used by Klinsmann, who, at age 38, was enjoying the fifth year of retirement and for fun and fitness joined Blue Star. To avoid attracting attention, he chose an alias that included the name of the German city where he was born.
“It was cool because I had played as him on FIFA [on a gaming console] and remember watching him in the World Cup,” said Rogers, who has 14 U.S. caps. “When I first saw him at the field, it was like, ‘Wow, that’s Juergen Klinsmann.’ The more I got to know him, I found out he was an awesome person.”
“Bob [Bradley] did a great job. I was a bit surprised” the USSF fired him, Rogers said. “When I started hearing Juergen’s name, it was exciting not just as a player but as a fan. I learned a lot from him when I was younger, and when the guys get to know him, they’re going to like him. I hope I get to work with him. If not, I’ll be excited to see what he changes and what style he plays.”