With less than three months to go before the United States Men’s National Team opens World Cup play versus Ghana on June 16, coach Jurgen Klinsmann has shaken up his coaching staff. Klinsmann has brought in his former coach from the German national team Berti Vogts along with Tab Ramos, while reassigning longtime right hand man Martin Vasquez.
Vogts comes in as special adviser, while Ramos appears to be a direct replacement for the departed Vasquez. Vogts will retain his job as the manager of the Azerbaijan National Team, which should add interest when the U.S. MNT and Azerbaijan meet on May 27, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.
Vogts brings a wealth of experience and a presumed comfort level with Klinsmann, having coached the U.S. skipper during his international career. Following a glittering playing career, Vogts led Germany for eight years. Vogts also managed Kuwait, Scotland and Nigeria, before taking charge of Azerbaijan.
An enthusiastic Klinsmann had this to say on bringing in Vogts. “We are absolutely thrilled to have Berti join us as an advisor.” “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.”
Ramos, one of the best ever U.S. players, was recently named by U.S. Soccer to the title of Youth Technical Director, and he has coached the U20 national side since 2011. Ramos has spent time with the full national team in the past, so his addition to the staff should not be too problematic.
Vasquez has been at Klinsmann’s side since Klinsmann took on the U.S. job in 2011 and was also with Klinsmann during his ill-fated tenure in charge of Bayern Munich. Vasquez was featured in the controversial Sporting News story last March (2013) that depicted the team as rife with disension. The assistant’s communication skills and tactical knowledge were called into question by unnamed sources in the article.
Vasquez and Klinsmann survived the surrounding uproar, and as the U.S. MNT turned their fortunes around, some credited the article with bringing the team together.
Now Vasquez is out of the senior national team setup, waiting to be reassigned to other duties within U.S. Soccer, as the U.S. MNT move ahead to the World Cup.