Jurgen Klinsmann’s reign at U.S. Soccer House is over.
The United States Soccer Federation announced Monday in a statement that it had fired Klinsmann from his dual roles as men’s national team head coach and program technical director. U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati decided to make the coaching change amid Team USA’s disastrous start to the final round of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying.
“We want to thank Jurgen for his hard work and commitment during these last five years,” Gulati said. “He took pride in having the responsibility of steering the program, and there were considerable achievements along the way.
“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.
Gulati acted quickly just six days after USA’s bitter 4-0 loss to Costa Rica, which left Team USA at the bottom of the CONCACAF final-round standings after two games (out of 10). A 2-1 setback to Mexico preceeded the Costa Rica loss, heaping pressure on Klinsmann from which he never recovered.
Klinsmann defiantly said Sunday he remains certain Team USA will qualify for World Cup 2018 and that he wasn’t afraid of losing his job.
The German-American led the U.S. to the round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup and a fourth-place finish at Copa America 2016. He also helped USA win the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2013 but oversaw the disappointing fourth-place finish in the 2015 competition. His final record as Team USA coach is 55 wins, 27 losses and 16 draws.
U.S. Soccer didn’t name Klinsmann’s successor. L.A. Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, who coached Team USA from 1998 to 2006, is reportedly the front-runner for the now-vacant position.
Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports