Jurgen Klinsmann praises Dirk Nowitzki
In an interview which aired Saturday on "Soccer Today" on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM, as part of his recent visit to town for FC Dallas' MLS season opener, Klinsmann revealed that he is "big fan" of the NBA in general and Nowitzki in particular, having lived in the States for much of Nowitzki's career since retiring as a player in 1998.
"What's he done here, you can't describe it from a German perspective," Klinsmann said. "He's just an absolutely outstanding athlete, he's a role model, and he's the best (sporting) ambassador that we've probably ever had. We're pretty proud of him."
Nowitzki didn't have the opportunity to visit with his countryman when Klinsmann was in Dallas because the Mavericks were flying back from Oakland that day after completing their recent grind of nine games in 12 days after the All-Star break.
As part of the interview, Klinsmann talked extensively about the national team's recent win in Italy as well as the breakout season Texas native Clint Dempsey is having at Fulham in the Barclays Premier League. Klinsmann described his first eight months in the job as Dempsey's national team boss as a "blast."
Although English bookmakers continue to list Klinsmann as a top contender to replace Harry Redknapp as manager of Tottenham Hotspur in England's Premiership -- where he starred in the mid-1990s -- Klinsmann forcefully dismissed such speculation, insisting that he's not going anywhere. Klinsmann received a three-year contract in July 2011 to replace Bob Bradley as coach of the national team.
"I know the English media," Klinsmann told Soccer Today. "... It's just normal that they throw out names.
"I have a wonderful relationship with Tottenham and with all my teams that I played (with) as a player. I know the people (there), I know the enviromnment. It's a wonderful club. But I said that already weeks ago that I'm extremely proud and privileged to be U.S. national team coach. I'm not starting a job or a project and giving it up after a couple months That's not me.
"I want to guide (U.S.) players towards a level hopefully that they will reach and hopefully we will have, after successful qualification, a great World Cup in Brazil (in 2014). Then in soccer, like in any other environment, you never know what happens. (But) when there are speculations coming from Europe, it gives you a quick smile and you move on."
Play Podcast Marc Stein and Steve Davis reflect on Adnan Januzaj's meteoric rise from Dallas Cup participant in April to Manchester United's savior in October before moving on to discuss DC United's victory over Real Salt Lake in the U.S. Open Cup final.
Play Podcast Steve Davis welcomes Marc Stein back to the studio from his European travels just in time to discuss the miserable weekend in the Premiership for both Manchester clubs.
Play Podcast Marc Stein and Steve Davis discuss the big City v United game and Stein's trip to West Brom for the Paolo Di Canio show.
Play Podcast Marc Stein and Steve Davis cover all the ins and outs of the United States' comprehensive victory over Mexico that clinched a seventh straight trip to the World Cup.
Play Podcast Marc Stein and Steve Davis look ahead to Tuesday night's big USA vs. Mexico showdown.
Play Podcast Pedro Pinto analyzes the Champions League draw, and Rodney Marsh discusses Liverpool's flying start.
Play Podcast Marc Stein and Steve Davis discuss Clint Dempsey's home debut and the weekend's marquee match in MLS: Seattle vs. Portland.
Play Podcast Broadcasting live from FC Dallas Stadium, Marc Stein and Steve Davis reflect on the absolute footy feast that was Saturday's TV bonanza featuring seven live games from the Premiership followed by a full MLS slate.