Sunday, November 19, 2006

Next US coach Klinsmann or Pekerman?

The rumor mills have been in overdrive the last 24 hours concerning the next US men's coach. For so long the talk has been about Jurgen Klinsmann, but no talk has shifted to the south with Jose Pekerman's name taking center stage.

The rumor also claims that Colorado Rapids manager Fernando Clavijo will come on as Pekerman's top assistant. Clavijo has dismissed all talk as untrue saying, "Unfortunately, it's just a good rumor."

However, the source for this rumor seems to be US Soccer President Sunil Gulati, so there might just be something to it.

It appears Klinsmann lost out on the job due to salary demands and control of the US youth set-up. If I had to guess, I would think the youth setup was the bigger issue. Paying a little extra for a top quality coach is something they could budget, but overhauling their youth system is something that would run into a lot of internal resistance.

Pekerman is a good choice, but will not create the media splash a Klinsmann would have. Not that there needs to be a splash, but Pekerman's World Cup did come to an end against Klinsmann's Germany, so expect some comparisons there. Add to it that Argentina was winning the match till Pekerman made some strange substitutions that left his side overpowered by the Germans, and you've got an obvious angle for the news coverage.

That said, Pekerman has been strong on youth development, having won the U-20 youth Championship three times (1995,97, 2001).

If the rumors are true, we can expect an announcement during this week's CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup.

Another part of the rumor has US and Mexico playing a friendly in February.

One last thing, if this is all true, why is Gulati giving this scoop to a Mexican newspaper (La Opinion) (edit - I was wrong, La Opinion is based in LA. It is a Spanish speaking paper that other reports seemed to indicate was based in Mexico. Sorry about the error)? Makes me wonder if he is hoping to get some good press out of Spanish speaking papers to help influence the English press here in the US.



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