The flirtation is finally over. After several previous attempts to hire the former German soccer legend, Juergen Klinsmann has been hired to coach the United States Men's Soccer team.
Klinsmann, who turns 47 on Saturday, resembles Kevin Costner and comes with quite a resume as both a player and a coach. The U.S. program tried to hire Klinsmann--who lives part of the year in
Newport Huntington Beach--twice prior to the hiring, only to have negotiations fall apart.
The announcement Friday came two days after the firing of the previous coach, Bob Bradley.
Klinsmann is taking over a team that played admirably at the 2010 World Cup, but has had average results since. The tournament was highlighted by a dramatic late-game win over Algeria
(not exactly a soccer superpower) courtesy of a beautiful break-out throw from goalkeeper Tim Howard
and a clean finish by the team's captain, Landon Donovan
After the tournament Bradley's contract was renewed, but the team presented mostly uninspired results, including a deflating 3-1 loss to Mexico in the Gold Cup.
The team is lacking a world-class striker and is vulnerable on the defensive back line, so there is much work Klinsmann needs to get done, and not a whole lot to work with at this point.
As a player, Klinsmann was a striker with the 1990 German national team that won the World Cup. He scored 11 goals in three world cups. As a coach, or manager, he guided the German team to a third-place finish at the 2006 World Cup. He was relieved of his coaching duties for his country soon after the tournament, and followed that with an unsuccessful stint managing Bayern Munich
, one of the most storied clubs in the
Klinsmann's coaching debut with the U.S. squad will be against the U.S.'s archrival, Mexico, in an exhibition match in Philadelphia on August 10. Qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil begins next year.