German soccer icon Jurgen Klinsmann (no umlaut, he says) was announced as the new coach of the U.S. national team on Friday, and officially introduced to the media this morning.
Meeting the press at Niketown in Midtown Manhattan, Klinsmann touched on a number of issues facing the program and the job that lies ahead for him, saying one of his first priorities will be “to define how the U.S. team should represent its country. And what should be the style of play?”
He also said that he will not name a staff of assistants for some time, “Because we’re not jumping into qualifying right away, we have the opportunity with exhibition games where I can try out different coaches on my side and see how they’re doing.”
Two current staffers that he did mention by name, though, were U.S. Youth Technical Director Claudio Reyna and interim U-20 coach Tab Ramos:
“I want Claudio very close to me. He will always be part of the staff. He will sit with us coaches at the table so I can tell him how I look at the game and how we can be of help to him.
“I want [Ramos’] perspective and his information about what’s coming though at the Under-20 and Under-17 level.”
As for the August 10 friendly against Mexico, Klinsmann said he hasn’t had much contact with any U.S. players but that he will name both his squad and a temporary coaching staff for that game on Wednesday. So stay tuned for that.
Video of this morning’s appearance is scarce, but here’s a revealing clip of Klinsmann talking about U.S. soccer at last summer’s World Cup:
The signing of a figure as famous as Klinsmann is certainly exciting, but we’d say that given his track record as a coach—a third-place finish at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and an abortive, unsuccessful stint as coach of Bayern Munich—it’s a gamble, and by no means a guarantee of improvement for U.S. soccer.