Posted October 10, 2013

Jurgen Klinsmann discusses his desire to stay, a possible England friendly and more

2014 World Cup, England national team, Jurgen Klinsmann, U.S. men's national team, World Cup qualifying
Jurgen Klinsmann said he'd like to stay with the USMNT beyond the 2014 World Cup.

Jurgen Klinsmann said he’d like to stay with the USMNT beyond the 2014 World Cup. (Alex Brandon/AP)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Jurgen Klinsmann doesn’t just want to coach the U.S. through World Cup 2014, but he’s also interested in continuing in his job beyond 2014, he told SI.com in an interview Wednesday night ahead of the U.S.’s World Cup qualifier against Jamaica (Friday, 6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, Unimas).

“Yeah, absolutely,” said Klinsmann, who’s in his third year as the U.S. coach, when asked about his interest in extending his contract. “A lot of the stuff we’ve done now is foundation work. It’s really just starting to connect the dots that you always talk about in the soccer landscape in the United States: Getting connected to the youth level, to coaches’ education, getting connected really well with MLS.”

“So yeah, that is my interest to continue that work,” continued Klinsmann, whose U.S. team clinched a berth in World Cup 2014 last month. “I’d love to be measured on success. I like that. But also you want to see that people in your environment are happy with how things are going, meaning now Sunil [Gulati, the U.S. Soccer president] and Dan Flynn [the USSF general secretary]. I think they are impressed with what we’ve built now in two years, how we connected the [U.S.] youth teams to us … A lot of the stuff that we laid out and continue now to deepen is happening. Therefore, yeah, there is a big interest to continue that network.”

It makes sense that Klinsmann would want to coach the U.S. beyond 2014, not least because his previously stated goals of developing the U.S. program would require him staying longer than three years in the job. Ultimately it will be U.S. Soccer’s decision on whether to offer Klinsmann a contract extension, and it’s almost certain the federation will wait to do that until after it sees how Klinsmann’s U.S. team performs in Brazil.

Klinsmann touched on a number of topics in his SI.com interview, including why he has chosen São Paulo as the U.S. base in Brazil, who are his top candidates at the fullback positions, Seattle’s handling of Clint Dempsey’s injury, how the U.S.’s pre-World Cup camp will work and the possibility of a pre-World Cup friendly against England. Here’s what he had to say:

SI.com: As much as soccer has grown in recent years, there’s still a segment of Americans who only want to pay attention if the U.S. has a chance of winning the World Cup. When you get asked if it’s realistic to think the U.S. could win the World Cup, what do you say?

Klinsmann: I would tell them it’s a huge dream, and it’s fair enough to dream. I mean, everyone has to have a dream. Now is it realistic? In the world of soccer anything can happen, which Greece showed in 2004 at the European Championship. But the reality is that we are still behind the top soccer nations in this world. Therefore I would tell the people keep dreaming because it’s good to dream, but if it comes true that’s another huge question. Realistically there’s no chance, but anything can happen.

WAHL: Can the U.S. earn a top-eight seed for the 2014 World Cup?

SI.com: You chose São Paulo as the U.S. base for World Cup 2014. Why São Paulo and not Rio de Janeiro or some other city?

Klinsmann: By coincidence I was there two years ago for a coaching seminar for my friend Carlos Alberto Parreira. I’ve been there several times, and before the whole process started with hotels and training sites, I already found some. We put options down even if it wasn’t cemented yet. I said if I put the options down you can’t say I haven’t sent that e-mail because it’s on the record (laughs)! It turned out to be one of the best locations. We have hopefully an infrastructure now that is giving you every opportunity to do well.

I think São Paulo is a great spot. It’s very cosmopolitan, very European and there are a lot of things to do, but it’s also a crazy football city with the teams that are there. If you look at the training ground that we put our option down on, FC São Paulo, it’s second to none in Brazil. With hotels, we found a very good hotel, which we will test out now in January [during the U.S. camp]. We also test the training ground.

I’ve been back another two times. Other countries want to buy off our options, but we’re not selling them! I think it’s a very good spot. Obviously we need a base camp hotel. You don’t know until Dec. 6 [the World Cup draw] who you have in your group or where you’re going to play. We can’t wait until that time.

SI.com: There have been occasions in previous World Cups for the U.S. and other teams where players who played little to no role in World Cup qualifying emerged and play important roles in the World Cup itself. Do you see that as a real possibility with this U.S. team?

Klinsmann: Absolutely. That’s why the race is going on until May 2014. Because God forbid injuries happen. Lack of form, whatever personal situations come up, there’s so much movement in a squad. Almost every month things come along and happen, and you want to see players grow. Some grow faster than others, and some don’t maybe. So that’s why you keep your door open until the very last moment. It can happen that there are some faces in there you might not think about now or you think they are very unlikely because it’s about the moment, the timing.

They need to be aware of that. That’s why we always stress so much talking about Brazil now since we’ve qualified. Guys, the race is on already. Everything you do, every training session. I just pointed out now [at practice], ‘Guys, I’m not happy with that shooting exercise. I want more quality.’ Because you have to demand that from yourself. A few months down the road, it’s different. You get maybe one shot in a [World Cup] game, don’t miss that one!

SI.com: Do you see any young players as potential candidates to emerge?

Klinsmann: No, nothing that hasn’t been here yet that I would talk about. Because we monitor the Under-20 kids that went with Tab Ramos to Turkey. We monitor some youngsters that come through the European scene. But as of today I wouldn’t say they’re ready for our team right now.

SI.com: For a few reasons you haven’t had the chance to cap-tie John Brooks to the U.S. yet. Are you fully confident he has chosen the U.S. over Germany?

Klinsmann: Yeah. Fully confident.

STRAUS: Earthquakes’ Steven Beitashour chooses to represent Iran over U.S.

8 comments
SamuZlsp
SamuZlsp

I don't think it is a good idea USA soccer team have choosen São Paulo Futebol Clube training center to stay because there is a tradition here in Brazil that the team that stays in São Paulo Futebol Clube training center always is defeated by the team that stays in Sport Club Corinthians Paulista training center. If you guys from America are really smart, I will let you know that Iram will be in the Sport Club Corinthians Paulista facilities and possibly will have a support of 35 millions of Corinthians fans, because we always want São Paulo Futebol Clube loose, even in this kind of situation, the rivality is high. 

Michael4
Michael4

I loved how Klinsy deflected the vague suggestion of Seattle shenanigans on the Dempsey issue (one that's been voiced by a good number of MLS fans). Very blunt, very German.

It goes to show how a real soccer mind works, and how rational thinking trumps conspiracy theories.

Coctostan
Coctostan

Mr. Wahl, that was an excellent, to the point interview. Klinsmann seems like a good interview who isn't afraid to speak his mind. His honesty in the answer to the US chances at the WC was pretty interesting. 

I think Bradley was a good coach that had taken the US as far as his approach could. I think Klinsmann has built well upon that even as he sort of "blew things up". I'd love to see the US give him a few WC's to try to make a long term impact. He certainly seems to have the interest and vigor to build something here.

eric.reiser.3
eric.reiser.3

I love having thus guy in charge of our National Team.  Go Go USA!

M20
M20

SI.com: For a few reasons you haven’t had the chance to cap-tie John Brooks to the U.S. yet. Are you fully confident he has chosen the U.S. over Germany?

Klinsmann: Yeah. Fully confident.

That was the best thing I've heard all day.

The fact that Cameron is a natural centerback is irrelevant. He can be a natural centerback and still be (possibly) the best option at right back. I mean, he only starts there every week for one of the best defensive teams in the toughest league in the world.

"If we get a South American team, we badly want a South American team. If we get an African team, we badly want to play an African team." - Very smart. Glad to see he's thinking this way.

Ryan19
Ryan19

@M20 I would like to see Cameron end up taking over the CDM position.  I've never been a big fan of Jermaine Jones.  He gets caught up way too often and is a red-card waiting to happen.  Beckerman plays the ball back too much for my liking.  I think Cameron would do a great job supporting Bradley.  He won't get caught out of position, but he is also good enough on the ball to help start the attack.  Although in truth I would love to see Bradley drop back to that spot if Mix can become a solid option at CAM.  

KenKing
KenKing

@Ryan19 @M20 Unfortunately, there is no way that JK loses his German man crush on JJ this cycle. I agree, however, that Cameron belongs in that spot today. But after WC 2014, I definitely see Bradly behind Diskerud. I wish that we could see those two in a WC while Donovan is still around, but I suspect Donovan will be gone after this WC.