Klinsmann receives 4-year extension from US Soccer

U.S. Soccer wasn’t taking any chances of losing Jurgen Klinsmann

to another country or club.

The federation broke with tradition and gave its coach a

four-year extension before the World Cup in part because it feared

other teams would pursue him after the tournament in Brazil next

summer, USSF president Sunil Gulati said Friday.

There was speculation linking Klinsmann to Switzerland and

Tottenham Hotspur, his former club team.

”We’ve obviously read some of those things,” Gulati

acknowledged on a conference call. ”At a specific level, none of

those things are critical to us. But, certainly, the desire we have

a long-term commitment to him and he has a long-term commitment to

us was part of it, and market dynamics dictate some of that.

”The program has done well and … that would bring a lot of

interest from the outside,” Gulati added. ”So sure, some of that

matters.”

U.S. Soccer waited until after the World Cup to give extensions

to Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley. But Gulati said he saw no reason to

wait after seeing not only the success Klinsmann had in his first2

1/2 years, but the direction of the program.

The U.S. is 27-10-7 since Klinsmann replaced Bob Bradley as

national team coach in July 2011. It qualified for its seventh

straight World Cup and won this year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, the

championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean. The

Americans also set team records this year for wins (16), winning

percentage (.761) and winning streak (12).

The first victory in the streak was against Germany – albeit its

second-string team – and the last was a come-from-behind 4-3

victory in Bosnia-Herzegovina that Gulati pointed to as a sign of

progress.

”We’ve seen players with more confidence, and I think that’s a

great measure in the confidence that Jurgen has instilled. That we

can better than where we’ve been,” Gulati said. ”We’re building

on a foundation. But the expectations and, frankly, the demands are

even higher now, and I think our players have responded to

that.”

Klinsmann also was given the additional title of USSF technical

director as part of the deal, putting him in charge of the

program’s development at all levels. All U.S. coaches have had some

input on the lower levels, but this gives Klinsmann the power to

institute a singular and consistent approach in coaching and player

development throughout the entire program.

That kind of cohesion is essential if the Americans hope to

achieve a spot among the world’s best teams, Klinsmann said.

”This really helps us to look beyond this upcoming World Cup,

which is extremely important,” he said. ”But for our type of

work, we want to show the players, want to show everyone involved

in the game here that there’s a plan in place, there’s ideas in

place.

”It’s easier to get everyone pulling in same direction if they

know you’re long-term here and you’ll follow through with it,”

Klinsmann added.

The extension was agreed to before last week’s World Cup draw,

where the Americans were placed in the most difficult group with

Germany, Portugal and Ghana. But it wasn’t announced until Thursday

because Gulati didn’t want to take attention away from the

draw.

Having job security through the 2018 World Cup in Russia won’t

change his approach for Brazil, said the 49-year-old Klinsmann.

”I’m a very ambitious person, I would say so, and always have

high expectations in what I want to do,” he said. ”I’m not

looking for any kind of comfort zone going into World Cup and would

never take that approach. Because I expect us to do well and get

through that very difficult group.”

After winning the 1990 World Cup with West Germany and the 1996

European Championship with Germany, Klinsmann retired as a player

in 1998 and moved to Orange County, Calif.

Klinsmann coached Germany to a 20-8-6 record from 2004-06,

leading the team to a third-place finish at home in the 2006 World

Cup and then quitting. He coached Bayern Munich from July 2008

until he was fired the following April.