Congratulations to Jürgen Klinsmann on his appointment as the U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach.
He is the 46th individual to lead the men’s national team into the competitive realm that is international soccer/football. His first match in charge, a 1 – 1 tie with Mexico played at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, brings to mind his predecessors and their first matches in charge.
Klinsmann is the 7th coach to debut against CONCACAF arch rival Mexico.
Only David Gould, coach of the 1934 World Cup team, opened with a victory, a 4 -2 World Cup qualifying match played in Rome featuring 4 goals by Aldo ‘Buff’ Donelli.
Donelli also scored the U.S. goal in its World Cup match against Italy as well, giving him a phenomenal strike rate of 2.5 goals per game for his two game international career!
John Kowalski is the only other coach to open his career with a tie against Mexico, 2 – 2, in a match played in Los Angeles in March of 1991.
Klinsmann will not want a repeat of Gould’s second match in charge, a 7 – 1 drubbing by eventual World Cup champion Italy nor, I suspect, the short two game career of Kowalski!
Four others opened their U.S. National Team coaching careers with ties:
• 9/15/1968: Phil Woosnam in a 3 – 3 tie against Israel in New York. Phil’s nine game career record was 4 wins, 4 losses, and 1 tie.
• 9/24/1976: Walt Chyzowych in a 1 – 1 World Cup Qualifier tie against Canada in Vancouver. Walt was the first National team coach to lead the team in more than nine matches. His final record was 8 – 14 – 10.
• 2/5/1986: Lothar Osiander in 0 – 0 tie against Canada in Miami. Lothar completed an 18-game career with a 4 – 9 – 5 record.
• 3/12/1991: As mentioned above, John Kowalski in a 2 – 2 tie against Mexico in Los Angeles. John’s other match in charge was a win, making him and Tom Cahill (1916) the only undefeated coaches in national team history, both with 1 – 0 – 1 records.
• 11/6/1998: Bruce Arena in a 0 – 0 tie against Australia in a match played in San Jose. Bruce coached the most matches in national team history and finished with a 71 – 30 – 29 record.
Klinsmann’s three immediate predecessors (Steve Sampson, Bruce Arena, and Bob Bradley) finished with winning records.
In addition to Cahill and Kowalski, the only others to have accomplished that feat were Nat Agar (1925-1926: 2 – 1 – 0), Gene Chyzowych (1973: 3 – 2 – 0), and Alkis Panagoulias (1983 – 1985: 6 – 5 – 7).
What will Klinsmann’s won-loss record be at his career’s end?
Only the future will tell that tale, but all U.S. fans hope that his selection will lead to unprecedented success.
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