Klinsmann Talking With U.S Soccer

Thursday, October 26th 2006, 10:28 pm
By: News On 6

Former German national team coach Juergen Klinsmann is engaged in informal talks with the U.S. Soccer Federation that could lead to him taking over as coach of the American national team.

Klinsmann, who coached his native Germany to a surprising berth in the World Cup semifinals this summer, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Thursday that he's been speaking with USSF president Sunil Gulati.

``We've had a couple of conversations. I'm evaluating everything that comes up,'' Klinsmann said. ``I'll stay in touch with Sunil and see what it leads to. It's a very casual and relaxed correspondence.''

Klinsmann resigned as Germany's coach three days after the tournament, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. He lives in suburban Los Angeles with his American-born wife and is regarded by many as the favorite to replace Bruce Arena, who was told by Gulati in mid-July that his contract would not be renewed.

``Sooner or later, I have to get back into coaching,'' Klinsmann said.

Gulati, who has refused to comment on his talks with any potential replacement, repeated Thursday that he hopes to have a new coach in place by the end of the year.

Klinsmann is a close friend of Arena's and attended some U.S. team practices when the players worked out in California. He said there isn't any timetable on his talks with Gulati.

``Obviously, those are discussions that will continue, and we'll see where they lead,'' he said.

In announcing Arena's departure, Gulati said his successor should have ``some knowledge of American soccer, experience, leadership, a track record of success.''

``Does Juergen Klinsmann have those qualities? He probably does,'' Gulati said then. ``He's had success with the German team; he has a much better handle on American soccer scene than someone who hasn't spent time here; he's inquisitive. He's an intelligent guy, multilingual with a lot of very positive qualities.''

The 42-year-old Klinsmann's stint in charge of Germany opened him up to considerable criticism for his decision to commute from California. But those complaints dissipated as the World Cup host advanced to the semifinals before losing to Italy, the eventual champion.

``I've lived in this country for eight years now, so I've followed soccer development in the United States,'' he said. ``It's definitely a very different situation in this country. Obviously, the approach here in the U.S. would be a totally different one. The player-development aspect is a huge aspect.''

After advancing to the World Cup quarterfinals in 2002, its best showing since the initial tournament in 1930, the United States was knocked out in the first round this year. Playing in the most difficult of the eight groups, the Americans lost to the Czech Republic 3-0, tied Italy 1-1 and lost to Ghana 2-1.

Klinsmann was a star forward for Germany, playing in the 1990, 1994 and 1998 World Cups and scored 11 goals, tied for fifth in the history of the tournament. He was a member of the German teams that won the 1990 World Cup and 1996 European Championships, and he scored 47 goals in 108 international appearances.

At the club level, he played for Stuttgarter Kickers, VfB Stuttgart and Bayern Munich in Germany, Internazionale of Milan and Sampdoria in Italy, AS Monaco in France and Tottenham Hotspur in England.