With a friendly against Mexico looming and the World Cup on the horizon, Jurgen Klinsmann has made some significant changes to the U.S. national team staff.
Klinsmann has appointed former Germany star player and coach Berti Vogts as a special advisor through the World Cup, U.S. Soccer announced Sunday evening. In addition, U-20 coach Tab Ramos has joined Klinsmann's coaching staff, while one-time right-hand man Martin Vasquez has been transitioned to "other responsibilities within U.S. Soccer," according to a press release.
Vogts, a World Cup winner in 1974 who also coached Germany -- and Klinsmann -- to the 1996 European championship, is currently the coach of Azerbaijan, which the U.S. plays in San Francisco on May 27 to kick off its World Cup send-off series. He'll remain in that role while adding U.S. Soccer to his resume, and he will even be on the sidelines managing against the U.S. that day, according to a U.S. Soccer spokesperson.
Vogts, in his new gig, "will aid in the development of training plans, help prepare scouting reports, and travel to observe matches of the USA’s opponents in the lead-up to the tournament and in Brazil," according to U.S. Soccer.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have Berti join us as an advisor,” Klinsmann said in a statement. “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 had been involved with Klinsmann's first-team staff in the past, but only on spot occasions. As it stands, Klinsmann's coaching staff for the World Cup includes Ramos, Andi Herzog and goalkeeper coach Chris Woods, with Vogts taking the reins in his newly created position, though he will not be on the bench or on the field as an assistant. Vasquez's new role is unclear and is surely something that Klinsmann will address over the next couple of days in the build-up to Wednesday night's friendly against rival Mexico.