[U.S. SOCCER] U.S. Soccer has named German Juergen Klinsmann U.S. men's national team coach, replacing Bob Bradley, who was
let go on Thursday.
Klinsmann, who turns 47 on Saturday, has lived in Southern California since he retired from a long playing career in 1998. He has had two previous coaching stints, the first as Germany boss at the 2006 World Cup that it hosted. He coached Bayern Munich for part of the 2008-09 season.
Klinsmann’s first game in charge of the USA will be a friendly against Mexico on Aug. 10 in Philadelphia.
The son of a bakery owner, Siegfried Klinsmann, Juergen joined a soccer team at age 9. In 1981 at age 16 he signed with Stuttgart Kickers before moving to rival VfB Stuttgart, with which he made his first division debut at age 20 and tied for the team scoring lead his first season.
In 1989 he moved to Inter Milan and in 1990 helped West Germany win the World Cup. Klinsmann would captain Germany to the 1996 European Championship title. His club career took him to Monaco and Tottenham Hotspur. He returned to the Bundesliga in 1995 and with Bayern Munich won the UEFA Cup and league title.
He retired after the 1998 World Cup and moved with his American wife, Debbie, to Southern California, where Klinsmann had spent many of his vacations. In the USA, Klinsmann took courses in computer technology and Spanish -- he had already been fluent in Italian, French and English -- and became a partner with Mick Hoban and Warren Mersereau in the sports marketing consulting firm SoccerSolutions.
To prepare for the German federation's coaching license, he spent time in the U.S. training camp with Bruce Arena and with Coach Sigi Schmid and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Two years before Germany was to host the World Cup, the program was in dire straits. The Germans had made a first-round exit in the 2004 European Championship. Klinsmann, who had never coached, provided a detailed plan to revamp Germany's player development system and coaching education -- and was hired to rebuild the struggling team.
Klinsmann took heat from the German media for commuting from California and many German coaches took offense to his use of a team psychologist and American fitness coaches. He brought many young, untested players into the squad and changed the team's style from patient buildup to swift attack. The team went undefeated in its first five games.
At the 2006 World Cup, Klinsmann's team played exciting, attack-minded soccer in a tournament plagued by dull, defensive play. The style and Germany's run to the semifinal made him hugely popular in Germany despite its third-place finish. He stepped down immediately after the tournament and returned to the USA.
Klinsmann's second coaching stint did not go as well. Hired as head coach of Bayern Munich in 2008, he was fired before completing his first season.
“We are excited to have Juergen as the head coach of our men’s national team,” said U.S. President Sunil Gulati in a statement. “He is a highly accomplished player and coach with the experience and knowledge to advance the program. Juergen has had success in many different areas of the game and we look forward to the leadership he will provide on and off the field.”