The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


June 19, 2014

Klinsmann's outlook changed in California


Even while coaching Germany's national team from 2004 through the 2006 World Cup, Klinsmann commuted nine time zones to work. He did relocate for 1 1/2 years while coaching Bayern Munich from 2008 to 2009.

During the 2006 World Cup, media crowded into his family's bakery to ask questions of his relatives. That's not the existence Klinsmann wanted.

"If he would live in Germany, he would not have the same privacy like he has here in the States, and I think it's very important for him to have, let's say, a normal life with his family," said U.S. assistant coach Andi Herzog.

In the U.S., Klinsmann is looked at as a German by some. In Germany, he's viewed as an American. As a player, he drove a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle convertible with a sticker of Snoopy in a rowboat with the words: "Ist es noch weit bis Amerika? (Is it much farther to America?)"

"He's more American than a German," said Berti Vogts, former coach of Die Mannschaft and now a U.S. team special adviser. "Jurgen is always positive. That's an American way of life."

At Bayern, Klinsmann was criticized by team president Uli Hoeness for purchasing computers to develop PowerPoint presentations. He brought in an Arizona company to modernize conditioning. He hired non-German assistants and appointed Dutch midfielder Mark van Bommel as Bayern's first non-German captain. Former U.S. coach Bruce Arena called him "a modern thinker ... not willing to accept what's been done in the past."

Sitting outside the U.S. locker room at Stanford, California, on a crystal-clear afternoon last month, Klinsmann thought back to his playing stints outside Germany with Inter Milan (1984-89), AS Monaco (1992-94), Tottenham (1994-95 and 1997-98) and Sampdoria (1997). His ears and eyes opened as he learned the cultural difference.

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