Chicago | Former Germany player and coach Jurgen Klinsmann was fired Monday as coach of the United States after losing two 2018 World Cup qualifying matches.
The 52-year-old, who won the World Cup as a player with Germany in 1990, had been in charge of the US since 2011.
US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati announced the “difficult decision” without naming a replacement. The United States does not face another World Cup qualifier until March.
“While we remain confident that we have quality players to help us advance to Russia 2018, the form and growth of the team up to this point left us convinced that we need to go in a different direction,” Gulati said.
“With the next qualifying match in late March, we have several months to refocus the group and determine the best way forward to ensure a successful journey to qualify for our eighth consecutive World Cup.”
Klinsmann went 55-27 with 16 drawn in a coaching tenure that began on July 29, 2011, when Gulati named him to replace sacked Bob Bradley on a team where Bradley’s son Michael was a star midfielder.
“We want to thank Jurgen for his hard work and commitment during these last five years,” Gulati said. “He took pride in having the responsibility of steering the program and there were considerable achievements along the way.” Klinsmann guided the Americans on a team record 12-match win streak in 2013 and his 16 triumphs and .761 win percentage that year set US calendar-year records.
But the Americans were a disappointing fourth in the 2015 Gold Cup and also lost a playoff to Mexico for a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup.
Earlier this month, the US stumbled badly in opening the final round of North American (CONCACAF) qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, falling 2-1 at home to arch-rival Mexico and 4-0 at Costa Rica.
In a New York Times story published Monday, Klinsmann dismissed much of the criticism as “a lot of talk from people who don’t understand soccer or the team” while saying critics were “ignoring the facts” and “being disrespectful.”
Klinsmann has tinkered with lineups and formations but dismissed calls his moves hurt the squad, saying “we are coaching a team through a transitional phase.”