Jurgen Klinsmann - Winning Time Part One
With one scuffed Brek Shea goal, Jurgen Klinsmann has silenced the doubters and made the football world look at the United States with more than just a casual glance.
The 2013 Gold Cup victory may not have the same cache as the Euros, the romance of Copa America or the African Cup of NationsCup but it does confirm something that I have known since 2006 and that is that Klinsmann is a winner.
He was a winner as a player and he'll be a winner as a coach. Just look at his resume.
At the club level he played in Germany, France, England and Italy winning multiple trophies including league and European titles. This has given him a cosmopolitan outlook and the ability not only to adapt to different playing styles but to learn from them.
At the international level he represented his country 108 times winning the World Cup in 1990 and the European Championships in 1996, this time as captain of the team. No mean feat when you consider the egos on the Mannschaft in his era. As a coach he took Germany to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2006 playing an expansive brand of football that the German national team still plays to this day. The loss to Italy in one of the all time great World Cup matches denying him what surely would've been a World Championship. His only failure, a short spell at Bayern Munich, a club with a notoriously short fuse where many have failed before him.
He may not have been the most popular choice for the USMNT where many supporters have a short memory but he was certainly the most experienced in terms of having been there. What home grown coach could ever say 'this is how it feels in the big moments?', the answer is none because no one had ever been there before. There were early complaints about his style, how the team was playing, the results and in America, results matter however in football, its not how you start but where you finish.
What supporters of the USMNT had to realize is that Klinsmann has three short-term goals and neither of them have anything to do with style, making friends or being liked.
1. Win the Gold Cup
2. Qualify for the World Cup finals
3. Take the USMNT further than they’ve ever been before.
Nothing else matters in the next twelve months. So for those of you who were outraged about the job he was doing with the USMNT, time to eat 'humble pie' and for those of us who knew that the man knows how to get the job done, well, we can afford a smug hint of satisfaction.
Yes, there is still work to do but part one of the trifecta has been completed.