Sat, Oct 28, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Klinsmann closing in on US job

NEW COACH? The former German international and national team coach has been in talks with the US Soccer Federation about filling Bruce Arena's shoes

AP , ST. LOUISFP, MADRID

Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann directs his team during the Ecuador-Germany match at the 2006 World Cup in Berlin's Olympic Stadium on June 20.

PHOTO: AP

Former Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann is in informal talks with the US Soccer Federation that could lead to him taking over as coach of the US.

Klinsmann, who coached Germany to a surprising berth in the World Cup semi-finals this summer, said in a telephone interview on Thursday that he's been speaking with USSF president Sunil Gulati.

"We've had a couple of conversations. I'm evaluating everything that comes up," Klinsmann said. "I'll stay in touch with Sunil and see what it leads to. It's a very casual and relaxed kind of correspondence."

Klinsmann resigned as Germany coach three days after the tournament, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. He lives in Los Angeles with his US-born wife and is regarded by many as the favorite to replace Bruce Arena, who was told by Gulati in mid-July that his contract would not be renewed.

"Sooner or later, I have to get back into coaching," Klinsmann said.

Gulati, who has refused to comment on his talks with any potential replacement, repeated on Thursday that he hopes to have a new coach in place by the end of the year.

Klinsmann is a close friend of Arena's and attended some US practices when the players worked out in California. He said there isn't any timetable on his talks with Gulati.

"Obviously, those are discussions that will continue, and we'll see where they lead," he said.

In announcing Arena's departure, Gulati said his successor should have "some knowledge of US soccer, experience, leadership, a track record of success."

"Does Juergen Klinsmann have those qualities? He probably does," Gulati said then. "He's had success with the German team; he has a much better handle on the US soccer scene than someone who hasn't spent time here; he's inquisitive. He's an intelligent guy, multilingual with a lot of very positive qualities."

The 42-year-old Klinsmann's stint in charge of Germany opened him up to considerable criticism for his decision to commute from California. But those complaints dissipated as the World Cup host advanced to the semi-finals before losing to Italy, the eventual champion.

"I've lived in this country for eight years now, so I've followed soccer development in the US," he said.

"It's definitely a very different situation in this country. Obviously, the approach here in the US would be a totally different one. The player-development aspect is a huge aspect," he said.

After advancing to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2002, its best showing since the initial tournament in 1930, the US was knocked out in the first round this year. The Americans lost to the Czech Republic 3-0, drew Italy 1-1 and lost to Ghana 2-1.

Klinsmann was a star forward for Germany, playing in the 1990, 1994 and 1998 World Cups and scoring 11 goals, tied for fifth in the history of the tournament. He was a member of Germany's victorious 1990 World Cup and 1996 European Championship teams, and he scored 47 goals in 108 internationals.

At the club level, he played for Stuttgarter Kickers, VfB Stuttgart, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Sampdoria, AS Monaco and Tottenham Hotspur.

Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon said on Thursday that he was "almost sure" that David Beckham would be sticking with the Spanish side.

Calderon was speaking amid speculation that the 31-year-old midfielder is set to quit the Spanish capital with the former England captain linked with a move to the US.

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