Jurgen klinsmann ex-usa manager opens up on failure, future si.com gaston y daniela

That summer Klinsmann led the U.S. out of the Group of Death before falling to Belgium in the round of 16. U.S. fans were ecstatic. In the ensuing two years, however, the coach’s standing waned, capped by those qualifier losses. In Klinsmann’s mind, the defeats were just part of the process, inevitable dips en route to Russia. The Federation disagreed and on Nov. 21, 2016, in L.A., Gulati fired him. Klinsmann says he hadn’t intended to stay after the end of the second cycle, but he allows that the firing “maybe hurt in a certain way.”

He looked into the why and how of his firing. “They have their reasons, they are your bosses so you have to accept that,” he says. “It was an amazing ride. Were there some bumps in the process? Absolutely, some losses. Absolutely. But it didn’t take me long [to move on] because I knew why certain things happened. … You analyze it, discuss it and move on. One door closes and three more open.” Still, in hindsight: “If I’d have known that they’d make the decision to cut [me] short, because [I] lost two games, probably I would have stepped out after 2014.” (Gulati’s take: “Overall, I think his time was quite positive. In the end, wins and losses are what anyone is measured by. The second cycle we fell short and that was disappointing.”)

But a path forward exists, he believes. Expand the MLS season and respect FIFA’s international dates. Lengthen the college season. Instill a competitive desperation—your spot on the national team is never safe. Empower young talent. (Klinsmann says that if he’d seen then-19-year-old Jordan Morris three months earlier, he’d have brought him to Brazil in 2014.) Monitor chemistry. (“Maybe a coach needs to cut out a bad apple, and it might be a big apple, you know,” he says, raising a hand above head level.) Do all this and “Generation Pulisic,” as he calls it, still has a chance. "You cannot put a deadline on it,” though, he says. “People think if you do this and then this, then we win the next World Cup? No, it doesn’t work that way, because the other countries are also advancing.” Still, he believes the game’s growth in the U.S. can’t be stopped now; he cites immigrant families, media coverage, “the flowers coming up” in the youth system and the success of the U-20 squad. Put it all together and it might just work.

That’s the best-case scenario, though. For now, the U.S. still lacks a coach. Potential candidates include Juan Carlos Osorio of Mexico, Roberto Martinez of Belgium, Jesse Marsch of the Red Bulls and Tab Ramos, the U-20 coach and Klinsmann’s protégé. Whoever gets the job, Klinsmann advises that, if that person is American, he needs to be “open-minded to what happens outside in the world.” And if foreign, that person should heed the overriding lesson of Klinsmann’s own career: “You cannot go into a cultural environment and change people. You need to adjust to them.” But most of all, he says, nothing will work unless the coach and federation “work hand in hand, and no one has different agendas.”

Like much Klinsmann says, that quote is purposefully phrased. Over the course of two meetings he is careful to go on and off the record. He has held enough jobs, and had enough bosses, to know there’s little upside to public griping: “In Germany we say, ‘Don’t spit in the soup you’re eating from.’”

But the frustration is clear, on various sides. Some in the U.S. soccer media are not fond of Klinsmann, and the feeling is mutual; he has stopped speaking to certain television and print reporters. While defender Geoff Cameron and German-born midfielder Jermaine Jones publicly supported Klinsmann’s approach after his departure, other USMNT players were conspicuously quiet, including captain Michael Bradley. (Approached for this story, Bradley declined to comment.)

To spend time around Klinsmann is to be confronted by contradictions. He is affable but judgmental, easygoing but averse to compromise. (“He knows exactly who he is and what he wants,” says Brandes.) For a global sports icon he is surprisingly down-to-earth and conscientious; he calls at 8:50 a.m. to say he will arrive for a meeting scheduled at 9 in “10 to 12 minutes”—or, as it’s commonly known, on time. He can be charming but also awkward and stubborn. He says things like, “My dad always said, ‘If I burn the bread I go back in the kitchen and I make another loaf and sell it again and I apologize to my clients”—and yet he’s reluctant to admit missteps or apologize. (Four times I ask about mistakes he made, but he evades the question each time.) Klinsmann’s critics often note these dualities. They believe he over-tinkered with lineups and failed at communicating but also acknowledge the value of his big-picture ideas and his skills as a motivator. To some, it seems as if he possesses the hardware but not the software.

Perhaps it’s all perspective. In discussing the American reaction to his tenure Klinsmann tends to note the gap in experience. He has played and coached all over the world, alongside and against some of the best ever. If you haven’t done this, then you can’t comprehend the game as he does; you cannot, technically speaking, understand his decisions. This makes sense on one level—he is perhaps the most qualified person in the world to comment on U.S. soccer—but can also be viewed as something of an epic copout.

For now Klinsmann says he’s ready to move on. He will provide BBC commentary on the upcoming World Cup; afterward, he believes a coaching job will open up. MLS, he insists, isn’t on his radar; he’s focused on a national team, though it would have to be “a top-eight team” this time, so he could “really go for it.” The sporadic schedule of a national gig would also allow him to stay in California through the end of Laila’s high school years. (Rumors last week placed him on the radar of Pachuca, in Mexico’s Liga MX. Asked about that, Klinsmann texts: “No truth!”)