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The USA's German Connection: From Herberger to Klinsmann
by Mike Woitalla, August 4th, 2011 2:52AM

TAGS:  germany, men's national team


[USA SPOTLIGHT] Believe it or not, Juergen Klinsmann isn't the first German who played for Stuttgart Kickers, VfB Stuttgart and Bayern Munich before coaching the U.S. national team. Here's a look a previous German-born USA coaches. ...

Five German-born coaches preceded Klinsmann as coach of the U.S. national team. Dettmar Cramer, who like Klinsmann was expected to revolutionize American soccer, was imported by the USA. The others, including Johann Herberger, the nephew of West Germany’s 1954 World Cup-winning coach Sepp Herberger, and Lothar Osiander, who worked as a waiter in a downtown San Francisco restaurant while coaching the national team, were immigrants who started their coaching careers in the USA.

Johann "John" Herberger (1964)
Born in Wiesental in 1919, the nephew of Sepp Herberger immigrated to New York in 1956 after playing for clubs including Bayern Munchen, VfB Stuttgart and Stuttgarter Kickers (all clubs that Klinsmann would play for). In America, Herberger played for and coached several clubs in the New York-area’s German-America League. In 1964 he was recruited to coach the USA’s only game that year, a friendly against England. Alf Ramsey’s team, which included Gordon Banks and Bobby Charlton, won 10-0 in front of 5,000 fans in New York’s Downing Stadium. In 1971, Herberger moved to Altbach, where he died in 2002.

Dettmar Cramer (1974)
Cramer served as a consultant for the U.S. Soccer Federation in the early 1970s, when he help create its coaching school curriculum and taught coaching courses. In 1974 he was offered the U.S. national team coach and accepted when it became clear that he wouldn’t get the Germany head coaching job after Helmut Schoen did not to retire following the World Cup championship win. But Cramer would coach only two games -- both losses to Mexico -- because he got an offer he couldn’t refuse -- from Bayern Munich, which he led to European Cup titles in 1975 and 1976. The USSF sued Cramer for $10 million for breach of contract, but the suit was thrown out when it was discovered that Cramer had never signed a contract.

Manny Schellscheidt (1975)
Born in Solingen in 1941, Schellscheidt, at age 23, visited his aunt in New Jersey and was recruited to play for Elizabeth SC of the German-American League. Elizabeth SC provided him with a tool-maker’s job and sponsorship for immigration. In 1971, Schellscheidt was the first coach to receive the U.S. Soccer Federation’s “A” license. His instructor was Dettmar Cramer. Schellscheidt, who is currently the head of the U.S. U-14 program and a college coach at Seton Hall, has also coached the U.S. U-17s, U-20s and in 1975 he was national team head coach for three games. He had a major influence on some of America's most accomplished coaches, including national team coaches Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley, and remains one of the USA’s most highly respected soccer leaders. In 1973 he won the NASL title as a player/assistant coach with the Philadelphia Atoms and he won two U-19 national youth championships with the Union Lancers, in 1987 and 1988.

Lothar Osiander (1986-88)
Born in Munich in 1939, Osiander immigrated to San Francisco in 1958 and won a national championship playing for the University of San Francisco. After coaching the semiprofessional San Francisco Greek-Americans to the U.S. Open Cup championship he was hired as the U.S. national team coach on a part-time basis and kept his job as a waiter at San Francisco restaurant, Graziano’s. Osiander coached the USA at the 1988 Olympics and in the first phase of qualifying for the 1990 World Cup before being replaced by Bob Gansler. Osiander, who coached MLS's Los Angeles Galaxy (1996-97) and San Jose (1999-2000), currently coaches youth soccer in Northern California.

Bob Gansler (1989-1991)
Born in 1941 to a German family in Hungarian city of Mucsi, Gansler’s family – considered “displaced persons” -- moved to Ruckingen, West Germany after the war. At age 11 in 1952, Gansler moved to Milwaukee, where he joined the Bavarian Soccer Club. After his playing career he coached college soccer and the U.S. U-20 team that finished fourth in the 1989 U-20 World Cup before guiding the USA to Italia ’90, its first World Cup appearance in 40 years. Gansler later coached the Milwaukee Rampage to the 1997 A-League title and Kansas City Wizards to the 2000 MLS title. In semi-retirement, Gansler serves as U.S. Soccer Development Academy scout.

  1. Sean Conner
    commented on: August 4, 2011 at 10:05 a.m.
    What about Wolfgang Suhnholtz? I don't think he ever coached the full USMNT squad, but he did coach the U20s, and had a few great years at Bayern. Just a thought.
  1. Raymond Dreyfuss
    commented on: August 4, 2011 at 2:46 p.m.
    There is also a USA coach born in Cologne that I know very well, that had the team play a friendly in Israel around 1968-69 that I saw while working there, he was also my coach in the L.A. Maccabees that later on won 5 U.S. cups His name was Max Wozniack, he was really a great coach, in his Macabee days.

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