Jurgen Klinsmann praises Dirk Nowitzki
|USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann dishes on the team's 2-1 win over Italy, getting the program respected around the world his relationship with Dirk Nowitzki and more. |
"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 discuss to the retirements of Sir Alex Ferguson and David Beckham as well as Landon Donovan's omission from Jurgen Klinsmann's national team roster.
Play Podcast Soccer Today broadcasts an international edition with Marc Stein in London to cover the FA Cup final for ESPNFC, while Steve Davis joins from the ESPN Dallas studios in Las Colinas.
Play Podcast Robbie Rogers joins Soccer Today to discuss his MLS comeback plans, what it's been like for him at the Galaxy's training ground after he said in February that he is gay and needed to step away and Jason Collins' announcement in the NBA.
Play Podcast It's a travelogue edition of Soccer Today with Marc Stein in Houston covering the NBA playoffs and Steve Davis just back from a trip to the nation's capital to visit Jurgen Klinsmann. The guys kick off the morning by sharing stories from the road.
Play Podcast At the end of a sobering week in sports, Marc Stein and Steve Davis open Soccer Today from Copa ESPN by discussing the New England Revolution and the heavy emotions involved in playing a game just days after the Boston Marathon bombings.
Play Podcast Marc Stein and Steve Davis discuss Brek Shea's new team Stoke City taking on his former team FC Dallas in a friendly this summer.
Play Podcast Marc Stein and Steve Davis lament the performance of MLS clubs in the CONCACAF Champions League after the Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles Galaxy lost at home in the semifinals.
Play Podcast Marc Stein and Steve Davis discuss the United States national team after its 0-0 tie in Mexico shifted all the World Cup qualifying panic from the United States onto its hosts at Estadio Azteca.