New United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann believes his adopted country have some way to go before they can challenge for World Cup glory.Klinsmann was a World Cup winner as a player with West Germany in 1990, before coaching the unified country to the semi-finals of the tournament on home soil in 2006.
After living in the US for 13 years, he succeeded Bob Bradley as head coach of the national team on Friday.
While the US women’s team narrowly failed to capture their third World Cup last month, the men’s side have never progressed beyond the quarter-finals.
And Klinsmann wisely refused to make any assurances about how the team would perform during his tenure.
Instead, the former Bayern Munich boss singled out youth development as the key to challenging the sport’s established heavyweights.
“It is really down to what comes through … the youth ranks over the next years in order to see if you can ever compete for a World Cup final,” Klinsmann said.
“I think we’re still quite a long way away from that, but it should be your goal, it should be your goal to be where the girls were a couple weeks ago in Frankfurt, but it all starts on the grassroots level.”
“It all starts down to develop the next Landon Donovan, and, you know, you need maybe ten Landon Donovans in different positions with different characteristics in order one day to be there.”
Klinsmann’s first match in charge is a friendly on August 10 against Mexico, who defeated the US 4-2 in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final on June 25.
“We have a game coming up next week against Mexico already in Philadelphia, so it’s a lot to do,” Klinsmann said.
“Basically, calling up the players now, getting a squad together and knowing it’s going to be not so easy since a lot of players had their breaks, some of them haven’t even played a game yet in the new season in Europe.”
“But that’s all just part of the job and I’m really excited about that opportunity on all kind of levels.”