Jurgen Klinsmann is out as United States National Team coach — and it’s probably a fair exit, given the team’s recent form and his proclivity for fighting back against U.S. fans as ignorant whiners.
But while we could go on and on about that, it’s hardly the focus of this blog — we’ll leave that to Stars and Stripes FC — and while we may talk about it from time to time, it’s probably better for us to focus on our own wheelhouse.
So turning toward Real Salt Lake, it becomes pretty easy to see how Jurgen Klinsmann had a positive effect on Kyle Beckerman’s career trajectory. Beckerman, who simply wasn’t being selected by Bob Bradley with too much regularity — at least not for the big matches — became one of “Klinsmann’s guys.” That was the popular perception, at least. It was the big matches that defined that attitude, with the notable exception of that U.S. vs. Belgium match in the last World Cup. Let’s not go there, though.
But really, Beckerman’s career was boosted by two things. First, a renewed faith in him afforded him the opportunity to impress on a broader stage, and while fans rarely recognized his impact on matches, he was there as a defensive metronome. We know he can get up and down on the field as needed, but as the holding midfielder without much instruction for adventure, he helped control matches.
Second, a focus on fitness, through diet and training, certainly affected Beckerman’s career. While we’re certainly not going to suggest that it’s the only factor, I think we can say that we might be looking at a 34-year-old Kyle Beckerman in the twilight of his career — maybe at a last season — if it weren’t for improved fitness and diet regimens.
So, while we celebrate the departure of Jurgen Klinsmann, let’s just take a moment to remember the group stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and that for a brief moment, our captain was given the world as his stage — and he looked good doing it.
"Yeah, I was surprised," said the dreadlocked Beckerman. "[Bob] Bradley got fired and maybe a week later Jurgen was the coach. But I didn't want to get my hopes up. For a while, I thought it was kind of a closed door for me. Things change quickly. All of a sudden -- coaching change and I get in there."