Published: 23 November 2016 Wednesday, 08:25 AM
Bonn, Nov 22 (deutschenews24.de/dpa) -- German football legend Juergen Klinsmann has been sacked as head coach of the US national team, the national federation said Monday.
US Soccer officials had brought in Klinsmann in 2011 with high hopes that the 1990 World Cup champion could bring American football beyond regular World Cup qualification to true contention.
That dream ends, for now, with the men`s team in last place after the first two games of the 10-round CONCACAF regional qualifying, trailing Trinidad and Tobago on goal difference.
US Soccer had spent years wooing Klinsmann before he accepted the job in June 2011.
Sunil Gulati, president of Chicago-based US Soccer, said it was a "difficult decision" to oust Klinsmann as both men`s national team coach and the federation`s technical director, but said the team needed a "different direction."
Klinsmann was fired after the US team stumbled this month to start 2018 World Cup qualifying, losing 2-1 to archrival Mexico and 4-0 in Costa Rica, which he called his "worst defeat" at the helm for the United States.
Klinsmann dined Thursday night in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and visiting US President Barack Obama, who asked, "It didn`t go well down there in Costa Rica, did it?" Klinsman told The New York Times in an interview published Sunday.
"And I said, `Nope, Mr President - it didn`t go well at all.`"
Costa Rica humiliated the US team with three second-half goals.
US cable sport network ESPN cited sources that said US Soccer was in contract talks with LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena to return to the national team job, which he held from 1998-2006.
Klinsmann, who is married to an American and lives in Southern California, had 55 wins and 27 losses with 16 draws as US coach.
Gulati thanked Klinsman for "his hard work and commitment" since 2011.
"He took pride in having the responsibility of steering the programme, and there were considerable achievements along the way," Gulati said.
"Many are aware of the historic victories, including leading us out of the Group of Death to the Round of 16 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but there were also lesser publicized efforts behind the scenes."
Klinsmann "challenged everyone in the US Soccer community to think about things in new ways, and thanks to his efforts we have grown as an organization and expect there will be benefits from his work for years to come," Gulati said.
A former coach of the German national team and Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, he played for Stuttgart, Inter Milan, Monaco and Tottenham Hotspur and collected 108 caps in international play, including a key role in West Germany`s 1990 World Cup championship.
Klinsmann had faced mounting difficulties in his last two years as coach, starting with the disappointing 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where the host US was knocked out in a semifinal against lowly Jamaica and lost on penalty kicks to Panama in the third-place match.
Later last year, the US lost to Mexico in front of 93,000 fans at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, for a berth in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.