Even before the start of the 2014 World Cup, United States national soccer team coach Jurgen Klinsmann has proven enough to earn a four-year contract extension to remain on board through 2018.
The U.S. Soccer Federation announced the deal on the organization's official site, as well as the news that Klinsmann also becomes Technical Director for U.S. Soccer.
The 49-year-old coach had this to say about his future:
I am very fortunate to continue the work we started more than two and half years ago. It’s exciting to see the progress we have made, and we continue to make improvements on all fronts. The role of Technical Director is a huge challenge and also a huge opportunity as we look to keep connecting the dots to the Youth National Teams, Coaching Education, the Development Academy and the grassroots efforts in this country. These are fascinating topics and I am excited (to) work with so many talented people and hear fresh ideas. For sure it means more work, but also many more fulfilling opportunities.
Klinsmann joined the squad in 2011 after previously managing the German national team and world football powerhouse Bayern Munich of the Bundesliga. Since then, he has accumulated a 27-10-7 record that included a national-record 12-game winning streak.
Over the past year, he has led the United States to a win at the CONCACAF Gold Cup along with a first-place finish in World Cup qualifying in the CONCACAF Hexagonal. The team will end 2013 at No. 14 in the FIFA World Rankings.
Of course, the real challenge starts here, as he will try to help the team make a deep run at next summer's World Cup. Team USA was drawn into a difficult group with Ghana, Portugal and Germany. It reached the Round of 16 in 2010, but this will be a tough goal to replicate.
However, Steven Goff of the Washington Post points out that the extension gives a vote of confidence regardless of performance in Brazil:
This new contract provides the national team with continuity going forward, and it relieves pressure on Klinsmann and his squad heading into the biggest tournament in the sport.
The federation will definitely hope that this leads to more success on the international stage going forward.
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