FORT LAUDERDALE - When Jurgen Klinsmann
was appointed head coach the United States got much more than
German know-how - they signed up to a cosmopolitan philosophy
that the former striker is now putting into practice.
The man charged with producing a 2014 World Cup team
Americans can be proud of is a worldly figure who has assembled
a multi-national staff to work with a group of players from
After training on Tuesday, Klinsmann spoke at length with
reporters about what he wants to see from those players ahead of
this week's friendlies against Honduras in Miami on Saturday and
Ecuador in New Jersey on Tuesday.
The discussion revealed a coach who believes in helping
players to grow and allowing a team culture to evolve and who
enthuses about the globalised nature of the modern game and the
chance he has to shape a new U.S. side.
"Every cycle of a team, no matter what national team you are
talking about in the world, always goes through a path of
redefining its leaders, redefining its chemistry and this is now
the process we are going through in the next months," said the
Klinsmann is experimenting with different support staff
ahead of next year's World Cup qualifying campaign.
His line-up for this week's games includes Spaniard Javier
Perez and Mexican-American Martin Vasquez as assistant coaches,
English goalkeeping coach Chris Woods and Japanese fitness guru
Former Germany coach Klinsmann is himself cosmopolitan -
the son of a baker from Botnang in Stuttgart who lives with his
wife Debbie, a Chinese-American, in Huntingdon Beach,
The well-travelled 1990 World Cup winner settled in the
States after a distinguished playing career with Inter Milan,
Bayern Munich, Tottenham Hotspur and Monaco after cutting his
teeth in his hometown with VfB Stuttgart.
Those experiences of different cultures informs his attitude
towards life as well as the game, he says.
"You learn to take people the way they are, not the way you
want them to be. That's the biggest lesson - you develop that
tolerance towards people and respect," he said.
There are signs that Klinsmann prefers players who, like
himself, are prepared to move around to better themselves.
DaMarcus Beasley, now playing in Mexico with Puebla, has
been recalled to the team and Klinsmann's rationale for bringing
back a player whose international career had faded during his
time with Rangers in Scotland, gives a clue to his mindset.
"He completely moved out of his comfort zone. Coming back
from Europe, he got his act together and made the step going
down to Mexico and proving himself there.
"This shows you his character and his willingness to deal
with different environments and difficult moments, so I think
you see a far more mature DaMarcus Beasley than you saw a few
years ago," he said.
You won't hear a bad word from the players about Klinsmann's
predecessor, American Bob Bradley, but it is clear that, despite
a draw and two defeats in Klinsmann's opening three friendlies,
the players are enjoying the German's approach to the game.
Goalkeeper Tim Howard told Reuters: "Every coach brings
their own individuality to the team and as people Bob Bradley
and Juergen Klinsmann are different personalities and I think
that shows in the way of coaching.
"He [Klinsmann] has a very interesting philosophy and he
lives his life in that same open-minded way. I think the way he
looks at the game, looks at life, and also what he has
accomplished over the years as a player and a coach, makes for a
really good mix - he certainly has got our attention and
Klinsmann tips his hat to what he learned playing under some
great coaches - Italian Giovanni Trapattoni, German Franz
Beckenbauer, Frenchman Arsene Wenger and Argentine Cesar Luis
Menotti - and says the aim in bringing in specialists from
different backgrounds is to give his players new perspectives.
"What I am trying to do is inspire the players always from
different directions. I want to work with people who inspire me
as well and teach me as well. Because, really, no-one knows it
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