Jurgen Klinsmann's first victory in the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign on Friday came just days after reports suggested that his job hinged on securing maximum points against both St. Vincent & The Grenadines and at Trinidad & Tobago this Tuesday.
But just hours before the 6-1 victory over St. Vincent & The Grenadines in St. Louis, US Soccer president Sunil Gulati told media members that while there was concern about the USMNT's recent form – Gulati called it "the hardest period since Jurgen has been coach" – Klinsmann’s position did not depend on any specific results.
"I don’t know if we have ever given any coach of our teams a specific metric and specific result and said, ‘If this happens, everything’s good. If this happens, it’s not,’ Gulati said.
“We have certain targets and goals that are different for each of our teams, but I am not sure it would be appropriate to have a specific metric for a game or two games. But it’s pretty well understood qualifying for the World Cup is the specific target and many of our agreements with coaches, not just in the senior team, there are clauses in terms of continued employment if X, Y or Z doesn’t happen, in terms of our desire to make a change. But we didn’t get into specific ‘We need to win these two games’ or ‘We need to beat St. Vincent by this amount of goals.’”
Washington Post soccer writer Steve Goff was among the media members present at the roundtable and provided a recap of the topics discussed, including the revelation of a two-hour meeting between USSF officials and Klinsmann that took place in Washington, D.C. on October 26, details of which Gulati did not share.
But he did stop short of guaranteeing Klinsmann's job through the end of the 2018 World Cup cycle.
“I don’t know anyone who would say, ‘No matter what happens, this is what we are going to do.’ That would be silly. We expect to qualify, we expect Jurgen to be the coach, but I don’t think anyone can honestly say, ‘Regardless of what happens, this is what we’re going to do.’ It’s unrealistic.”
When it comes to the upcoming FIFA presidential elections on February 2016, Gulati indicated that he’s in the process of meeting with all five FIFA-approved candidates before determining which individual will earn the backing of the US Soccer Federation.
“At this point, we haven’t made any public declaration of what we’re going to do,” Gulati said. “As we did the last time, we will meet with all of the candidates. The last go-around, we nominated Prince Ali [Jordan soccer federation president], but we met with all of the candidates. And we’ll do that again. I’ve met with some of them already. Some of them I’ve known going into that process.”