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Klinsmann Would Give the Kids a Chance

The sporting press at home appears certain the announcement of Juergen Klinsmann as U.S. national team coach is imminent. Let's hope so. Grahame L. Jones of the L.A. Times is so certain of it, in fact, he goes on to discuss the options open to Klinsmann once he takes the helm. While he expects "California Klinsi" to retain the best of the 2006 squad, Jones thinks the German will give America's youngsters a chance in much the same way he revitalized Germany's World Cup campaign by bringing in youth. At the end of Euro 2004, it was painfully obvious that Germany badly needed quality forwards. Klinsmann responded by introducing a spate of young forwards to see who was best suited to fill the gap. The answer came in the form of Lukas Podolski, who was later named the World Cup's Best Young Player. Because of his success with Germany, Klinsmann has been praised for his self-belief, and a willingness to make unpopular decisions. Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho once said, "I admire him for his courage...He believes in young talent and he doesn't change his ideas just because he loses a game." If Klinsmann is indeed named national team coach in the next few weeks, he's already got a busy schedule next year, including the 2007 Gold Cup, to be held here in the States, and then the 2007 Copa America in Venezuela three days later. Then there's the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Canada, which could be of almost equal importance. Among the young players worth a long, hard look: Chivas USA rookie Sacha Klejstan, Chicago's Chris Rolfe and Justin Mapp, New York's Josmer Altidore and, of course, Freddy Adu.

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