Why Jurgen Klinsmann Had to Go
The U.S. Soccer Federation announced the firing of its manager, Jurgen Klinsmann, this past Monday, Nov. 21.
Klinsmann went 55-27-16 during his five-year tenure and will be succeeded by former USMNT manager Bruce Arena, who managed the Americans from 1998-2006.
As the dust settles and Arena claims the throne as the new manager of the USMNT, it's worth noting that Jurgen Klinsmann had his chances as the American manager.
Klinsmann took over for Bob Bradley in 2011 in a move that arguably generated the most fanfare surrounding the USMNT since its 2002 run to the World Cup quarterfinals. But that's where, for the most part, the good times with Jurgen Klinsmann ended: on Day One.
Yes, the USMNT beat both the Netherlands and Germany in Europe during a couple of friendlies. And yes, the Americans captured the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup and made it to the 2016 World Cup Round of 16. But during Klinsmann's tenure as USMNT manager, the squad suffered more humiliating performances and uninspired efforts than arguably during any other period in U.S. Soccer's 103-year history.
Pablo Maurer, a columnist and photographer for D.C. United and Major League Soccer, outlined many of Klinsmann's shortcomings as USMNT manager.
But most frustrating for fans and members of the U.S. Soccer Federation is the lack of tenacity, pride and effort the Americans showed during its first two 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
The Americans have never been the most technically gifted side, but there's one trait that's kept the USMNT in matches they had no business competing in: pride. Pride in the American jersey. Pride in the red, white and blue. Pride in the opportunity to represent America on a global stage. Pride in heading into hostile arenas and enduring hateful chants and bags of urine. Pride in competiting for your brothers. Pride in the U.S. Soccer crest. Pride.
There was no pride evident as the Costa Ricans dismantled the Americans in San Juan on Nov. 15. The USMNT looked lackadaisical, disinterested and apathetic. Klinsmann had lost his team's attention.
And for that, more than anything else, was why Jurgen Klinsmann had to go. The Americans may never be the most gifted side, and they may never be the best team in the world. But the USMNT should always be gritty, determined, ferocious and tenacious.
Klinsmann couldn't draw that out of his players, and he lost his job because of it.
***Information provided by U.S. Soccer