The Jurgen Klinsmann era of the US Men’s National Soccer Team was unlike any other in the country’s history, but it has reportedly come to an end after a crushing 4-0 defeat in World Cup qualifying to Costa Rica on November 15th.
Klinsmann was a dreamer who envisioned a top-down culture change across American soccer, with the goal of modernizing and internationalizing the process of developing young talent to catch up with the more traditional powers in the sport. While he has undeniably scored some successes on that end — none bigger than burgeoning teen sensation Christian Pulisic for Borussia Dortmund — the tactics he’s displayed on the field have been inconsistent and disappointing, just like the team’s results. Here’s the official release, which is filled with praise for Klinsmann.
Things hit a tipping point in the past couple weeks. After losing to Mexico, 2-1, the team caught a drubbing against Costa Rica with a 4-0 result that didn’t even feel that close. With a few months to go before the next round of qualifying matches in March, now was the time to make a change and give whoever succeeds Klinsmann as much time as possible to prepare the team. Even though Klinsmann was defiant in the face of those calling for his job, eventually the chorus grew too loud to ignore.
Bruce Arena, who Borden tipped as the likely choice, has already held the position before, for eight years and two World Cups. After he was fired for a disappointing finish to the 2006 cup, he steadily rebuilt his reputation in the MLS, where he’s been the coach of the league’s flagship franchise, the LA Galaxy, since 2008.