Dallas Soccer: Clint Dempsey
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."
FC Dallas' Brek Shea was strong for the US yesterday in the team's 1-0 win over Honduras. Shea started and played 90 minutes wide in midfield.
The assist came from the right wide as Shea got a cross into fellow native Texan Clint Dempsey. Shea got free for the cross after right back Steve Cherundolo ran down Shea's initial cross which had been blocked. Dempsey made a nice cut back move to create space and scored with his left foot in the 36th minute.
The United States got Jurgen Klinsmann a victory in his fourth try as American coach.
Goalkeeper Tim Howard made several key saves.
"It's huge for all of us. You don't ever want to go a long period of time without winning," Howard said. "We performed well, I think, and we're trying to set a foundation, but ultimately you have to win. That was the focus coming in."
Since Klinsmann replaced Bob Bradley on July 29 after the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the Americans had tied Mexico, and lost to Costa Rica and Belgium.
On a rainy night in south Florida, a frog could be seen on the field. The game was the first of a pair for the U.S. during the international fixture period. The Americans host Ecuador on Tuesday night in Harrison, N.J.
The U.S. used a 4-1-3-2 formation and Howard made up for a few defensive lapses.
"I think it took us a little bit to get into a higher pace," Klinsmann said. "The first 20 minutes were a bit too static. And then we took over, created a lot more chances."
Dempsey put the U.S. ahead with his 23rd international goal. Shea's centering pass got past several players and touched Michael Orozco Fiscal before Dempsey gained control at the top of the penalty area, He moved the ball from his right foot to his left and shot high past goalkeeper Donis Escobar .
"I didn't know if the ball was going to come through, I got a little lucky," Dempsey said. "I took my time. I was going to take it with my right foot but saw it was going to be blocked, so I pulled it back to my left and couldn't have hit it any sweeter."
Dempsey also appeared to score on a header in the 84th minute, but Dempsey was called for a foul.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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