News came late Sunday afternoon that the USMNT is making coaching changes just ahead of the World Cup. Martin Vasquez has been dropped while Tab Ramos is added to the senior team coaching staff. World Cup winner and former German international Berti Vogts has been added as a special advisor to the USMNT. Given the history between Jurgen Klinsmann and Vasquez and the timing of the change, this is a major shake up ahead of the road to Brazil.
Vogts is the big addition as he was a former national team coach for Scotland, Nigeria and Azerbaijan. He was the German National Team coach in 1996, which was a team that featured Klinsmann. Vogts has a wealth of knowledge. According to the press release he will, “aid in the development of training plans, help prepare scouting reports, and travel to observe matches of the USA’s opponents in the lead-up to the tournament and in Brazil.”
Ramos moves from his duties as the Youth Technical Director and Under-20 National Team Coach to the senior team. Ramos replacing Vasquez may come as a surprise given that Klinsmann and Vasquez have a coaching connection that dates back to 2008 at Bayern Munich. Vasquez will be moved to other duties within the United States Soccer Federation. There have been some signs that Vasquez was on the way out.
It was reported a year ago by current NBC analyst Kyle Martino that the issues with the National Team were more about Vasquez than Klinsmann. Martino reported that Klinsmann is good with a tactical guy by his side and Vasquez has had trouble turning the powerful words of Klinsmann into actions on the field. Klinsmann has long been a coach that stressed fitness allowing his number two to control the tactics. If he and Vasquez had a rift it may be a good change that took place on Sunday.
There is not much time for Ramos and Vogts to take control of their new positions. Despite stated duties, it is clear they will work together to prepare the USMNT for the World Cup. With such a short time to figure out the tactics and only three days until the match with Mexico, it is an understatement to say the next two months are vital for the senior team.