NEW YORK — In front of capacity crowd of local, national and international media, Jurgen Klinsmann gave his first press conference as US men’s national team coach on Monday morning in Midtown Manhattan. But while the journalists gathered inside Niketown on East 57th Street for the press-only event, USMNT fans gathered outside to share opinions and catch a glimpse of the Yanks’ new head man.
One of those who spent Monday morning hoping for a glimpse of Klinsmann was Bryan Vega, vice president of the Brooklyn chapter of the American Outlaws.
Like many in the small crowd on hand, he sees qualities in Klinsman that prior US coaches lacked.
“I think it’s a good pickup and gets publicity and notoriety on the world stage, but I think Klinsmann has a bit more experience than Bob Bradley has,” Vega said. “When Landon Donovan comes with his experience from the World Cup, it’s tough for Bob to compare his playing experience, whereas Klinsmann can say, ‘Listen, I won a World Cup.’ So he’s going to command respect in a lot of ways.”
Another fan on hand, Danish-born Henrik Lonne, suggested that Klinsmann’s success might not be based on his performance alone.
“It’s a good choice, but I think that it’s important that the assistants are good,” Lonne said. “With Germany, he showed that Jochim Löw and the assistants were a big part of that success.
“But it’s good getting a new coach because the US team was getting a bit stale,” Lonne added. “It’s going to be good getting a guy who’s known for his ability to speak to the players and really motivate them so I think the potential is pretty high with Klinsmann.”
To longtime Sam’s Army member Erik Guzinski, the appointment of Klinsmann isn’t just about a new man at the helm of the men’s senior team.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Guzinski said. “In a way you could kind of see it coming when they let the U-17 coach go and then the U-20 coach. And now they’ve let Bob Bradley go, so it’s all led up to the idea of bringing in Klinsmann and letting him remake the entire program in his image.”
The prospect of a revamped — and winning — American men’s side is intriguing to Guzinski, but it’s the big picture that he’s interested in.
“It’s exciting, but more than results I want to see the program grow in stature," he said. "I think this guy may be the one to bring that prestige.”