Photo by ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
Regardless of how it ends, the 2014 World Cup will not be Jurgen Klinsmann’s last as head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team.
U.S. Soccer announced on Thursday that it has signed Klinsmann to a four-year extension that will keep him in charge of the U.S. team through 2018. As part of the new deal, Klinsmann has also been appointed the technical director for U.S. Soccer.
“One of the reasons we hired Jurgen as our head coach was to advance the program forward and we’ve seen the initial stages of that happening on the field and also off the field in various areas,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati in a statement released by the federation. “In the past two years he has built a strong foundation from the senior team down to the youth teams and we want to continue to build upon that success.”
Long pursued by U.S. Soccer, Klinsmann signed on as head coach in July 2011 and has been largely successful during his time in charge. The Americans are coming off one of their most successful years in history, one that was highlighted by winning the 2013 Gold Cup and a first-place finish in CONCACAF’s 2014 World Cup qualifying.
There has been evidence in the past of things growing stale during a second World Cup cycle under the same head coach, but that was not enough to keep U.S. Soccer from extending Klinsmann’s stay and making him the federation’s technical director.
“I am very fortunate to continue the work we started more than two and half years ago,” said Klinsmann in the same statement. “It’s exciting to see the progress we have made, and we continue to make improvements on all fronts. The role of technical director is a huge challenge and also a huge opportunity as we look to keep connecting the dots to the youth national teams, coaching education, the Development Academy and the grassroots efforts in this country. These are fascinating topics and I am excited work with so many talented people and hear fresh ideas. For sure it means more work, but also many more fulfilling opportunities.”
Klinsmann and the U.S. found out their 2014 World Cup opponents during last week’s draw in Brazil. They were drawn alongside Ghana, Germany, and Portugal to make up one of the more difficult groups in next summer’s World Cup.
What do you think of U.S. Soccer extending Klinsmann’s contract and making him technical director? Happy? Concerned that complacency might settle in at the World Cup and beyond?
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