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A stale U.S. team gets jolt of electricity

  • SI.com, Saturday, July 30, 2011 3:02 AM

Grant Wahl writes that, now, after five years of pursuing Juergen Klinsmann, U.S. Soccer finally has its man. Will it work? Who knows? For now it's enough to know that the possibility of smashing success or spectacular failure has provided a stale U.S. team with a jolt of electricity.

One thing is certain: We have entered a new era of U.S. Soccer, one that will be defined by Klinsi's undeniable charisma and his desire to shape the team into a recognizable American style.

Wahl referred to an interview he did with Klinsmann last year, in which the German said, "The U.S. is known worldwide as a melting pot. Soccer in a certain way transmits the culture of a country ... You have the Latin influence [in the U.S.]. You have the cultural backbone of your university system, which is completely different from the rest of the world. You have the fact that it's mostly organized soccer, when we know that the best players in the world come out of unorganized events. I think it's a fascinating topic."

As for Klinsmann's ill-fated stint as head coach of Bayern Munich following his widely hailed performance as Germany's coach at the 2006 World Cup, Wahl recalled what Bayern president Uli Hoeness said: "I still think that Juergen could be a good coach for a national team. I'm not so sure anymore if he's a good coach for a [club] football team. Juergen is a free spirit who needs his time out, you know ... In the national team you have your day off, your weeks off, your weekend, and that is for his character very important. With us I had the impression that was not the right thing for him. I could easily imagine if he's taking [a national-team job] as he was with Germany, it was a super time. I still believe that could work."

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