AP Story

Jurgen Klinsmann hired to coach South Korea national team


SEOUL — Former Germany great Jurgen Klinsmann was hired Monday to coach South Korea’s national soccer team.

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The 58-year-old Klinsmann, who won the World Cup as a player with West Germany in 1990, replaces Paulo Bento. The Portuguese coach left the team after leading South Korea to the second round at last year’s World Cup in Qatar.

“I am very happy and honored to be the head coach of South Korea’s national football team,” Klinsmann said in a statement. “I know well that the Korean national team has been, over a long period of time, constantly improving and producing results.”

Klinsmann signed a contract through the 2026 World Cup, which will be held in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

South Korea has qualified for 10 straight World Cup tournaments. Klinsmann will be expected to extend that streak with the Asian region getting eight guaranteed spots at the expanded 48-team World Cup in 2026.

After a successful playing career, Klinsmann coached Germany to the World Cup semifinals in 2006 and then led the United States to the round of 16 in 2014. He also coached German club Bayern Munich, one of his former teams.

Klinsmann’s first game with South Korea will be a friendly against Colombia on March 24. World Cup qualifying starts in Asia in October but the coach’s first target will be to lead South Korea at the next Asian Cup, scheduled to be held in Qatar in January.

South Korea last won the continental title in 1960.

Klinsmann, whose last coaching job was a 76-day spell in charge of Hertha Berlin that ended in January 2020, will be the eighth foreign coach in South Korea’s history and the second from Germany. Uli Stielike was in charge from 2014-17.

Real Madrid beats Al-Hilal 5-3 to win eighth Club World Cup


RABAT, Morocco — Vinicius Junior scored twice and assisted Karim Benzema to lead Real Madrid to its record-extending eighth Club World Cup title by beating Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal 5-3 in the final on Saturday.

Federico Valverde added two more goals for the European champions in a final that turned into a shootout. Al-Hilal never led but showed it was no fluke that it upset Brazil’s Flamengo to reach the decider in Morocco’s capital.

Vinicius has been the target of racist slurs in the Spanish league – and even had his effigy hung from a bridge but has not let that negatively impact his performances.

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The Brazil forward, who scored the only goal when Madrid beat Liverpool in last season’s Champions League final, leads Madrid with 16 across all competitions.

Vinicius opened the scoring in the 13th minute and curled home Madrid’s fifth and final goal in the 69th.

Luciano Vietto scored twice and Moussa Marega once for the Asian champions, who fell behind early and never got closer than 2-1 by halftime.

Madrid also won the Club World Cup following triumphs in the Champions League in 2014 and from 2016-18. It won other versions of the world title in 1960, 1998 and 2002.

Anthony Gordon sold to Newcastle by Everton for $49.5 million


NEWCASTLE, England — Newcastle signed Anthony Gordon from Everton reportedly for an initial $49.5 million after the 21-year-old winger submitted a formal transfer request.

Newcastle said Gordon has signed a long-term deal as the team bolsters its squad for its tilt at qualifying for the Champions League. It is currently in third place in the Premier League.

“I think the fan base and the city really suits me as a person, the way the team are playing under the (manager Eddie Howe) at the minute really suits me, and the club just look like they’re heading in the right direction,” Gordon said.

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“I feel like it’s a really big step. People haven’t seen what I’m capable of yet.”

Gordon joined Everton’s academy at the age of 11 and made his senior debut as a 16-year-old in a Europa League match in December 2017.

Everton announced the departure of Gordon in a brief statement.

Howe described Gordon as a “top, top talent.”

“I’m really excited to work with him, to develop him, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do in a Newcastle shirt,” Howe added.

Jesse Marsch adds USMNT, RBNY alum Chris Armas as assistant coach

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LEEDS, England — Leeds added another American to its coaching staff by hiring former United States midfielder Chris Armas to be an assistant to compatriot Jesse Marsch.

Armas was Marsch’s assistant at New York Red Bulls from 2015-18 before becoming head coach when Marsch moved to German team Leipzig.

The 50-year-old Armas worked under interim coach Ralf Rangnick at Manchester United last season, leaving before Erik ten Hag took over as the permanent manager.

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“He brings a wealth of experience from across the world,” Marsch said of Armas, “and, having worked closely with him previously, I am sure he will help us to improve every day.”

Armas, who spent his playing career at the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chicago Fire and made 66 appearances for the United States, is expected to be in the dugout for Leeds’ FA Cup match at third-tier Accrington Stanley on Saturday.

Leeds has American players Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson in its team, and has been linked with a move for another U.S. international, Weston McKennie.

Hoffenheim brings USMNT’s John Brooks back to Bundesliga


SINSHEIM, Germany — Hoffenheim is bringing American defender John Brooks back to the Bundesliga from Portuguese club Benfica.

The 29-year-old Brooks signed a deal through June 2024, Hoffenheim said Thursday in a statement. Kicker magazine reported Hoffenheim paid 300,000 euros ($327,000) for the transfer.

“I’m delighted to be returning to the Bundesliga,” Brooks was quoted as saying. “I know both the league and TSG (Hoffenheim) very well, and am highly motivated to get started straightaway and do my bit to help us get back on the path to success in the short term.”

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Brooks made 216 Bundesliga appearances for Hertha Berlin and Wolfsburg from 2013-22. He came through Hertha’s youth system and made 29 second-division appearances as he helped the team clinch promotion in 2013. Brooks joined Wolfsburg in a record transfer for an American player in 2017.

Brooks only made five appearances after joining Benfica last September. He was unable to force his way back into contention for a spot on the United States’ World Cup squad. He was dropped by coach Gregg Berhalter after appearing in two of the first three qualifiers and has not been selected for the national team since.

Hoffenheim has been struggling lately and has not won any of its last seven games.

“Jay is a seasoned, tough-tackling and aerially strong defender who really needs no further introduction,” Hoffenheim sporting director Alexander Rosen said. “He should and will contribute to improving our defensive stability with his experience, his vision and his presence.”