CARSON, Calif. – US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Tuesday that although he was flattered to be mentioned for a potential head coaching spot with Tottenham Hotspur last month, he had no interest in returning to his roots with the English Premier League club.
Klinsmann received a new four-year contract from U.S. Soccer on Dec. 12, just days before Tottenham sacked manager André Villas-Boas. Klinsmann spent the 1994-95 season with Tottenham, scoring 29 goals in all competitions and winning the respect of English press and Spurs faithful who assumed he was in the running for a return to White Hart Lane.
“I didn't give any consideration [to Tottenham],” Klinsmann said during Tuesday morning's first media availability of the national team's January camp at the StubHub Center. “I'm always thrilled when there are interests coming in from wherever, and it's nice, it means that people kind of see the type of work you're doing.
“But I'm committed to this federation and this program over the long run. I want to do well in Brazil. We had a good start the last two years, the qualifying window went well, but now we have to prove it in the biggest tournament you can be part of and in the biggest footballing nation in the world [in Brazil]. That's what I live for.”
USSF president Sunil Gulati also was aware of potential interest from Tottenham last month when he signed Klinsmann to the deal that will keep him with the organization through the 2018 World Cup. Gulati insisted at the time Klinsmann signed his new contract, however, that it was not a move made directly to deter Tottenham or any other club that might come calling.
"We are not oblivious to the fact Jurgen's success has attracted interest from outside the US,” Gulati said last month. "Therefore, there were pragmatic market considerations in offering him a new long-term contract. It's not specifically the Switzerland or Tottenham issues – but the desire to have a commitment from him, contractually, for a long time is vital."
Said Klinsmann on Tuesday: “Whatever came in from Europe over the last couple months, it's nice, and I have certainly very special connections to a lot of teams over there. But I really enjoy this work right now with U.S. Soccer.”
Klinsmann’s new deal adds a newly created technical director title to his duties, and he said it means “a little more workload in terms of coordinating” with Under-20 coach Tab Ramos, Under-18 coach Javier Perez, Under-17 coach Richie Williams and Dave Chesler, U.S. Soccer's director of coaching development.
“[We'll work to] lay out all the groundwork that we want to develop over the next couple of years,” Klinsmann said. “It's a part that I really enjoy, and it's in the long-term for the benefit of the organization and the sport here in the United States. Hopefully, we can get to another level in all age groups, so it's exciting.
“Right now, obviously, highest priority has the senior team, because we're preparing for Brazil, but at the same time – I did it in the past already – I invite always Tab and Javier and Richie to our camps, stay with us, then we have time to discuss things that go on in there, and we want to help all age levels get better.”
Williams plans to observe some portion of the January camp, a U.S. Soccer spokesman said, but it was uncertain if Ramos or Perez will attend.