Top Stories

Klinsmann shakes up USMNT coaching staff for World Cup run

Jurgen Klinsmann


Jurgen Klinsmann is bringing in some help for the upcoming World Cup and moving a long-time assistant out of the fold.

Berti Vogts will join the U.S. Men’s National Team as a special adviser and Under-20 men’s coach Tab Ramos will replace assistant coach Martin Vasquez, who will transition “to other responsibilities within U.S. Soccer,” the federation announced Sunday.

Vogts, a former defender for the German national team that won the World Cup in 1974, has extensive international experience. He coached Germany for eight years beginning in 1990, followed by Kuwait, Scotland and Nigeria. He is currently manager of the Azerbaijan national team, a role he will continue while assisting Klinsmann through the 2014 World Cup.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have Berti join us as an adviser,” Klinsmann said in a statement. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, both as a player and a coach, and he knows what it takes to succeed at the highest level. He was my coach for Germany in the 1990s and we have a great relationship. Through his time as the head coach of Scotland, Nigeria and Azerbaijan, he is obviously very familiar with our opponents in the group stage of the World Cup and, for us, this is a huge bonus.”

In the adviser role, Vogts 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,” according to U.S. Soccer.

Ramos has led the U-20 team since 2011 and last year took on the responsibilities of youth technical director, as well. He has 81 caps for the USMNT.

Vasquez has worked with Klinsmann since the German took over as USMNT coach in August 2011 and before that served as Klinsmann’s assistant at Bayern Munich until Klinsmann was dismissed in 2009. Vasquez was head coach of Chivas USA for one season in 2010.

“As we move toward the World Cup,” Klinsmann said, “we are shifting some responsibilities within the technical staff that we believe will put individuals in areas of strength and provide us with the best opportunity to be successful.”


What do you think of this shake up? Is it a good thing Klinsmann is changing up his coaching staff now? Do you like that he looking for outside help? Think Vogts and Ramos will help?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The word on the street is that Vasquez would not stop trying to get JK to bring back JJonathan Bornstein as a dark horse defender. JK had heard that enough and made a change.

    If you ask me where I heard that… I know nothing!…nothing!

  2. OMG Martin Vasquez gone. This is the best news ever. I have often wondered how much he had to do with bad formations, poor player selection and in general, being constantly attached to JK on the bench. Guess we’ll find out

  3. I guess Vogts is being brought on for tactics against Germany and Portugal. Is he a step up from Vasquez? Yes. Is he someone to get excited over? Doubt it. Though, if he gives insight on how to defend like he did in his playing days, then I welcome him.

    • This is actually the only thing that kind of makes some sense. Vogts was an excellent defender, one of the best in the world in the early and mid 70s, an important part of the the best defense of that time. If he’s brought in for his defensive expertise, this move might make a bit of sense.

  4. I’ve wanted Martín out and a stronger #2 got a long time. But, with Vogts, it’s looking like a case of “The Grass Isn’t Always Greener.” Ramos may step up. I’m still putting my faith in Landon “Coach on the Field” Donovan. USA!

  5. I don’t understand all those who applaud the moves. I don’t have a problem with Vasquez being replaced by Ramos (although while I loved Ramos as a player, he’s done very little to impress as a coach), but bringing in a “special adviser” who happens to be a coach of another national team at the same time?? Weird. This has panic mode written all over. When was the last time you heard of a successful coaching shake-up so late in the cycle?

    And what special knowledge of Germany and Portugal Vogts possesses that, especially in our age of internet and satellites and scouts, others do not have? The current US coaching staff can’t find tapes of games played by Germany and Portugal? Sort of like the statement that Vasquez was there for his knowledge of CONCACAF opponents. I guess there is no one else in the US who knows anything about teams we’ve been playing for years.

    Why don’t we bring in Bob Bradley as another special adviser for his knowledge of Ghana?

    I wonder how much money is being wasted.

    • You honestly see every single thing that happens as something bad that Klinsmann has done wrong. It’s incredible.

      I mean you are a textbook definition of a concern troll. Anything that happens is terrible. Klinsmann is bad. Blah. Blah. Blah.

      • You offer no constructive response to what he said….and frankly what he wrote has real merit…..too many people jumping on the bandwagon knowing nothing about Vogts at all….his coaching career has been less than staller…..and that’s a fact and there is a reaon he has coached the sort of teams he has…….

    • Well, actually, Bunker Bob Bradley probably would have some valuable advice Klinsmann on defensive tactics for Brazil. I wonder if there is contact between the two, or maybe messages passed from a certain midfielder.

      As for Vogts, I really have no idea at this point what he brings to the table and am waiting for the pundits to explain it. I just did a little reading on him. He was the last Germany coach to win a title, the European Cup, but was generally thought to be failure because of poor showings, at least for Germany, in two World Cups. He’s been fired several times for bad results and has coached Azerbaijan for six years. All that said, seeing Berti Vogts in a USMNT training camp will be a sight and most likely will be able to give a bit of insight into beating Germany, assuming that his heart is open to the task.

      • I’m hoping hes being brought in to work with the defense and not a lot more. He has played at a high level and maybe could do that. His record, from what I’ve read, is not impressive

    • For starters, there is a significant difference between watching a game… a player, off the ball movement, formations, runs etc. live vs on the internet, on TV or on tape. The fact that any team of any significance spends the money they do to send scouts scouring the globe is a pretty good indicator of this. Saying anyone with an internet connection can duplicate the years of experience, connections and involvement in German/European soccer as a player and coach is kind of ridiculous, but I know you know this/ were making nonsense exaggerations to make a point. Right?

      • Klinsmann has “years of experience, connections and involvement in German/European soccer as a player and coach”.

        Bruce Arena-led US team outplayed Germany in the WC-02 quarterfinal, in the best game the US national team has ever played. Bob Bradley took the US to the final of the Confederations Cup and the second round of WC-10. All without any special advisers.

        Normally, teams send experts to scout their future opponents, which I’m sure the US does as well. I’ve never heard of appointing a special adviser just before the World Cup. Coupled with the other change, it hints at some kind of a problem.

      • Mr.M.

        “Bruce Arena-led US team outplayed Germany in the WC-02 quarterfinal, in the best game the US national team has ever played. “

        The US lost that game.

        “Bob Bradley took the US to the final of the Confederations Cup and the second round of WC-10. All without any special advisers.”

        BB lost that final blowing a 2-0 lead and lost a winnable game to Ghana. And he also lost the US fans. Most of you wanted his head on a pike after the 2010 World Cup.

        The special advisor thing is a matter of style. You guys are all concerned about style over substance.

        I don’t care if he hires Kate Upton and Olivia Wilde as special advisors as long as he gets out of the group and wins the next game.

  6. Let’s take a trip back to Y2K.

    Place: Leverkusen

    Remember when Landon Donovan couldn’t “adapt to German culture”?

    Remember who held the reins at Leverkusen at the time?


    This is a mind game of the highest degree for Donovan, and for the Mexican-American contingent shepherded by Vasquez since 2011.

    • Ah yes, Vogts was the man who “shepherded” Landon Donovan’s career at Leverkusen. I am sure that Donovan will have plenty of great memories to share… 🙂

  7. Well Expat, I guess this is the answer to your question about assistants for JK.

    Vogts and Ramos are the equivalent of JK’s version of defensive and offensive coordinators respectively

    And of course as has been pointed out Vasquez was there for his knowledge of the CONCACAF opponents and Vogts just played Germany and Portugal in qualifying.

  8. I really liked Ramos’s moves for the U20 World Cup Qualifying. He recruited a number of Mexican based Americans that had very good technical ability instead of the usual turnover artists. Our U20 actually had more possession against Mexico in Mexico for the final. If the team had another day rest and didn’t have to send some players back to their club teams, we could have won the game. During the under 20 World Cup, Ramos made some questionable moves, like not playing Walter Zimmerman and limiting Daniel Cuevas’s playing time. Not sure why he did that but hopefully he will do a decent job under Klinnsmann during the World Cup.

  9. Getting rid of Vasquez was smart. He has not added anything to Klinsmann’s staff at Bayern or the last couple years for the USMNT.

    The big thing I take from this is Klinsmann is very aware about his lack of tactical knowledge. Great man manager and motivator, but clearly he needs a Jogi Low-type tactician to run the team on the field.

  10. I’ve come around to loving how JK operates.

    Totally open to outside ideas, mining all possible avenues for the best advice.

    Never satisfied. Nothing’s sacred. Bring on anything that can help us win.

  11. Something doesn’t seem right. Why replace the coach in charge of strategy with somebody that doesn’t know the players a couple of months before the WC.
    This looks like a PR move.

  12. Makes perfect sense, Vazquez was in to help thru qualifying given his superior knowledge of concacaf teams especially Mexico. Now we need assistants who know the Europeans teams we are going to face in the group stage who better than to have a former German national team coach whose Azerbijian team kept CR7 from scoring a goal in two games against Portugal. Vazquez is a good coach and severed his purpose in helping Klinsmanns advance his learning curve on concacaf teams and competition.

    • Agree on Vogts on knowledge on EU teams, but as coach of Azerbijian he had the football-savy defenders to stop CR… and the USMNT has Evans, Parkhurst, Yedlin… and if CR cuts inside we have Gonzo, Goodson… this aint gonna cu it, we know.

  13. Tactically and strategically, I always felt Vasquez was out of his league in international soccer and the USMNT. Vogts on the other hand has an excellent pedigree,and should provide a valuble pool of knowlwedge in formulating the US defense against Germany at the WC. All in all a re-assuring move by Klinsmann

  14. I’m sure we will get some better details here soon so I will reserve judgement, other than to say I don’t love how this reads at all, at least not initially. The extremely vague language in the statement, along with the strange Sunday night release timing and lack of comentary from Vasquez suggests this was not a planned transition at all. It reads like a hastily done PR job after an unexpected bust-up. Again we shall see, but this was a bit alarming at first read

    I don’t really mind them replacing Vazquez. The consensus view as I understood it was that Vasquez was reponsible for tactics (I don’t know how this actually plays out a the nuts-and-bolts level). I can’t say he’d every done anything to truly distinguish himself from this angle. Probably he is replaceable, although it’s not clear who will be doing the “tactics” now– it is commonly suggested that JK is not strong here, but I don’t know that Vogts is supposed to replace this to some degree, partial or othwrise. But I’d like to know what happened here, because it feels stranger than just “Vogts became available”

    Regardless, would this be a good time to throw out some Julian Green related theories? Of course it would, and as it happensI heard from a good buddy that Vasquez is actually Slowleftarm, who finally blew his top at JK’s dilution of our national identity and sold our (his) game-plan and tactics for the WC to the Germans. Word is they purchased it, took one look, and stored it away in Jens Lehmann’s sock for future generations to giggle about.

      • of course, by “Germans and other foreigners”, you mean “Americans”.

        and from the article:
        “[Rongen] added that he was a firm believer in the notion that the United States must develop top-level players of its own more consistently, but said that this country was still not ready to do so and that it made perfect sense to look elsewhere.

        “In a recent interview, [Boyd] said it was his dream to play for the United States rather than for the German national team. ‘For me, the U.S.A. is the greatest country,’ he said. ‘In soccer, it’s not the biggest, but in general, I just love it. I just want to help the States and I want to be part of it all.’

        Rongen again: “I look them in the eyes and I talk about values,” he said. “I talk about being proud of representing this country. It’s what America is all about. It’s a melting pot, anyway.”

        so…calling in american players who have developed in better systems (while observing that the end goal is to improve our own development)…fulfilling players’ dreams of representing our ‘greatest country’…ensuring that we’re instilling and upholding american values, including multiculturalism…

        it just makes you sick, doesn’t it?

      • and this is kind of out of left field, but about the argument from before (re: misrepresenting green’s minutes at bayern):

        after re-reading, i now realize that i was taking your joking comment too literally, and that was dumb. my bad.

    • While I agree with many points, a 2014 look at how things have unfolded seems to suggest this was planned. Green gets call up. Green switches affiliation. Azerbaijan friendly announced. Vogts brought in. If Klinsi is motivator and attack-minded, Vogts can bridge gap with defense. Timing better now than May 13 or June 2.

  15. Well, don’t think anyone can deny that removing Martin Vasquez is the right move. But that leaves the question of Klinsmann’s judgment, why he hired him in the first place. As for Berti Vogts, I wonder had badly Vogts wants to see Jogi Low and Germany flop in WC 2014, because I think that is what’s going happen, with Portugal and the USMNT surviving the Group of Death. This is gonna be interesting.

    • Vasquez and Klinsmann have worked together for nearly a decade. Rumor is he’s actually being moved to take over a youth team and do what Klinsmann wants.

      • That could be, but the timing right before the world cup would indicate that Klinsmann might not have full faith in him, wants someone else sitting beside him in Brazil.

      • sometimes things just happen when they happen. and bringing in vogts for the tournament is smart. klinsmann is a motivator, but he’s not a master tactician. vogts is. it was just like during his Germany run. he had Loew do the tactics while he was the cheerleader. this is a good move.

      • I actually called for an international “D” Coach a year and half ago when it was clear that Jurgen’s efforts to completely overhaul of USMNT’s defense was a disaster.. as pointed out, JK is great motivator, he knows offense but don’t know defense.

        I suggested that the US needed to hire an Italian to just build the back line… from coaches to players, there is nobody better than Italians when it comes to defending… Ferrara, Maldini, Cannavaro and Nesta were available for a “Defensive” coordinator gig.

      • We wouldn’t need any coaching if we had defenders like Ferrara, Maldini, Cannavaro, and Nesta. The problem isn’t the coaching, it’s that Bocanegra and Gooch are too old and Besler is too inexperienced and Gonzalez too inconsistent. I don’t think even an Italian defensive specialist could improve things much with the players we have.

      • User222,

        I’m pretty sure JK and Vogts between them understand Italian football very well.
        Vogts and Tab almost seem like offensive and defensive coordinators but that is not really accurate. The trouble with that logic is the team is not separated into offensive and defensive units like they do in the NFL. So if you want the USMNT to defend like for example, the great Milan teams, then all eleven players are part of that and that obviously influences both how you can attack and defend.
        And the US doesn’t yet have the players to play like Milan did.
        Liverpool’s defense, for example, are rarely tested when they are attacking. Maybe they are not so good if you are attacking them. But since Liverpool usually goes ahead early and often, the opposition get worn down chasing the ball and are not able to test the Liverpool defense as severely. It is all related.
        Still, if Green and AJ turn out to be the real deal and Donovan is back to something like his best and Mikey can get it together, they might be able to cobble something together.
        The timing for this change strikes me as just about right.
        JK will soon have his 30-23 players, all of whom presumably fit his mold of fit,hungry, and motivated. And barring injury, the coaching staff will know exactly which players they will have available.
        They can then use the World Cup Camp and the three send off games players to “install their game plans” to steal an NFL phrase.
        It should be fun.

      • I think Wahl tweeted that Tab Ramos told him in January that Vasquez will take over the Olympic/U-21 team. So, it sounds like it’s been planned for a while.

    • What was wrong with Vasquez? I’m not arguing his removal but I just don’t think any of is knows enough about his role with the team to judge his performance

      • If I had to bet, I would say Vasquez was the man responsible for the early hyper conservative three-D mid approach. Good riddance.

      • I think Goodson, Gonzalez, Besler etc.. were the reason for the hyper defensive 3 mid set up. That was the reason for Danny Williams on the right side of midfield. Providing cover. at least that is my opinion.

      • There’s a good chance we will have to go with that approach and only one striker vs. Portugal and Germany. IF we can beat Ghana, one draw may be enough to get us through and two almost certainly would.

    • They should call USMNT – Germany Jr. or Germany Lite. Head coach, chief scout, half the team is German. The real Germany will destroy their little cousin on the pitch in Brazil this summer.

    • Considering Klinsmann and Vasquez’s long history together, that’s a good question. I figure that Vasquez either must have done something to really p.o. Klinsmann or else Vasquez was guilty of some major coaching screw up.

      • Yup…you don’t jettison your longtime #2 without something major going on behind the scenes. Wonder what it is.

  16. Azerbaijan did lose twice to Portugal, but CR7 was held off the board both times.
    In 10 WCQ games, Azerbaijan lost 3 times, twice to Portugal and once to Russia, drew six, and won one. Only gave up 11 goals in 10 games.

    Vogts is being brought in to get a result in the Portugal game.

    • I’m confident against Ghana… but if Vogts comes true against Portugal, the USMNT might even take the group…

      then USA will face the runner of Belgium/Russia…. and again, Vogts and Azerbajiian played Russia in the qualifiers and he could draw USA’s defensive scheme for that game as well…

      good stuff… but Vogts will ask JK to include Brooks because of the language thing…

    • Azerbaijan was grouped with Germany in Euro 2012 qualifying and Portugal in WC 2014 qualifying. So goes the thinking. If you look up the actual results it’s less convincing. Heck, if you look up Vogts’ history it’s less convincing.

      That being said, the US has routinely had to chase games the past few years, though it has many times done so effectively. The team also looked best in the period last summer where the coaching staff had longer term access, and has looked more mediocre in isolated friendlies. We also ship a bunch of goals. We don’t seem so much well prepared for games as able to outlast or flip the script on people. I’m not sure if this was Vasquez’s responsibility or is something Vogts can fix but the team has some specific issues.

      Beyond that, let’s be real, when they bust you down to coaching kids they are willing to fulfill the term and paycheck but are otherwise pushing you out. My guesses, they went for a change, Vasquez is ill and unable to do NT duties, or he misbehaved.

      • “With Germany.” When you coach a world power the analysis is different. Beckenbauer won the 90 Cup and pronounced the newly unified team unbeatable for years. Vogts then got knocked out in the round of 8 in WC 94 and 98. He lost the 92 Euros to Denmark. Your argument is like, “but he once won the Gold Cup.”

        Vogts then coached one year at Bayer before getting canned, 6 months at Kuwait, failed to make the Euros or WC with Scotland, resigned at Nigeria after slightly less than a year after showing poorly at the ACN, then coached Azerbaijan to indifferent results.

        You’re basically pulling one decent result out of the context of his middling career.

      • Except part of the sales pitch is “he’s been a head coach.” People act like we have stolen a coach off Germany’s staff or something, but that was decades ago. There’s a reason it’s dwindled to Kuwait, Scotland, or Azerbaijan. You just got Azerbaijan’s coach who got them to an unimpressive spot in both sets of qualifiers.

        Of course, “it’s Azerbaijan,” but then I think you need to explain to us what the value of a middling finish with a mediocre team is to the USA.

      • FWIW Vogts coaching resume is not that great….

        He has a 43.95% (109 wins, 64 draws and 75 losses) winning percentage at club and international level….

        You can see his stats here:

  17. I find it strange that you can be a coach in two different national teams at the same time, but hopefully Berti can fix our defensive issues

    • Mr. zip,

      Vogt’s team is playing the US in a friendly in the send off series so in theory that is no big deal.

      Otherwise, Azerbaijan do not compete against the USMNT. If Vogt’s bosses don’t have any issue with it why do you?

    • FWIW Vogts coaching resume is not that great….

      He has a 43.95% (109 wins, 64 draws and 75 losses) winning percentage at club and international level….

      • Great move for additional insight and scouting. Def dont want him as head coach. Great tactical move

    • If the addition of Vogts was to get the experience of a world class defender to coach the backs, it could be a good move.

      I’m not so sure why bring Ramos in and Vasquez out, but JK must have decided it was time to have a new set of eyes, or JK’s penchant for keeping things a bit uncomfortable for the players to make them prove themselves all over again might play a role in this.


Leave a Comment