U.S. Men's National Team: Jurgen Klinsmann's Contract Extension Already Paying Dividends

By Phil Naegely
Jurgen Klinsmann
Kirby Lee-USA Today Sports

With Jurgen Klinsmann‘s U.S. Men’s National Team contract set to expire after the 2014 World Cup, U.S. Soccer extended his contract through the 2018 World Cup last month. Overall, the December announcement drew mixed reactions with many saying the extension came at an unexpected time. While the timing might have been strange, it is now paying dividends. Klinsmann was not only planning for this year’s World Cup, but matches after 2014, with Friday’s January camp call-ups.

The roster is filled with all MLS players except one. In addition, there are a variety of newcomers to veteran USMNT-capped players. Of the newcomers, nine players have yet to be capped by the USMNT. In other words, they have yet to play in a USMNT match that wasn’t a friendly. For many of the nine, they this is their first call-up.

Additionally, some of these newcomers most likely will not be in competitive shape or solid option for the 2018 World Cup. As colleague Matthew Evans points outChicago Fire forward will be 33 in 2018 and thinks his call-up was wasteful. However, I’d like to offer a rebuttal to Evan’s points. As Evans clearly wrote, “While Mike Magee of the Chicago Fire and Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes are sure deserving of a look from Klinsmann, it just seems like that time has passed.” Personally, I do not think Magee’s time has passed. Last year, both LA Galaxy and the Fire finally played as a forward instead of the midfield and it paid off.

This USMNT call-up will give Magee a new experience and he will learn from his fellow Americans. The new experience and training with these teammates will get him shape for the 2014 MLS season. While it is a long shot Magee earns a spot on the USMNT roster come June, it is still possible and his current call-up looks past June. In 2015, the United States will be looking to repeat as Gold Cup champions. While Jozy AltidoreClint Dempsey and others could still be around, Magee will get his chance to shine.

Like Magee, Klinsmann’s call-ups of MLS defenders DeAndre Yedlin and Chris Klute caught my eye. Both are much younger than Magee at 20 and 23 years old, respectively. In 2013, Yedlin’s play quality improved and he shined with the Portland Timbers. On the other hand, Klute was one of the Colorado Rapids youngsters who helped the team exceed expectations.

With the long-term future in mind, these are three of nine players that earned their first USMNT call-up. U.S. Soccer’s decision to extend Klinsmann’s contract is already paying off. As some of the January call-ups have shown, he is planning for his time with the squad past this year’s world cup, and this shows that the future is bright for U.S. soccer.

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