Thursday, January 28, 2010

The German Influence

German football has had a significant influence on American soccer today, whether it be through “Soccer Made in Germany” (which PBS ran on TV here in the US from 1976 to 1988), watching Franz Beckenbauer play for the New York Cosmos, or the coaches that migrated here.

Greg Lalas gives a historical perspective of the German influence on the American game today

But perhaps the biggest influence Germans have had on U.S. soccer in recent years is in the coaching ranks. Lothar Osiander, a native of Munich, led the U.S. Olympic team at both the 1988 and 1992 games, not long after coaching the semi-pro San Francisco Greek-Americans to the U.S. Open Cup title in 1985. He also later coached the Los Angeles Galaxy and San Jose Clash.

Current Seattle Sounders coach Sigi Schmid was born in Tübingen before moving to the U.S. as a young boy. Former D.C. United coach Tommy Soehn’s parent immigrated from Germany (though his father has Romanian roots). And bringing things full circle, at least to an extent, it is little coincidence that Philadelphia Union’s inaugural coach, former Polish international Peter Nowak, spent the best years of his playing career in the German Bundesliga.

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