Jurgen Klinsmann has appointed former Germany, Scotland and Nigeria head coach Berti Vogts as Special Advisor for the United States' men's national team, further altering the nation's backroom staff after dropping Martin Vasquez from his assistant role.
Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl revealed the news on Twitter:
USMNT assistant Martín Vásquez being reassigned within USSF. Berti Vogts hired as adviser, Tab Ramos working with senior team.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) March 30, 2014
Jurgen Klinsmann drops US assistant Martín Vásquez (his ex-No. 2 at Bayern) a bit more than 2 months before World Cup. Big news, odd timing.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) March 31, 2014
Klinsmann revealed his delight at linking up with Vogts once again, the manager he played under when Germany captured the Euro '96 championship, as reported by USsoccer.com:
We are absolutely thrilled to have Berti join us as an advisor. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, both as a player and a coach, and he knows what it takes to succeed at the highest level. He was my coach for Germany in the 1990s and we have a great relationship.
Through his time as the head coach of Scotland, Nigeria and Azerbaijan, he is obviously very familiar with our opponents in the group stage of the World Cup, and for us this is a huge bonus.
USA Under-20's overseer Tab Ramos has also been promoted to the senior coaching staff, while Martin Vasquez moves across toward other duties within the United States Soccer Federation. Klinsmann believes such change provides the nation "with the best opportunity to be successful," per USsoccer.com's report.
Is Berti Vogts a smart appointment for the USMNT?
Vogts' appointment could prove to be a real coup for the U.S., who have tied up another German legend until after the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The 67-year-old won the 1974 tournament with West Germany and totted up five Bundesliga titles with Borussia Monchengladbach during his playing days. UEFA Cup wins in '75 and '79 also sum up a successful career on the pitch.
Klinsmann has hired Vogts to scout opponents and develop training regimes in a key role for the U.S. Despite his Euro '96 success with Germany, Vogts' international tenures with Kuwait, Scotland, Nigeria and Azerbaijan have been riddled with frustration.
He will continue to serve as Azerbaijan manager even after agreeing to the U.S. role. Vogts' team have little action to look forward to across the summer after failing to qualify for the competition, ensuring his jobs won't clash.
The upcoming World Cup puts both Klinsmann and Vogts in the strange position of facing their country of birth while representing the U.S. Vogts is sure to have a detailed knowledge of happenings inside the German camp and may be able to call upon his experience with DFB to inspire a positive result for the USMNT.
Matthew Tomaszewicz of The Guardian outlined Vogts' recent experience against the country's World Cup opponents as a key to his appointment:
To those that missed, Vogts coached against both Portugal & Germany (twice) in this last cycle with Azerbaijan.— Matthew Tomaszewicz (@shinguardian) March 31, 2014
It seems everything has slotted into place for this deal to go ahead. Klinsmann and Vogts' previous relationship was a winning one, highlighting that they can work well together against difficult odds. Although the USA aren't expected to challenge for the trophy in Brazil, Vogts' scouting duties provide Klinsmann with the chance to focus on his players and strategy.
Both the U.S. team and staff can head into the World Cup with a fearless outlook in a group that includes Germany, Portugal and Ghana. These are tough matches that could yield little to shout about for the Americans, but with Klinsmann and Vogts leading the charge, there's enough experience here to challenge in each encounter.