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May 29, 2014

Beckenbauer to lead Bayern's U.S. plans

Franz Beckenbauer enjoyed a hugely successful career as a player and a coach.
Franz Beckenbauer enjoyed a hugely successful career as a player and a coach.

Franz Beckenbauer has been named the Bayern Munich's "international brand ambassador" as the German champions seek to make their mark in the United States.

- Schaaf: Bayern season review

Beckenbauer, a former Bayern player, coach, supervisory board chairman and president, is currently serving as the club's honorary president but will now take on additional duties in attempt to increase global awareness of the club.

In August, Bayern are set to embark on their first tour of the States in a decade and Beckenbauer, who had two stints with New York Cosmos towards the end of his playing career, told a news conference he believed they could make an impact across the Atlantic.

"We can go a long way over there," the 68-year-old, nicknamed "Der Kaiser," said. "It's high time we were properly active. Let's go for it."

Beckenbauer enjoyed a hugely successful playing career, winning the 1972 European Championship and 1974 World Cup with West Germany as well as three consecutive European Cups, the Cup Winners' Cup and four Bundesliga titles.

Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge believes Beckenbauer, who also won the World Cup as a coach, can play an important role.

He said on the club's official website: "He is comfortably the best-known face the club has ever had. This is a man enjoying the highest reputation in the world of football."

In April, Bayern became the first German club to open an office in the U.S. when setting up in New York, but that is just the first step.

"Our objective is to increase awareness of the Bayern Munich brand name around the world," Rummenigge said. "Furthermore, we naturally wish to gain a financial benefit from this step."

Bayern will play Deportivo Guadalajara in New Jersey on August 1 before heading west to play the MLS All-Stars in Portland on August 7. In the second game, Bayern have announced that they will field a full-strength team, including the "current internationals."

Rummenigge described the tour as "a first footprint in the United States," insisting Bayern would not just "go there for a week, make good money and then spend 51 weeks doing nothing."

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