Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The best, most natural, choice

Monkfriend Anon sent the link to this FOX Sports report that US Soccer has reached a deal with Jurgen Klinsmann to become the next manager of the United States national men's soccer team. There is no way to overstate the excitement that the US soccer fans should feel about this. Klinsmann was everyone's preferred choice to take over the team after the US Soccer Federation sacked Bruce Arena.

Klinsmann, a former superstar player and the leader of the 1990 German team that won the World Cup in Italy, is a US resident and is married to an American. He knows the team well. His reputation soared during the World Cup when he took a middling German side to the semifinals, only to lose to eventual champion Italy on two late extra-time goals. Unlike his grumpy and condescending predecessor, Bruce Arena, Klinsmann is an inveterate optimist and a sunny personality.

Hopefully Klinsmann will be more astute than Arena by injecting more speed and youth into the team, ensuring prominent roles for Donovan, Beasley, and Dempsey, ensuring that future star Freddy Adu develops and picking deserving players for the next Cup like Taylor "all he does is score goals" Twellman. The challenge for the US is to develop its younger ranks, especially among goalkeepers, and ensure that the boys are battle-tested by entering the Gold Cup and Copa America because CONCACAF qualifying doesn't prepare teams for World Cup play.

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