Sunil Gulati: Jurgen Klinsmann was the man behind Germany's success

The U.S. Soccer president thinks it's a "little bit unfair" Klinsmann hasn't been given full credit for leading the German national team to the 2006 World Cup semifinals.
NEW YORK - Jurgen Klinsmann's success with the German national team over five years ago has often been put into question.

But while some believe his assistant Joachim Löw was the man behind changing Germany from a defensive team to a counterattacking squad and leading the nation to a third-place finish in the 2006 World Cup, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati doesn't think that's the case.

"I think some of that is a little bit unfair to Jurgen, frankly," Gulati said. "I think they had a partnership, which is what I think you're going to have with an important assistant coach. They divided up the responsibilies, but Jurgen was clearly in charge of that team."

Klinsmann is going to announce a temporary staff on the first day of camp on Wednesday. He will pick a different staff on a per trip basis and decide on a fulltime staff after an evaluation period. No names were mentioned during the coach's introductory press conference at Niketown.

"I think he'll have a strong staff," Gulati said. "He's talked about some people he's thinking about, but that's completely up to him."

As far as players, Klinsmann will have until next June before the team plays a meaningful match in World Cup qualifying play. His first look at the current roster will be next weekend when the players come together in preparation for the United States' friendly against Mexico on Aug. 10.

"He's going to see the players for the first time on Sunday or Monday with a game against Mexico on Wednesday. That's obviously not an ideal circumstance to be starting," Gulati said. "But we talked about that and decided that was the best way to go."

Playing against the country's biggest rival less than two weeks after being hired instantly puts the pressure on Klinsmann. However, Gulati is not setting a timetable for the new coach to completely turn the U.S. team around and become one of the most successful programs in the world.

"He's got some to time look at the players, to get to know the players abroad and the players here, and that's a good thing," Gulati said. "Qualifying is next June. So in terms of important competitions, that's obviously the critical bench mark."

Klinsmann turned down the position twice in five years, but he has been pleased with the way the youth program is headed under technical director Claudio Reyna and he is impressed by the improvement of Major League Soccer over the last decade. Over the last 24 hours, Klinsmann met with both Reyna and MLS commissioner Don Garber to discuss the future of U.S. soccer.

"We've been in the planning stages for a few things that we want to introduce as far the development program and other things," Gulati said.

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