I’m looking for someone revolutionary and not run of the mill, someone who surprised the sports world but did it with class and style. In 2012, I thought I was choosing well when I selected Oscar Pistorius. A few weeks later, I felt dumbfounded (who could have seen that coming?).
This year, the award goes to Jürgen Klinsmann, who guided the U.S. Men’s National Team to a 16-4-3 record in 2013, including a 12-game winning streak. By the way, the 12-game winning streak included a Gold Cup championship (the bi-annual continental title that determines who is the best team in the CONCACAF region).
Oh, did I mention, the USMNT dominated World Cup qualifying, won the CONCACAF region and sewed up its spot early? Even with the spot reserved for World Cup, they still went on to finish strong by beating a talented Mexican squad, an underrated Jamaican team and a resilient Panama.
What Klinsmann did this year was to lead the USMNT to respectability worldwide and give hope to loyal U.S. supporters.
People in the soccer world are paying attention to the U.S. team now. The pundits know this U.S. team is to be taken seriously.
I am confident Klinsmann will figure out the very best starting 11 for the 2014 World Cup. He has developed lots of players this year and will have plenty of talent on the roster.
His challenge in the 2014 World Cup will be to provide more pleasant surprises.
The U.S. team is taking their “Group of Death” fortune in stride. The team is a contender to advance out of its group and won’t let distractions be a foil. Klinsmann instilled enough pride and determination that the team will not let a difficult draw deter it from expectations.
To a man, you hear all the players and the media talk about redemption versus Ghana and overcoming the challenges of playing one of the tournaments favorites in Germany and the best goal-scorer in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal. The U.S. has trained itself and the media to embrace the opportunity of 2014 World Cup.
With his new contract, Klinsmann earned an added chance to win a World Cup in 2018. His new deal was well deserved and keeps the U.S. program building towards its overall goals of world domination.
That’s right, I said it. The U.S. wants to dominate in soccer and Jurgen Klinsmann is the coach that can help make it happen. He wants the U.S. to lay more groundwork and have more involvement in youth academies.
After some trials and tribulations for the 2012 Olympics and getting started for World Cup qualifying, he has been able to develop players and find the right combination of talent on the field to keep the U.S. winning as a habit. That hasn’t happened in quite some time and for this reason, Jurgen Klinsmann is my sportsperson of the year-2013.
Howard M Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com