'Good luck with that, South Korea!' - Alexi Lalas reacts to ex-USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann's new job
- Klinsmann managed USMNT at 2014 World Cup
- Lalas wishes him well
- But admits legacy with Americans is complicated
WHAT HAPPENED? South Korea announced the hiring of Klinsmann on Monday, with the head coach expected to lead the nation through 2026 World Cup qualification. Klinsmann has not managed a team since his brief Hertha Berlin stint concluded in 2020.
WHAT THEY SAID: "Good for them, I wish Jurgen all the luck in the world as he takes over there," Lalas said on his State of the Union podcast. A lot of talent and a lot of expectations. Good luck with that South Korea! Should be fun. I just don't wish him well if he's playing against the U.S."
AND WHAT'S MORE: Lalas also analyzed Klinsmann's polarizing USMNT legacy, adding: "Jurgen holds this fascinating place in the psyche of American soccer folks. There's people who love him, there's people who don't. There's people who recognize he had moments and did some good things, and there's other people who say that he didn't do as much as he possibly could and he got in his own way at times, or the constant criticism of Jurgen is that he thinks big-picture, and maybe he's better suited to a general manager type of role or technical type of role."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Klinsmann controversially left USMNT legend Landon Donovan off the 2014 World Cup roster, however the Stars and Stripes still played well in Brazil, ultimately losing to Belgium in the knockouts despite Tim Howard's heroic goalkeeping performance. He was dismissed in 2016 as the USMNT struggled in qualification for the World Cup - a tournament they ultimately missed.
South Korea hope his vast experience as a player and coach will lift them to a successful run in the 2026 World Cup.
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WHAT NEXT FOR THE USMNT? The Stars and Stripes are in the middle of their own search for a new manager, but will continue to lean on interim coach Anthony Hudson until U.S. Soccer fills the vacant sporting director position.