Klinsmann out as head coach, technical director of U.S. Soccer

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER.

by JACK HAZZARD

Is this the real life? Or is this just fantasy?

Well, pinch yourselves, you fans of the United States Men’s National Team — USSF have announced that head coach and Technical Director Jurgen Klinsmann has been relieved of his duties.

Klinsmann’s departure follows a pair of disappointing results to kick off the U.S. Men’s participation in the Hexagonal — CONCACAF’s ultimate decided for World Cup participation. Klinsmann compiled an impressive 55-27-16 record at the helm of the USMNT. His time was colored with several firsts and achievements: advancing from the Group of Death in 2014, achieving key friendly victories in Europe against Germany and Italy, setting a team record 12-match winning streak and helping the U.S. to a fourth place finish in the Copa America Centenario.

However, his tenure has also been littered with questionable personnel calls, disappointing results and a lack of personal responsibility — a quality that created a rift with players and fans alike.

Bruce Arena is the favorite to land the head coaching job, with sources telling EoS that the role would come on an interim basis.

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati will conduct a media teleconference call Tuesday afternoon with more information on the matter.

For now, Gulati provided a brief statement on the decision:

Today we made the difficult decision of parting ways with Jurgen Klinsmann, our head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team and Technical Director.

We want to thank Jurgen for his hard work and commitment during these last five years. He took pride in having the responsibility of steering the program, and there were considerable achievements along the way.

Many are aware of the historic victories, including leading us out of the Group of Death to the Round of 16 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but there were also lesser publicized efforts behind the scenes. He challenged everyone in the U.S. Soccer community to think about things in new ways, and thanks to his efforts we have grown as an organization and expect there will be benefits from his work for years to come.

While we remain confident that we have quality players to help us advance to Russia 2018, the form and growth of the team up to this point left us convinced that we need to go in a different direction. With the next qualifying match in late March, we have several months to refocus the group and determine the best way forward to ensure a successful journey to qualify for our eighth-consecutive World Cup.

There has never been a greater time for soccer in this country, and with the support and efforts of the millions of fans, sponsors, media and friends, we look forward to continued progress in the game we all love.

Full U.S. Soccer release, here.