Is the U.S. National Soccer team close to hiring Juergen Klinsmann as its new head coach?
A number of media reports recently seem to point in that direction, and U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati indicated six weeks ago that he "wouldn't lose any sleep if our decision slips into the first week of December."
That time is now. And last week, U.S. national team member Steve Cherundolo told the German television station Premiere that Klinsmann -- the 2006 head coach of the German World Cup team -- would be named the team's new coach "according to my information."
But U.S. Soccer Federation communications director Jim Moorhouse told ESPN on Tuesday that: "I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that no deal has been reached with any of our coaching candidates at this time."
Klinsmann's name as been hotly speculated as the next U.S. soccer coach since he quit his post as coach of the German national team following the World Cup. He's married to an American and lives in California.
Previous U.S. coach Bruce Arena's contract was not renewed by the U.S. Soccer Federation following a disappointing World Cup.
Last Thursday, soccer legend Pele endorsed Klinsmann for the job. "He'd be good for the U.S. boys," Pele said at a news conference during a business trip to Duesseldorf, Germany. "He's an excellent trainer who led Germany to an incredible World Cup this year. He didn't quite have the luck he needed to win the title. I think he would be the right man for the job."
Over the weekend, the German newspaper Das Bild reported that U.S. Soccer had decided on Klinsmann.
Tuesday, a column on FoxSports.com reported that Klinsmann would be named the head coach "within two weeks," citing unnamed sources.
"No deal is done, nor [is one] a forgone conclusion," Moorhouse told ESPN. "And a date to announce has not been set."
In October, Gulati said: "I wouldn't lose any sleep if our decision slips into the first week of December. But it's our intention still to name a new coach in November."
In early November, a Washington Post blog item by Jason La Canfora said that Klinsmann was the choice, but he wouldn't take the job until early 2008.
All indications are that the choice will be Klinsmann, the German legend who led the country to the 1990 World Cup title and was Germany's national team coach until resigning on July 12. Germany finished a surprising third in the World Cup last summer.
About the only dissenting view on Klinsmann's impending hiring is a Nov. 17 story in La Opinion, a Spanish-language daily in Los Angeles, which said that former Argentine national team coach Jose Pekerman had a contract in hand and would be named the coach. The rumor was strongly denied.
The U.S. national team program has planned a training camp for January, with a Jan. 20 international event against Denmark on the schedule.