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Direct from Arizona

Jurgen Klinsmann Discusses His U.S. Coaching Changes

Martin Vasquez is out. Berti Vogts is in. And American Soccer Now's Brian Sciaretta has all of the details from Arizona. Here's what Jurgen Klinsmann had to say about his staffing changes.
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
March 31, 2014
8:35 PM
PHOENIX—With the United States national team assembled in Arizona ahead of Wednesday’s friendly against Mexico, the team will see new a few new faces alongside head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

The U.S. Soccer Federation announced that former Germany head coach Berti Vogts would join the staff as a special advisor, while current U-20 coach Tab Ramos would also work with the full national team.

Meanwhile, assistant coach Martin Vasquez, who was heavily involved with the team’s tactical arrangement, would be reassigned within U.S. Soccer.

Vogts, 67, managed Germany from 1990-1998, during an era when the team did not advance past the quarterfinals at the World Cup. Despite those setbacks, Vogts presided over the Germany's triumph at the 1996 European Championships.

While serving as the U.S. team’s special advisor, Vogts will continue to hold his job as the head coach of Azerbaijan—which will face the United States in May at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

Klinsmann said on Monday that the decision to bring in Vogts was not made overnight, and that he has long felt highly of his predecessor as the head coach of Germany.

“I already for a longer stretch of time had that thought with Berti and I discussed it with Berti so that’s not a decision made overnight,” Klinsmann said. “It goes almost 10 years back because I wanted him as a technical director in Germany when I coached Germany toward the 2006 World Cup.”

While the decision to add Vogts was an addition for Klinsmann, the removal of Vasquez was a surprise since he had held a high level of responsibility within the team since Klinsmann was hired in August 2011. The relationship between Vasquez and Klinsmann precedes the U.S. national team. Vasquez also served as an assistant to Klinsmann at Bayern Munich from 2008-2009.

Klinsmann did not mince words on Monday and said that the decision to remove Vasquez was in the best interest of the team.

“With Martin it’s simply a professional shift,” Klinsmann explained. “I have to make decisions with my staff to put them in the best spots where I think they are the best in order to hopefully do well this summer in Brazil. And sometimes it’s a shift that doesn’t please everybody. This is part of the head coach’s role. You’re not there to please everybody, you are there to hopefully put people in the best positions to get the job done and the job is getting out of the group stage this summer.”

In two months the United States national team will begin its three-game send-off series in preparations for the 2014 World Cup, and its difficult draw in Group G. With this being the team’s last game before the opening of the World Cup camp, Klinsmann insisted that the change had to be made now.

“I’m not worried at all,” Klinsmann said when asked if it was too late to make a change. “There are moments it’s not about the time, it’s about doing what’s best for us as an entire group going forward. If it comes a half a year before, a year before, of two days before the first game, if you have to do something, you gotta to do it."

"And it’s my job.”

What are your thoughts on the coaching changes? Share your thoughts below.

Brian Sciaretta is an American Soccer Now columnist and an ASN 100 panelist. Follow him on Twitter.

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