News

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 National, World

Israel intensifies Gaza assault, Egyptians revise truce plan

A Palestinian firefighter reacts as he tries to put out a fire at Gaza's main power plant, which witnesses said was hit in Israeli shelling, in the central Gaza Strip July 29, 2014.

Israel knocked out Gaza's only power plant, while Egyptian mediators prepared a revised proposal for halting its war with Islamist militants in the enclave.

in Sports

Star sprinter Torrin Lawrence dies at 25

FILE - In this June 20, 2013 file photo, Torrin Lawrence reacts after his heat in the senior men's 400-meter dash at the U.S. Championships athletics meet in Des Moines, Iowa. Former University of Georgia 400-meter runner Torrin Lawrence died in a car accident early Monday, July 28, 2014 in Cordele, Ga. He was 25.

Celebrated track star Torrin Lawrence has been killed in a tragic road accident in Georgia.

in National

U.S. marshals, police wounded, fugitive dead in NYC gunfight

A New York Police Officer stands guard inside a cordoned area at the site of a shooting in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York on July 28, 2014.

Two U.S. marshals and a New York police detective were wounded and a fugitive wanted on sex abuse charges was killed in a shootout in Greenwich Village.

in National, World

U.S says Russia violated nuclear treaty, urges immediate talks

FOR USE AS DESIRED, YEAR END PHOTOS - FILE - President Barack Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, Monday, June 17, 2013. Obama and Putin discussed the ongoing conflict in Syria during their bilateral meeting.

In another sign of deteriorating relations, the U.S. government claims that Moscow has violated the Cold War treaty.

in National, World

Civilians killed in eastern Ukraine amid fierce fighting

Armed pro-Russian separatists stand guard on the suburbs of Shakhtarsk, Donetsk region on July 28, 2014.

Intense fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine kills at least 19 civilians.