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Dec 7, 2006

Klinsmann withdraws candidacy as U.S. coach

After months of speculation culminating in an intense final round of back-and-forth negotiations and erroneous reports, Juergen Klinsmann has withdrawn his name from consideration to become the next U.S. men's national team coach.

Klinsmann, in a statement sent to ESPN, said: "Sunil [Gulati] and I have concluded our discussions about the U.S. men's national team program, and I have withdrawn my name from consideration as coach. I'm not going to go into details about our conversations. But, I certainly want to wish the next coach of the U.S. men's national team much success, and I want to, also, thank Sunil for the opportunity to exchange ideas."

Despite heavy criticism for everything from his choice of goalkeepers to his permanent California residence, Klinsmann, in his first ever head coaching job, led the German national team to a highly unexpected third-place finish in the 2006 World Cup.

Although soccer's most important and influential movers and shakers applied serious pressure on newly elected U.S. soccer president Sunil Gulati and U.S. soccer to hire Klinsmann, talks concluded late Wednesday evening without an agreement.

Klinsmann would've brought instant and unprecedented credibility to U.S. Soccer at a critical time for U.S. soccer. Although 2002 was remarkable, the reality is U.S. soccer has sandwiched one great World Cup in between two very disappointing ones in 1998 and 2006.

As a player, Klinsmann's resume and highlights would've been unlike anything ever associated with U.S. Soccer. The former German captain scored 47 goals in 108 caps for the German national team leading them to the 1990 World Cup and Euro '96 titles.

Klinsmann was twice German Footballer of the Year in 1988 and 1994. In 1995, in his first season in English soccer after his famous move to Tottenham he won the English Footballer of the Year award.

Klinsmann was a top 10 World Footballer of the Year four times and is a member of the FIFA 'Top 100' Player List.