Thursday, September 1, 2011

Klinsmann and Vasquez team together again

US manager Jurgen Klinsmann describes his relationship with assistant Martin Vasquez with Jeff Carlisle of

One area where Klinsmann has moved quickly is in naming Martin Vasquez as his No. 1 assistant coach. The U.S. manager had previously indicated that he would audition guest assistants whenever the team got together as a means of filling out the spots on his staff. But given that the two worked together when Klinsmann was manager of Bayern Munich, Vasquez's arrival is hardly a surprise.

Granted, that experience did not end positively, with Klinsmann and Vasquez both being fired late in the 2008-09 Bundesliga season, though Bayern was only three points out of first place. Vasquez's disastrous stint as manager of Chivas USA last year, when the Goats finished with the second-worst record in MLS, will raise concerns that Klinsmann isn't adding the kind of tactical knowledge that Joachim Low provided to Klinsmann when the latter managed Germany.

Yet Vasquez does have some shinier entries in his résumé. He was widely lauded for his work as an assistant with Chivas USA under both Bob Bradley and Preki. Vasquez's high-level contacts in Mexican soccer could prove critical as well, given the increasing number of Mexican-Americans playing south of the border.

"He has a tremendous knowledge about coaching teams on the field, the work on the field," Klinsmann said. "I had him at my side with Bayern Munich and he did a tremendous, good job. Obviously for the Germans, it was something very unusual. They didn't like it. They didn't like the American fitness coaches I brought in, sports psychologists I brought in with the national team program, so [the media] didn't like having a Mexican-American assistant coach at Bayern Munich. The people itself had no issues with that. He did a great job and everyone afterward was very thankful to him of the work he did. The media saw it a little bit different. But he is a 24/7 worker, and all he wants is to help players, in all aspects of it."

But what might be even more important than Vasquez's hiring is filling the vacancies for the Olympic and U-20 national team head-coaching jobs. Klinsmann indicated that neither he nor Vasquez will take on these roles. They are highly important, full-time jobs, and Klinsmann will be focused on World Cup qualifying, which will have started when the Olympics take place in July.

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