Klinsmann Demurs On Potential U.S. Job

By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 13, 2006

It all seems to make perfect sense for Juergen Klinsmann to become coach of the U.S. national soccer team.

Klinsmann resigned as Germany's coach yesterday after leading his native country to a third-place finish at the World Cup last weekend. He, his American wife Debbie and two children live full time in a beach town south of Los Angeles. He helped design Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., and works closely with Philip Anschutz, the Colorado billionaire who has made it his mission to ensure soccer succeeds in the United States.

Klinsmann, 41, speaks English fluently, served an unofficial coaching apprenticeship at a 2004 U.S. training camp, embraces American coaching philosophies and employed U.S. advisors during his two-year Germany reign.

Here's the catch: There is no job opening at the moment and, if there were, Klinsmann would not necessarily pursue it.

"I feel burned out," a teary-eyed Klinsmann said during a news conference in Germany, adding he plans to take a six-month vacation. "I have a great wish to be back with my family and my children. . . .

"There is absolutely no interest [in the U.S. job] on my side and no contact."

Joachim Loew, Klinsmann's top assistant, was named coach through the 2008 European Championship.

Meantime, Bruce Arena, who has guided the U.S. team for 7 1/2 years, will discuss his future today with U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati.

If Arena does not return, the USSF could take its time in finding a replacement -- and perhaps in persuading Klinsmann to accept an offer. Other than two possible fall friendlies, the national team does not have any important dates until a January training camp.

Arena, 54, has been approached by the New York Red Bulls about becoming their head coach, sources close to the MLS club and the league said. The Red Bulls recently fired Mo Johnston and replaced him with Richie Williams on an interim basis but contacted Arena following the U.S. team's World Cup campaign.

Arena, a native of New York who now lives in Fairfax, is mulling the offer, those sources said, and might decide by this weekend. Arena's agent, Richard Motzkin, did not return a phone message.

After the United States' first-round elimination in the World Cup, Arena said he was not sure whether he wanted to continue coaching the national team.

One possible scenario -- if he does not accept the New York job -- is for Arena to step down as national team coach but remain with the federation as a technical director overseeing player development.

Reached by e-mail yesterday, he said he had no comment on U.S. and Red Bulls matters.

New York is also believed to be interested in hiring Klinsmann for a front office or consulting job.

Gulati, elected to his new post in March, referred questions about Arena's status to the USSF communications office in Chicago.

"It's pretty simple at this point: We've said all along that [USSF officials] and Bruce are going to sit down and discuss what is best for the organization and what Bruce feels is best for himself," USSF spokesman Jim Moorhouse said.

Gulati said two weeks ago that he expected to reach a decision about Arena's future by mid-July.

Soccer Notes: Italy Coach Marcello Lippi resigned yesterday, three days after guiding the Azzurri to its fourth World Cup title.

Despite widespread calls for him to stay, Lippi suggested weeks ago that he would resign. He feels he and his son, Davide, were attacked personally in the corruption scandal that has tainted Italian soccer.

"I will continue to coach," Lippi said at a news conference without elaborating. . . .

Brazil remained No. 1 in FIFA's redesigned world soccer rankings, with World Cup champion Italy moving up to No. 2. The United States dropped from fifth to 16th.

Under the new ranking system, which changes the criteria for rating the world's top teams, Argentina moved into third place with France No. 4 and England No. 5.

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