Jurgen Klinsmann has been fired as both head coach and Technical Director of the United States Men’s National Team, U.S. Soccer announced on Monday.
There is no official word on who his replacement will be, though Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated says the favorite is LA Galaxy manager and former USMNT head coach Bruce Arena, who is currently in talks to take the job.
The United States had a good showing in this summer’s Copa America Centenario, but aside from that semifinal appearance, the last two years have featured a number of disappointing results. The U.S. suffered its worst result ever in a Gold Cup in 2015, finishing in fourth place after losses to Jamaica in Panama. They fell in the subsequent playoff with Mexico, failing to qualify for the Confederations Cup. Last week, the U.S. began the Hexagonal round of World Cup qualification with a last-second home loss to Mexico in Columbus followed by a disastrous 4-0 loss to Costa Rica, which proved to be the final straw.
In addition, the United States U-23 team has failed to qualify for the last two Olympics under Klinsmann’s watch.
“We want to thank Jurgen for his hard work and commitment during these last five years,” said U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati in a statement. “He took pride in having the responsibility of steering the program, and there were considerable achievements along the way.”
“Many are aware of the historic victories, including leading us out of the Group of Death to the Round of 16 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but there were also lesser publicized efforts behind the scenes. He challenged everyone in the U.S. Soccer community to think about things in new ways, and thanks to his efforts we have grown as an organization and expect there will be benefits from his work for years to come.”
The statement said that Gulati will hold a teleconference on Tuesday to discuss the decision and the immediate future for U.S. Soccer. The next World Cup qualification matches aren’t until March, so the organization can take its time appointing a replacement who will see ample time to seamlessly transition themselves into the role.
What is unclear is if U.S. Soccer will again hire one person to take both head coach and Technical Director roles, or if they will hire two separate individuals to split up the duties.