Juergen Klinsmann sacked as US men’s soccer coach after poor run of form

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 November, 2016, 4:49am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 November, 2016, 9:17am

Jurgen Klinsmann is out as coach of the US soccer team.

US Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati announced Monday that Klinsmann has been “relieved of his duties” as coach and technical director for US Soccer.

Klinsmann replaced Bob Bradley in July 2011 and led the team to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup title and the second round of the 2014 World Cup, where the Americans lost to Belgium in extra time.

But the US was knocked out in last year’s Gold Cup semifinals, lost to Mexico in a playoff for a Confederations Cup berth and started 0-2 this month in the final round of World Cup qualifying.

Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena is the favourite to succeed Klinsmann, and his hiring could be announced as early as Tuesday. Arena coached the national team from 1998 to 2006.

Qualifying resumes when the US hosts Honduras on March 24 and plays four days later at Panama.

“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,” US Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati said in a statement.

“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.”

Klinsmann is a former German star forward who has lived mostly in southern California since retiring as a player in 1998.

While there is time to recover, given the top three teams qualify for the 2018 tournament in Russia and the fourth-place finisher advances to a playoff against Asia’s No. 5 team, players seemed confused by Klinsmann’s tactics, such as a 3-4-1-2 formation.

“Today we made the difficult decision of parting ways with Jurgen Klinsmann,” Gulati said. “There were considerable achievements along the way ... but there were also lesser publicised efforts behind the scenes. He challenged everyone in the US Soccer community to think about things in new ways, and thanks to his efforts we have grown as an organisation and expect there will be benefits from his work for years to come.”

Arena was inducted into the US National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2010. As US coach, he led the Americans to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals in the team’s best finish since 1930.

After the team’s first-round elimination in 2006, he was let go by Gulati. Gulati unsuccessfully courted Klinsmann, who won the 1990 World Cup with West Germany and the 1996 European Championship with Germany.