It was announced today that Jurgen Klinsmann has been fired from both his position as the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) manager and technical director of youth development.
This news comes a week after two painful World Cup qualifier losses. The first came at the hands of arch-rivals Mexico, effectively ending the “dos a cero” run in Columbus, Ohio. Next, a 4-0 drubbing away in Costa Rica put Klinsmann’s job security in serious jeopardy.
U.S. Soccer Presient Sunil Gulati announced the decision to part ways with the German manager after Klinsmann’s five years in charge.
“With the next qualifying match in late March, we have several months to refocus the group and determine the best way forward to ensure a successful journey to qualify for our eighth-consecutive World Cup,” Gulati said in his official statement. This optimistic tone is most certainly necessary in order to redirect the national team out of the bottom of their CONCACAF qualifying group and back towards winning ways.
The Right Choice
Although Klinsmann’s time in charge of the USMNT was not all as bad as the last week, this certainly was the correct decision. The poor showing at the Gold Cup two summers ago was topped off with an exit at the hands of underdogs Jamaica. The Under-23s even failed to qualify for the Olympics last summer.
Despite not being the manager of the youth teams, Klinsmann was in charge of youth development and that definitely reflects poorly on him. Then, just last summer the team was utterly embarrassed by Lionel Messi and company in the knockout round of Copa America Centenario. This is a results-driven business, and Klinsmann just did not deliver when it mattered.
Not only did he not deliver with results, but also the style of play that he employed was rough and inconsistent. Often times the midfield could not connect passes to get out of pressure of put any pressure of their own on the opposing team.
Whether this is a result of all the different line-ups Klinsmann used or just the limited talent that USA has produced in recent years is yet to be seen. There was no consistency with the team selections as his philosophy of trying to bring as much competition into the team as possible seems to have backfired caused form to spiral out of control.
Out of all his notable achievements, Klinsmann got the team out of the Group of Death in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He brought in more players to expand the national team, and fostered the youth systems with hard work and dedication.
However, with the young talent coming through the ranks such as Christian Pulisic, a manager with a better system is much needed. The national team youth needs to be fostered in more of a refined and winning culture, and a shake up in the coaching position is exactly what the USMNT needs.
After the last two unsuccessful managing stints at Bayern Munich and now the USMNT, Klinsmann’s managerial career may well be over.