[SOCCER AMERICA Q&A] In an interview conducted last year, Juergen Klinsmann shared his opinions on how the world's game has evolved, the fondest memories of his playing career, and who his biggest influences were.
SOCCER AMERICA: Are you happy that you played in your era, and not today?
JUERGEN KLINSMANN: Yes, because the professional soccer world today is far more complex than 20 years ago. It has become a huge business with some good sides to it but, also, some very difficult areas for the players to deal with.
SA: Are players today paid too much?
JUERGEN KLINSMANN: No, because the money side is a result of the global interest in soccer and, therefore, it is not different to the revenue streams that drive NBA and NFL salaries in the US.
SA: What is your fondest memory from your playing days?
JUERGEN KLINSMANN: It was nice winning a World Cup and European Championship with Germany, but the biggest memories are those of meeting people all over the world and the chance to play in different countries for different teams.
SA: How different was your era from today?
JUERGEN KLINSMANN: I think a lot different. During most of my playing career, teams in Europe could only play with a limited number of foreign players. So teams were very domestically oriented. This all changed with the Bosman decision in 1995 and the laws implemented by the European Community. Now you have often teams with only a few "homegrown" players. You only have to look at my old team Inter Milan, which won the  Champions League with very few Italian players in the squad.
SA: If you could re-run your career, would you have done anything differently?
JUERGEN KLINSMANN: Certainly you make mistakes along your way, and you could avoid them a second time around. But, overall, I was very fortunate to play a career with no big injuries and a lot of exciting moments.
SA: Which players in the past 50 years have you most admired?
JUERGEN KLINSMANN: Pele, Maradona, Cruyff, Van Basten, Zidane, just to name a few of them.
SA: Is soccer better today than your era?
JUERGEN KLINSMANN: Yes, it's faster and, therefore, more demanding tactically, technically, and physically.
SA: Who was the biggest influence on your career?
JUERGEN KLINSMANN: I was very lucky to have worked with a lot of great coaches, but my biggest influence was always my Dad, who just let me play and enjoy the game as a little boy and gave me the chance to call it "my game"!