Klins­mann fired as US football coach

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Juer­gen Klins­mann has been fired as head coach of the US men’s na­tional team in the wake of con­sec­u­tive losses dur­ing the qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign for the 2018 World Cup, US Soccer said on Mon­day.

Klins­mann was un­der con­tract through 2018 but his fu­ture with the team had been in doubt af­ter a pair of re­cent losses this month left their hopes of qual­i­fy­ing for the next World Cup in se­ri­ous peril.

Klins­mann’s suc­ces­sor was not named but mul­ti­ple re­ports sug­gest Bruce Arena of Ma­jor League Soccer’s Los An­ge­les Galaxy, who pre­vi­ously coached the U.S. team from 1998-2006, is in line to take over.

“To­day we made the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion of part­ing ways with Juer­gen Klins­mann, our head coach of the US Men’s Na­tional Team and tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor,” US Soccer pres­i­dent Su­nil Gu­lati said in a state­ment. “We want to thank Juer­gen 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.”

The 52-year-old for­mer Ger­many na­tional team coach and World Cup-win­ning striker had been in charge of the US team since 2011 when he re­placed Bob Bradley and was sup­posed to usher in trans­for­ma­tive changes.

While Klins­mann’s run with the US team did in­deed in­clude some wor­thy high­lights he was also crit­i­cised of­ten for tac­ti­cal short­com­ings while some re­ports sug­gested the play­ers tuned him out and failed to fully buy into his sys­tem. The United States can still qual­ify for the 2018 World Cup in Rus­sia but a stun­ning 40 loss to Costa Rica, which came on the heels of a 2-1 loss to Mex­ico, has them sit­ting dead last in CON­CA­CAF World Cup qual­i­fy­ing.

Should they rally and earn one of this round’s three au­to­matic qual­i­fi­ca­tion slots for Rus­sia 2018, the United States would be­come the first team in CON­CA­CAF his­tory to fin­ish in the top three of Hexag­o­nal play af­ter open­ing with two losses.

With their next World Cup qual­i­fier not un­til a March 17 game against Hon­duras, Klins­mann’s re­place­ment will have plenty of time to take stock of the pro­gram and evaluate play­ers. Arena, who won three MLS Cups as coach of the Galaxy and two with D.C. United, is re­port­edly in ne­go­ti­a­tions to take over and an an­nounce­ment could come as early as Tues­day. Dur­ing his ten­ure with the US team, Arena led the squad to the quar­ter-fi­nals at the 2002 World Cup, their best re­sult in the tour­na­ment since 1930.

“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,” said Gu­lati.

“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.”

Juer­gen Klins­mann

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