It’s not often that two speculative soccer stories align so perfectly, but in the case of the controversy surrounding both Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klinsmann, it seems that soccer fans have stumbled upon one of those rare moments.
Guardiola, the current coach at Bayern Munich, coming off back to back Bundesliga titles and some deep Champions League runs, has come into some hot water lately, as apparently his intense work ethic has worn out some of the Bayern players. While Manchester City, or at least the Premier League, seems to be the likely landing spot for Guardiola, ultimately fans are left to speculate on where he ends up next season, should he leave Bayern Munich.
In the case of Klinsmann, controversy has come to define his tenure as both USMNT coach and technical director. At first, it was Klinsmann turning U.S. Soccer on its head, in an attempt to play a more attractive, attacking style of soccer. Then, came the dominance of the United States winning the 2013 Gold Cup and advancing out of the proverbial “Group of Death” in the 2014 World Cup.
However, recently, with the fourth place finish in the 2015 Gold Cup, and the loss to Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup, controversy has found Klinsmann yet again, with many fans calling for him to be fired, or at least relinquish his role as head coach of the USMNT.
Recently, the anti-Klinsmann feelings have been resurrected by none other than American soccer legend Abby Wambach, who appeared on the Bill Simmons podcast prior to her final game as a professional. On the podcast, Simmons asked Wambach how she would fix the USMNT, to which she replied, “I would definitely fire Jurgen.”
Wambach went on to elaborate on her feelings, talking about the influx of foreign-born players to the team, egos in the locker room, and a lack of youth development. Clearly, the USWNT legend was not mincing words.
That leaves USMNT fans wondering, with Guardiola seemingly on his way out at Bayern, and Klinsmann on thin ice with the USMNT, why not bring Guardiola in to coach the Yanks?
For the USMNT, the reasons to bring in Guardiola are obvious. He’s won nearly every accolade at the club level of world soccer. He has a pedigree of playing and coaching at some of the world’s best clubs. He apparently loves New York City.
But even more so, he plays the brand of attacking soccer that USMNT fans have clamored for for so long. He brings a soccer resume that many know and respect in the American soccer communities. He speaks fluent Spanish and could connect with the Latino community. The reasons to bring in Guardiola are seemingly endless.
While Guardiola’s reasons for joining the USMNT staff are seemingly more difficult to pinpoint, they are not invisible. For a man who has accomplished everything at the club level, Guardiola has to feel some impressive performances at the international level could cement his legacy. Additionally, coaching the United States represents one of the greatest challenges in all of world soccer, and though the nation seems to be on the cusp of embracing the world’s game, we still remain a very immature soccer country.
If Guardiola could somehow harness the athletic ability contained within the American borders and translate that into success on the world’s stage, he would undoubtedly be considered the greatest soccer coach of all time. Few other nations on Earth present that kind of challenge.
USMNT fans know that the dream of Guardiola Guardiola coaching the national team is just that, a dream, but clearly the reasons for both parties to join forces exist. If Guardiola wants to realize the full potential of his already impressive resume, perhaps he should look outside the box at international management for the United States.