Considering the high-profile staff that Jurgen Klinsmann had in Germany, featuring Joachim Loew and Oliver Bierhoff to name a few, the new United States men’s head coach is expected to bring on well-respected names when deciding his staff.
Klinsmann might pick a Major League Soccer coach when naming his assistant. The coach wants someone who could help the players transition into a new style of coaching and give an inside perspective on the league. There is no rush for the 47-year-old manager and he said during his introductory press conference that he will take his time choosing.
With those parameters set, here is a look at the top five options for Klinsmann:
Sigi Schmid (Seattle Sounders): The German native definitely would be the high-profile name that Klinsmann is looking for and former U.S. national striker Taylor Twellman has said that the two coaches have a strong relationship. But there are still some concerns.
To start, why would Schmid leave the best-run club in MLS, plus a rather plush paycheck, to be an assistant anywhere? At 58 years old, even if he were promised to become Klinsmann’s successor, it’s not a sure thing that he would have the energy for the position in his 60s.
A scenario that would make this happen is if Schmid signs on in 2013 and works for a year. In that situation, the motivation would be having the opportunity to coach in the World Cup.
Jason Kreis (Real Salt Lake): While Kreis was passed over for the head coaching gig this time around, joining Klinsmann's staff would make the Real Salt Lake coach a front-runner for when the position opens again.
However, there are some issues that would make this a difficult option.
First, RSL isn’t going to allow Kreis to walk away easily. He turned around the Utah club from a cellar dweller to perennial MLS powerhouse. The club is likely going to want substantial compensation to allow him to leave.
Second, Kreis is likely going to want some sort of guarantee that he will be considered for the head coach position once Klinsmann steps away. With all of those factors in consideration, the next option is most likely the most realistic option for the U.S. national team.
Robin Fraser (Chivas USA): A young defensive-minded coach with a lot of potential, Fraser fits all of the necessary requirements that Klinsmann needs for the position.
The Chivas USA boss is a former U.S. national team player who has an understanding of MLS, having been a top player in the league and having worked as assistant in a successful regime in RSL. While his current club sits sixth in the Western Conference, Fraser has been praised for getting the most of a low-budget roster. U.S. international prospect Justin Braun is having a career year under Fraser, scoring seven goals and three assists.
At 44 years old, working under Klinsmann for a World Cup cycle could see the former defender lined up for much bigger opportunities when his contract is done.
Martin Vasquez (Real Salt Lake youth coach): Klinsmann’s former assistant in Bayern Munich, Vasquez is linked with the job due to the pair’s close relationship. Yet, the last time the two worked together they lost the locker room of the German powerhouse. Add that to Vasquez being fired by Chivas USA a year later, and the former Atlas midfielder might have difficulties gaining the respect of the team.
However, hiring Vasquez could have its advantages.
Vasquez continues to have strong ties to Mexico and Klinsmann has stressed in recent interviews that he would like to tap into the Latin American community to find talent. A former Mexico (and U.S.) international, Vasquez could be the bridge between the German and young Hispanic players.
The U.S. missed out on Miguel Angel Ponce, a player born in Sacramento, Calif., who could have solved the team’s left back issues, and Klinsmann will want to make sure that doesn’t continue.
Preki (Free agent): Yes, he wore out his welcome in Toronto but, prior to that stint, he was well regarded in MLS circles, winning the Coach of the Year award in 2007.
Out of a job currently, the only questions of availability center around Preki's loyalty to Bob Bradley, who hired him as an assistant at Chivas USA. But if he can move past that situation, Preki joining the team would reignite his career.
Other possibilities: Ruud Guilt, Juan Carlos Osorio, Joachim Loew (just kidding).
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