Video Pick: How Jonathan Klinsmann became a keeper

Jonathan Klinsmann, the USA’s starting goalkeeper in its run to the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup, started out as a goalscorer and is the son of a World Cup champion striker. The 20-year-old Cal Berkeley student explains how he ended up in goal in this video that highlights his long reach while diving for the ball.

“I was a striker, actually, to start,” Jonathan Klinsmann says. “Attacking mid, striker. Goalscorer. I went in goal just for fun in school and I loved it. I loved just diving and getting dirty. Eventually I just stayed there and I love it.

The Southern California-raised Klinsmann also excelled at basketball.

“At the age of 12,” father Jurgen Klinsmann told “He was an attacking midfielder until then and was very talented and then suddenly he said he wanted to play goalie. At the same time he loved to play basketball, so he was always kind of catching the ball.”

Jurgen Klinsmann also said he didn’t push Jonathan toward soccer. “No, no, no,” he said. “I just hoped he would enjoy a team sport. Until the age of 16 he wasn’t sure if he should go with basketball or soccer. But he chose soccer. He was very talented at basketball.”

Said Jonathan in the article: “He just let it happen. Same applies not even for sports or soccer. They [my paremts] never really pushed me for sports or anything. They let me choose and find my passion. It ended up being soccer and it ended up being in goal. He helps me out every single day and he loves it.”

6 comments about "Video Pick: How Jonathan Klinsmann became a keeper".
  1. Quarterback TD, June 2, 2017 at 9:11 a.m.

    This goalkeeper is lacking serious skills and there are far more better performers than him in the US. If by chance he ever makes it to pro it be in the bench all the way in the back stands..

  2. Nick Daverese, June 2, 2017 at 11:32 a.m.

    The only way to judge a keeper is to see him play on the practice field not so much in a game. I think starting as a field player is a big plus for him. It means he has some footskills. I still say the future of the keeper is the sweeper/keeper not just the keeper.

    What do you look for in a Keeper Quaterback? I look if he has soft hands does he make the contour catch. Does he use the ball as the weight bearer after he make the save. Does he throw as a distribution most of the time. That was one of the many reasons why I dislike the New Zealand keeper. Can he make the save close to his body. Which is one of the hardest saves to make. The best we had at doing this was kasey Keller his colaspe save seemed faster then gravity. There are a lot of skills in playing the keeper position. Also is he a leader on the field.can he shift his defense over to the right side after their transition to defense after they lose the ball.

    What do you look for in a keeper.

  3. Quarterback TD replied, June 2, 2017 at 1:01 p.m.

    Physical Attributes: tall and built, strong wrist, vision like 20/20, long finger to neck span, loud and vocal--> Physical Natural Skills: good vertical leap including moving backward vertical leap, strong short sprint, string lateral and vertical turns standing and from ground, bench press 250 pounds to easily and legally push out strikers-->> Skills:(this is the big one because it wants really counts) save shots in any and ALL directions, strong dives, good penalty saver or at least know how to dive in the right direction, understanding of the field play to strengthen areas in defense that's lacking, anticipation of the striker shot as well as possibilities if where the ball will travel on goal (this is what most goal keepers lack and results in goal keeper error goals), agility, excellent deep down stream passing for quick breakaways, shutting down angles, getting low to shut down tight angle breakaway strikers-- ability to save with feet as oppose to hands-- watch the Italian goal keeper in the U20 World Cup he has all these attributes and excellent composure.. one can easily tell he was built for this

  4. Kent James, June 2, 2017 at 11:40 a.m.

    While JK had his critics as a coach (and deservedly so), sounds like he's doing the right things as a Dad. Now if he calls out his son's errors at a press conference in order to avoid responsibility, I'd have to reassess...

  5. Nick Daverese, June 2, 2017 at 12:03 p.m.

    Good post Kent. Got to tell you Bruce Arena did that also with Clint Mathis. If a coach did that with me he would get a punch in the mouth when their were no witnesses around. Sometimes coaches do that to reach a hard to reach player. I did it once and got a punch in the mouth in front of people for doing it. I had to get rid of the player who did it to me, but I did learn a lesson on what not to do from the incident.

  6. Edgar Soudek, June 2, 2017 at 2:45 p.m.

    I agree with "Quarterback TD" - there are many more good young keepers in the USA than Klinsmann; he was horrific in the game against Ecuador! I must be careful not to carry over my intense dislike for his dad to a well-intentioned son; but how and why did the son get to the U-20 squad in the first place, with so many better keepers around?

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