TORONTO - Former German International player and manager Juergen Klinsmann appears to be the ďbig-namedĒ consultant hired to determine the author of Toronto FCís next chapter.
A news report Thursday said Toronto FC is on the verge of coming to a contractual agreement with Klinsmann and his California-based soccer business and consulting company, Soccer Solutions, to oversee the search for Toronto FCís next general manager and head coach.
Toronto FC brass promised its disgruntled fanbase Ďsignificant namesí to lead the search for a new technical regime and at the club, and in Klinsmann it has one.
The 1990 World Cup winner and two-time German player of the year scored 233 goals while playing for some of the biggest club sides in the world, while netting 47 goals for country.
As a head coach, Klinsmann is noted for taking an under-performing Germany to the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup on home soil. Although widely applauded for his influence on their third-place finish, Klinsmann resigned from the German post following the competition. In 2008-2009, Klinsmann also spent a short, unsuccessful spell at Bayern Munich.
Since that time, Klinsmann has resided in California, serving as vice-president of Soccer Solutions, while doing media work, including at this past summerís FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Consulting for Toronto FC is an interesting move for Klinsmann, who for a second time missed out on the head coaching position with U.S. Soccer this summer. It was reported US Soccer had a verbal agreement with Klinsmann to take over for Bob Bradley. But when it was time to put pen to paper, U.S. Soccer would not guarantee the power Klinsmann demanded over having full control and final say of all technical decision-making. U.S. Soccer has refused to comment on the situation.
Toronto FCís apparent willingness to allow Klinsmann dictate the future direction of the club suggests heíll have carte blanche to cultivate any structure he deems fit. It seems like a Ďcanít-loseí situation for the German, as he wonít have to uproot his family from the West Coast. And itís a massive feather in his cap if his rebuild brings any tangible success to a club that has had none. The bar is set-low.
And even if Klinsmannís recommendations donít bring success, his hands are clean. Itís up to whatever GM and head coach to execute the mandate, not Klinsmann.
Itís also interesting to note Klinsmann has recently been linked to the vacant head coaching position at Chivas USA. The move hypothetically made sense, with the German currently living in close proximity. Although itís pure speculation, Toronto FCís willingness to spend big dollars while giving Klinsmann the keys to the house was a superior opportunity until a more appetizing role at a bigger club becomes available. Klinsmann told CNNSIís Grant Wahl last month he seeís himself more of a coach than anything else going forward.
Klinsmann is noted for his forward thinking coaching methods, believing in an attacking brand of soccer that relies on extraordinary fitness and technique. The German is also a believer in yoga and other Ďatypicalí methodologies.
Although Klinsmannís name looks impressive on paper, itís best for Toronto FC supporters to proceed with caution. Klinsmann has never been in the power position of hiring a general manager or head coach before, nor developing wide-scale infrastructure at any club. Whether heís fit to do so is the great unknown.
The safe move for Toronto FC would have been to turn to an experienced individual who has built soccer infrastructure at a successful club before. And the fact Klinsmann comes representing an agency whose expertise is the business side of the game is somewhat disconcerting. Itís substance thatís needed over style. The hope is Klinsmann can bring both.
That being said, thereís nobody currently at TFC with the breadth of knowledge, international recognition, and tangible experience that Klinsmann brings. Fresh blood and alternative vision is needed. And Klinsmann brings that.
Toronto FC was contacted and said nothing can be confirmed at this time.