Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid lauded the appointment of good friend and Jürgen Klinsmann to the US national team job on Friday. In comments after the announcement, Schmid pledged to support the German icon.
“I think it’s good for US Soccer,” Schmid said. “I know that Jürgen is a guy that they’ve been talking to off and on over the number of years right after Bruce Arena left and Jürgen left Germany. I knew it was a possibility then. Obviously, in the interim time, they’ve been able to work out whatever issues or differences there were. Now we all have to support the new national team coach and see that our program continues to move forward.”
Schmid and Klinsmann know each other well, having become acquainted while Schmid was the head coach of the LA Galaxy. After Klinsmann moved to Southern California following the conclusion of his playing career, Schmid helped the German legend obtain his coaching license in 2004 by bringing him into the fold with the Galaxy for a few months.
The friendship continues to this day. Klinsmann was Schmid’s guest at a Sounders FC match last August as the new national team coach vacationed in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. As someone with a vast knowledge of the American soccer infrastructure, Schmid should be one of Klinsmann’s first calls for advice as he begins to assemble a staff. (Interestingly, the Los Angeles-raised Schmid was born in Tübingen in southwest Germany, less than an hour from the town of Göppingen, where Klinsmann grew up.)
One of the biggest criticisms of a foreign national team is always a lack of familiarity with the local infrastructure. Schmid doesn’t believe that criticism fits Klinsmann, who has maintained a home in Southern California for the better part of a decade.
“I think what’s important about it is that they hired someone who’s been in America for a while,” Schmid said. “Jürgen has been living in America now for close to 10 years. His son is involved in the US club structure in youth soccer, so he knows what that’s all about. Part of his coaching license he did by working with the Galaxy for three months when I was there.
“He’s been around the Galaxy and the pro game in MLS and the national team. Even though he is a highly known international soccer person, he’s also a person who has been around the block in the US and he has an idea about what US Soccer is all about. I don’t think other guys would have that idea.”
Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinnerMLS