Klinsmann gets reward for global recruitment strategy

Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:11pm EDT
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By Simon Evans

(Reuters) - Berlin-born John Brooks grabbed an 86th-minute winner for the United States against Ghana in World Cup Group G on Monday as Juergen Klinsmann’s policy of recruiting dual-nationals from Europe paid off.

With Frankfurt-born midfielder Jermaine Jones arguably the best player for the U.S. in their 2-1 victory, dominating in midfield and creating the opening goal for Clint Dempsey, there was a distinctly German flavor to the win.

Although he is unlikely to crow, the victory was vindication for former Germany players and coach Klinsmann.

The U.S. coach has faced criticism for his policy of searching out eligible players in Europe and Mexico to add to the homegrown talent.

Brooks was the hero but another German-American, Fabian Johnson, produced pace and work-rate on the right side and former Iceland Under-21 international Aron Johannsson had to work tirelessly as a lone striker after coming on for the injured Jozy Altidore.

Bruce Arena, who was coach of the U.S. team at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, has been vocal in his criticism of the policy and just before the World Cup also objected to having a non-American like Klinsmann as coach.

There have been others who have questioned whether the German-Americans have the same commitment to the cause as their team mates born on American soil.

The apparent hesitation of players such as Timothy Chandler, who have grown up in the German youth system, to commit fully to the U.S. team before making the decisive decision, added to the doubts.   Continued...

U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann (L) celebrates their win against Ghana after their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal June 16, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder