It remains unclear whether Jürgen Klinsmann will remain as manager of the United States Men’s National Team. But whether US Soccer pulls the trigger or not, they won’t be caught completely off-guard.
ESPN is reporting that US Soccer has been quietly lining up potential replacements for about a year. Unnamed sources said that LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena and Sporting Kansas City boss Peter Vermes are on the short list to take over if Klinsmann is indeed let go.
The renewed speculation comes after two dismal performances by the USMNT in World Cup qualifying. A 2-1 loss at home to Mexico following by a shameful 4-0 loss in Costa Rica leaves the United States at the bottom of the Hex and could lead to their first failure to qualify for the World Cup since 1986.
If the story ESPN is reporting is legitimate (and there’s every reason to believe it is), that would seem to suggest that US Soccer started laying the groundwork for Klinsmann’s replacement after the USMNT’s loss to Mexico last October, which cost them a trip to the Confederations Cup next summer.
For what it’s worth, ESPN isn’t the only outlet running with this story.
Arena, who coached the USMNT at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, recently signed a 2-year extension on his contract with the Galaxy. But that deal reportedly includes a clause that would allow him to accept a job offer from US Soccer if it comes up.
U20s coach Tab Ramos is also being floated as a dark horse candidate.
Obviously this is all speculation, but it’s telling that the rumors are only ramping up since Tuesday’s loss to Costa Rica and US Soccer isn’t doing a whole lot to push back against it. There could be a decision made very soon. Watch this space.