Yesterday we found out that Bob Bradley would no longer be the coach of the US Men’s National Team. Almost immediately, we also realized that Jurgen Klinsmann would be the new head man for US Soccer. Why? Because there was going to be a further announcement today and Sunil Gulati told Grant Wahl, “you’re not going to be surprised” when the new coach is announced.
Today’s Friday Lost and Found is dedicated to this transaction. I’ll take some time to record my own take on the Klinsmann hire tomorrow morning, but here are some takes worth reading now:
Brian Straus, who now plies his trade for AOL’s Sporting News (RIP FanHouse) makes the case that Bradley was undone by a failing US soccer culture that Klinsmann won’t be able to fix quickly. Strauss notes Bradley’s impressive record with the US and argues he could only coach the players he was given. The players are something Klinsmann won’t be able to change. However, he also says that Klinsmann’s international pedigree and superior communications skills gives him a bully pulpit to start changing the US’s failed and automatonic development system.
Over at No Short Corners, Greg Seltzer has high hopes that Klinsmann will bring some attacking panache to the US side and will partner nicely with Claudio Reyna, US Youth Soccer’s Technical Director, on player development and curriculum. He also notes that Bob Bradley’s departure is really good news for young Michael Bradley, who “does not need to wear that ‘coach’s kid’ albatross around his neck at all times.”
Grant Wahl unearths an interview with Klinsmann from last year to search for clues as to how he might approach the head job now that he has it. Klinsmann is someone who is clearly fascinated by the dynamics of US Soccer, from it’s hyper-organization to its increasing South American influence. Again, Klinsmann states his preference for attacking football. At the end of the day, what Wahl believes Klinsmann signals an opportunity for major changes to US Soccer as opposed to the incremental changes we’ve seen in the program since — well, since forever.
Sticking with Sports Illustrated, Steve Davis punches some holes in the argument that coaches are only as successful as their players, noting that a coach like Klinsmann — who has played at the highest level — could serve as mentor for struggling, but talented forwards like Jozy Altidore and Juan Aguadelo. Klinsmann could also revive players like, Bobby Convey, Jose Torres and prodigal son Freddy Adu who didn’t fit into Bradley’s conservative system. I’m hoping Klinsmann will cut lose some of Bradley’s favorite sons, as well. I’m looking in your direction Jonathan Bornstein.
Finally, it should be noted that Tropigol, a fairly new site being run by longtime soccer writer Michael Lewis, was the first site to report that Klinsmann had been hired. The site sourced its story to “a reliable source in the US Soccer community,” beating out the US Soccer press release. Tropigol also posted Bookmaker’s odds on who would be the new coach (prior to Klinsmann being named of course) with Alexi Lalas sitting at 25-1. The same odds as LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham.