Jurgen Klinsmann is still head coach of the U.S. national team — much to the chagrin of many USMNT supporters — though his role as technical director of the U.S. program, which presumably provides him additional security in times of disappointing results as the former, has reportedly been reduced to an in-name-only designation.
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According to a report by SI’s Grant Wahl, Klinsmann has seen his power within U.S. Soccer reduced in recent months, though it is unclear whether this is a reactionary measure taken by U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, or a sign that Klinsmann had previously been given too much control and/or responsibility.
Despite recent losses, Jurgen Klinsmann remains the U.S. men’s national team coach and technical director, but multiple sources say that Klinsmann’s duties in the latter area have become more ceremonial than before.
Over the past year, U.S. Soccer’s chief commercial director Jay Berhalter—the brother of Columbus Crew SC coach Gregg Berhalter—has started taking over a lot of the day-to-day technical director duties. Berhalter even called an important meeting in Chicago in August that did not include Klinsmann.
Communication between Berhalter and Klinsmann is described as “not good.” One insider used the term “power struggle.”
(UPDATE: A U.S. Soccer spokesperson said: “Any perception that there’s a power struggle is simply false. Everyone is working collectively to improve the technical side on a daily basis.”
Is Klinsmann’s world beginning to slowly cave in around him — as much, of course, as someone who’s on a multi-million dollar contract per year with very little chance of actually getting fired can be — as he’s being held accountable for recent failures on multiple fronts, something so simple which we’ve been crying out for for months?
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Klinsmann has also fired head trainer Sue Falsone, for, according to Wahl’s report, “the way she dealt with Alejandro Bedoya’s illness that kept him out of the USA’s CONCACAF Cup playoff against Mexico.” This isn’t the first time Klinsmann has clashed with national team doctors and/or trainers — something similar occurred during his time as Germany manager — but it does make one wonder: What of the way Klinsmann has dealt with and/or caused the outbreak of exploding hamstrings among USMNT players, due to over-training, the last 16-24 months? No big deal? A fireable offense itself? For him, surely no.
(UPDATE: A U.S. Soccer spokesman also said contrary to a published report today by Grant Wahl, head athletic trainer Sue Falsone was not fired but that the two parties mutually agreed to part ways after a year of working together.)
The next question, assuming his endeavors as technical director were something of a saving grace through his struggles as head coach, is this: If he’s not propping up a poor managerial reign with the kind of widespread evolution he so consistently promised (technical director Klinsmann), why has head coach Klinsmann been retained?