Klinsmann introduced as new U.S. coachNEW YORK - New U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann believes his mix of international experience and American knowledge will allow him to improve the national football team.
The former Germany striker and coach, who has lived in the United States for 13 years, was introduced Monday and he spent much of the time talking about how to mold future American stars, not managing current ones.
“It all starts down to develop the next Landon Donovan,” Klinsmann said of the U.S. one day becoming a serious contender for World Cup titles.
And “one day” is the key phrase. “We still are quite a long way away from that,” he said.
“You need maybe 10 Landon Donovans at different positions with different characteristics in order to one day be there,” Klinsmann said.
Perhaps it’s partly a way to temper expectations as he takes over from Bob Bradley, whose firing was announced Thursday. The U.S. reached the round of 16 at last year’s World Cup, but blew a two-goal lead in the Gold Cup final loss to Mexico in June.
Still, Klinsmann, 47, makes it clear he views his charge as bigger than just preparing Donovan and his teammates for major tournaments.
“It also is vital I am involved in all the discussions with a lot of coaches out there, how we improve the grass-roots level,” Klinsmann said. “I’m fascinated by that approach.”
He contends his background of international experience plus American savvy is the perfect blend to accomplish that. He won a World Cup as a player and starred for elite European clubs, then coached Germany to a third-place finish at the 2006 World Cup.
But he has also lived in the United States for 13 years and sounds right at home talking about Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s statistical analysis of baseball.
Klinsmann said he’ll know which parts of the European system will work here and what must be uniquely American.
“It took me years to understand how important this whole education path for people is in this country,” he said.