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Andi Herzog named coach of U.S. Under-23s ahead of Olympic qualifying

Andi Herzog (USA TODAY Sports)


U.S. Men’s National Team assistant coach Andi Herzog has been named head coach of the U-23 team, U.S. Soccer announced Friday.

Herzog takes the helm of the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team as the team prepares to go through Olympic qualifying for Rio De Janeiro 2016, a process that begins in the fall.

“Andi has plenty of experience and knowledge in order to prepare this group for the international level,” said USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who is also U.S. Soccer’s Technical Director, in a statement. “As a former coach of the U-21 Austria team, he has a lot of experience connecting to the younger generation of players.

“Having been with the senior National Team these past years, he understands the challenges of putting together a team with players coming from all over. Andi is absolutely ready to step into this role, and he deserves this opportunity.”

Klinsmann named Herzog his assistant coach in December 2011. The Vienna native is the third USMNT assistant coach in four cycles to take charge of the U-23s, following Glenn “Mooch” Myernick in 2004 and Peter Nowak in 2008. Current Portland Timbers coach Caleb Porter was at the helm for the 2012 Olympic cycle.

Herzog’s job description is clear after the U.S. men failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London, a major embarrassment that Klinsmann has vowed cannot be repeated. Herzog, 46, has already played part in early Olympic preparations for Rio as he helped lead U-23 camps last year in both Brazil and the Bahamas.

“Andi brings a wealth of experience at the international level as a player and a coach,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati in a statement. “In his years with the National Team he has developed a thorough understanding of our system, and we are confident that he is the right coach to accomplish our goal of reaching and succeeding in the Olympic Games.”

A former player in the Bundesliga, he was an assistant coach for Austria’s senior team in 2008 and took over as coach of the U-21 team there from 2009 to 2011.


What do you think of this choice in naming Herzog to the team? Do you think he will be able to successful steer the U-23 team through Olympic qualifying? Were there any other candidates you hoped to see hired?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. On the fence here but Klinsi will keep most hires in house or from his professional experience in Europe. Herzog seems a logical choice and compared to previous U-23 coaches has as much or more international experience. While I don’t agree with some things Klinsi does you have to realize he is overhauling an entire way of playing, training, coaching and developing a national team from top to bottom. The previous 21 years of US football prior to his hire brought quick and solid results for a nation without any real football pedigree.

    Have Klinsi’s results been much better than Bob, Bruce or Bora’s? Not a huge or visible change imho but again he’s looking at a bigger picture than his predecessors. Remember Bob or Bruce saying what mattered was just “Qualifying” and then getting to the knock out round of a World Cup which both did, however I think Klinsi is willing to take some lumps in getting the US closer to hoisting a World Cup. Will his approach work? Don’t know but he has a vision and will stick to it irregardless of the press or fans dissent. I think we all can agree we hope it works out but his tactics certainly do leave him open for criticism. He seems willing to take a step back in order to take two more forward something others would be unwilling to do and just get solid results without deep improvement.

    The US already has a soccer identity prior to Klinsi coming on board. Good set pieces, great goal keepers, physically fit more so than opponents and a never quit attitude that has seen so many late game heroics. Klinsi needs to develop players with better understanding of the game, tactics, vision, foot skills and adapting to the speed of the international game.

    The US hit it’s initial soccer ceiling very quickly: 21 years (1989-2010) is such a short time. Look at MLS 19 years and the league has seen very quick growth. By comparison the NFL took 30+ years to really dent the US sport fans psyche. And only by the mid to late seventies did the NFL start to really become the huge success it is now. The US catching up to European football or Brazil/Argentina/Uruguay who’ve been at it for almost a century is a helluva a task but really just imagine what another 20 years will do for US football if we continue growing the game?

    The way Klinsi and the US operate now is more in line with the rest of the futbol planet. We scrutinize everything and the press has become more aware and reports on most little details. Klinsi unlike his predecessors does not operate in a vacuum. Will Klinsi get us closer to lifting a World Cup? Not sure that depends on players wanting to go the extra mile and eat, sleep and die with Futbol. When kids become obsessed with watching the game at an early age and spend endless hours in the front yard or local playground with friends just playing the game because the love it and want to emulate what they just watched. When good coaching is available at every level and not just to those who can afford to pay club soccer fees will US soccer really hit it’s full stride. So it’s not all up to Klinsi but he saw a need for change to grow the game to Intl. levels and is implementing it.

    I can only hope that if he really fails that Sunil will have the guts to go out and hire someone else with Intl. vision that will get results, even if that means buying out a contract in 2016.

    • Glove69,

      Good points but I think you and Diego are overthinking this hire.

      It is way too early to be thinking about JK’s successor.. What seems more likely is that the Under 20 ‘s and the Olympic team positions need to be handled by people JK feels understand the direction he wants to go in with the program and who he trusts. Tab and Andy seem to fit that requirement. Why bring in outsiders?

      It has been made very clear that Olympic qualification is a very big deal this time around

      Just remember Caleb Porter, the last USSF Olympic manager.

      As I recall, JK had just been hired and was not yet Technical Director. My understanding is that Porter was Reyna’s hire and it proved disastrous. Because Porter was previously committed he spent comparatively little time with the team, with Tab and Claudio running it for a large part of the time.

      I suspect Reyna and USSF felt that with so many Akron players in the squad and a weak group, Porter, the hot young genius at the time who was allegedly being groomed to be JK’s successor, could make it happen. Wonder of wonders, maybe the USSF learned a lesson from that cluster.

      If you believe that the Under -23 teams should be the JV team and be similar to the senior team in style, that practically mandates that their manager should be an in house hire this time around. It’s a couple of years down the road now and JK has a more settled staff now.

      They don’t need to hire the next flavor of the minute, anointed saviour of US soccer managers.

  2. This is an interesting move. In my view, Klinsmann is likely to show a clear preference for “promoting from within” when it comes to appointing his successor (assuming he himself stays on a technical director, as appears to be the clear plan). Given his personality, and the scope of his work mandate in revamping the long-term development infrastructure and strategy of US Soccer, it’s hard to see Klinsmann bringing in an established manager from elsewhere, whose ideas and philosophies might confict with what he has put into place over the previous and forthcoming years.

    It had seemed to me that Ramos was “first in line” to show that he was ready to perhaps step up and take the reins when that time comes, but it seems he is not the only one who will get a look (a good thing, in my view– assuming this speculation has any merit). The Olympics are clearly a priority for the program in the immediate future– most everybody involved with the program has expressed this. Herzog has been given a big responsibility here… will be interesting to see how he does, and what role JK plays in influencing the team and strategy

  3. I don’t know him but he was part of the coaching buffoonery down in Brazil and is a prime advisor to the dumb blonde so I don’t think much of this hiring.

    • You mean the “coaching buffoonery” that saw us qualify out of a group that NOBODY expected us to escape, eventually being eliminated by a Belgium side with over $250 million of first team talent, as compared to our $30 million? Yeah, epic foolishness….. everybody knows we could’ve outplayed those teams any day of the week…. we really are like 1970 Brazil if you really think about it!… just a few little tactical tweaks and presto!

      • First off what does being from Cincy have anything to do with anything? I read your posts often and they provide me with good humor.
        Can I also ask, what are you doing up at 4:34 AM on a soccer website. A little creepy if you ask me. After you sign off on Ives do you go on google images and stare at Klinsmann’s photo lol
        Keep the laughs coming GW

      • “First off what does being from Cincy have anything to do with anything?”

        As I wrote and you apparently did not read, it means you are familiar with coaching bufoonery on a first hand basis. You should be able to figure that out.

        What is the second off?

        ” I read your posts often and they provide me with good humor.”

        Glad to be of service.

      • Maybe I have a higher standard for soccer than what we did this summer in Brazil. Also the buffoonery is a collection of staff coaches who together have not produced a plan for developing players, developing coaches or how we can actually become a decent soccer nation.
        This is what that dumb blonde gets paid $2.5 million for. If we paid a national team coach a million less we could have over 30 full time coaches on the national staff.
        There is no plan other than live by the seat of your pants. And that my donut friend is soccer bufoonery.

      • Maybe you do have a higher standard. Care to share with us your plan for making the US a “better soccer nation”?

  4. Hopefully he is allowed to use tactics and formations that he sees fit for the squad. And not have it dictated from the top.

      • The last olympic cycle, the team strictly played a 4-3-3. This is what JK wants every one to play. I’m fine with that, how ever one system does not make a team. A good team should be flexible to change as needed.

        Also, Tab Ramos said after two bad showing in the U-20’s that he changed formations.

      • Downintexas,
        “Hopefully he is allowed to use tactics and formations that he sees fit for the squad. And not have it dictated from the top.”

        It’s interesting how your default setting is that JK’s style as Technical Director is wrong.

        An Under 20 team exists to provide the players with an opportunity to develop so that hopefully they will one day play for the national team.

        Obviously, if the Under 20’s can play in the same style, whatever that may be, as the senior team, that only makes sense does it not?

        However, that isn’t always possible.

        Clearly, player availability for the Under 20’s is inconsistent. Like all national team managers, Ramos is at the mercy of injury, club commitments, etc., etc. For example, duriing a broadcast of the last Under 20 game Lalas said Ramos told him that the formation change to 4-4-2 was predetermined because they were waiting on Spencer to come back from that they could play the 4-4-2 that they wanted to play.

        A national team manager, at any level, must be pragmatic and flexible.

        During the same broadcast Lalas said he asked Tab if JK told him what to do, how to set up the team, etc.

        Ramos answered that he and JK talk but the team is his not JK’s. Tab made it clear that it was all on him. If he was going to hang himself the choice of rope was his.

        Ramos said his first job is to get the team qualified. Their thinking is qualification means the team gets to play more competitive games which is the best way to develop. Playing
        In the World Cup also means more exposure for their players which could perhaps lead to a better club situation for them.

        So it was up to him to get them to the World Cup by whatever means necessary. If that means playing whatever style works best with the players available then so be it.

        Once they get there, then they will have other players available and then maybe they can play how they really want.

        But they have to get there first.

  5. Hope the dude gets the best players a available and does not depend on a hope and prayer during qualifying!
    Already many of the most talented players professional teams wil not allow them to compete in qualifying matches.

  6. Hopefully, Herzog focus less on sizes, more performance and ability gel with others.

    Note: I am not a fan Salgado or Spencer…size without the finishing touch or soccer IQ.

      • Uh not really. They do have the size and physicality in certain positions. That’s not their main issue. Coaching, player intelligence and technical ability at certain positions has been left wanting.

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