Jürgen Klinsmannn, the new USA Men's National team coach, scored 106 goals in a single season when he was nine years old. Thrashing opponents is an instinct for the man. He prowled the waters of success across Europe in a distinguished playing career with the continent's top clubs. His speed and ferocity were too much for defenders. He could never be caught. Nets were for one thing only -- scoring.
Departing coach Bob Bradley, while good in many ways and an important trooper in American soccer's advance, often had the look of the meditating goldfish. By contrast, Klinsmann is a shark. Team USA needs to learn to rip and shred opponents, to be feared. Too often behind in games, relying on last minute heroics, playing as if international soccer was a dreamy aquarium in a dentist's office. Don't expect Klinsmann to be admiring the ambient. He knows quality teams prey on the weak. Team USA is about to get some jaws.
The former Bayern Munich and Germany coach, taking a young and talented German squad to the 2006 World Cup semi-finals, now faces the task of trawling the deep of American soccer to find a new species of player, one with the killer instinct. The systemic limitations of American soccer -- everything from collegiate invention to no ascendant "street" culture -- presents a formidable challenge. Klinsmann needs US Soccer to pursue an agenda that develops raptorial talent in the school of young players coming through.
Expectations are high on the wind. With arch-rival Mexico now streaking ahead on a wave of hungry young promise, Klinsmann's first order will be to catch up with the new boss in the region. Brazil 2014 is about to rise over the horizon. Klinsmann and the team have much swimming to do. Deeper into the World Cup is the target.
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