Klinsmann to U.S. soccer: Forget future and win now

Klinsmann to U.S. soccer: Forget future and win now

GAME ON: The U.S. national head coach Juergen Klinsmann knows better than most the enormous potential of the U.S. but for him, the future will have to wait. Photo: Associated Press

By Neil Maidment

SALVADOR Brazil (Reuters) – The future of soccer in the United States has never seemed brighter.

Like the rest of the planet, the land of the free has been swept up in the excitement of the World Cup, with millions of people glued to their television sets watching the events unfold in Brazil.

The enthusiasm for Team USA – one of the tournament’s supposed underdogs – has been infectious with President Barack Obama leading a nationwide cheer squad that includes America’s biggest sports stars and celebrities.

PHOTOS: U.S. loses to Germany, advances to ‘knockout’ roundU.S. tops Ghana in opening World Cup game | U.S., Portugal ends in draw | Americans love soccer 

The World Cup remains one of the few final frontiers that no U.S. team has ever conquered but if the surge of American children who have made soccer their first-choice sport is any indication, it may only be a matter for time.

The U.S. national head coach Juergen Klinsmann knows better than most the enormous potential of the U.S. but for him, the future will have to wait.

“We are not thinking at all about the future right now, we are thinking about the present and we want to go far,” he told a news conference on Monday, the eve of his team’s second round clash with Belgium.

“The more experienced players like Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, DaMarcus Beasley, Jermaine Jones, this is the moment, you have to squeeze everything out of yourself.

“Right now it is all about Brazil, this World Cup.”

The U.S. were rated as longshots to win the title after being drawn in a difficult group with Germany, Portugal and Ghana, but defied the odds to finish runners-up to Germany and reach the last 16.

SAY WHAT? Learn to speak soccer

The road ahead is no easier with Belgium favored to end America’s run as early as Tuesday but Klinsmann, a World Cup winner with Germany in 1990, has instilled his players with the belief that now is their moment.

“We made it out of a difficult group and now every game is 50/50,” he said.

“We need to be spot on, right now, give everything we have. I am confident that if every player gets to his limits tomorrow we will have a positive outcome.

EXTRA: Klinsmann to soccer fans: Take the day off |  Everyone is watching the World Cup | World Cup breaks Facebook record, sets Twitter on fire

“We started a process there years ago, we see a lot of things developing on many fronts, but you know you get judged by how good the outcome is in the World Cup.”

Despite sticking to his mantra of living for the moment, Klinsmann has more than a vested interest in the future of American soccer and knows the longterm value of a strong showing by his team in Brazil.

In addition to being the head coach of the national team, he is also the technical director for U.S. Soccer, helping oversee the development of youth teams. His teenage son Jonathan is a member of the national under 18s squad.

Thousands of Americans have traveled to Brazil to watch the World Cup and Klinsmann said the support had given his players an added sense of duty to keep going.

“You see where the game is going in the United States, you can’t stop it anymore, the league is doing a great job, millions of kids playing soccer throughout the country, it is going to another level,” he said.

“And the locomotive for all of this development is always the national team, in every country, so we want to do well. We want to inspire them and give them enthusiasm and belief.”

(editing by Justin Palmer)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

HOLIDAY TV: What to watch this week


This week is packed with programs to get you in the holiday spirit.

in Entertainment

Bono, Clooney, Kardashian part of all-star campaign for AIDS

FILE - In this March 2, 2014 file photo, Bono arrives at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. A New York City doctor says U2 singer Bono suffered multiple fractures and had to have two surgeries after his weekend bicycle accident. Orthopedic trauma surgeon Dr. Dean Lorich says Bono underwent a five-hour surgery on his elbow in which three plates and 18 screws were inserted on Sunday night. Bono had another surgery to repair a fracture to his left pinkie on Monday. Lorich says Bono will need therapy but a full recovery is expected.

Bono is a launching an all-star campaign featuring "once-in-a-lifetime experiences" like walking the red carpet with Meryl Streep or visiting the "Game of Thrones" set.

in Entertainment

WHAT’S ON: New on Netflix, Amazon & Hulu in December


Get your remotes ready for a new round of binge-worthy movies and TV.

in Music

Joey Feek holds out hope of beating cancer


The country singer was diagnosed with cervical cancer last year and she was admitted to a hospice earlier this month to be cared for during her final days.

in Entertainment

Ice-T and Coco welcome daughter Chanel Nicole


Rapper and "Law & Order" star Ice-T and wife Nicole 'Coco' Austin welcomed their first child together on Saturday.