Klinsmann contract in “direct conflict” with U.S. Soccer CEO?

Reputable soccer columnist Grant Wahl suspects Klinsmann’s denied wishes for greater head coaching control were in “direct conflict” with the job description of U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn.

“If Klinsmann wanted the final say, in writing, over choosing the U.S.’ opponents and venues for games,” writes Wahl, “that would have put him in direct conflict with Flynn, who’s in charge of the federation’s business side as the de facto CEO, and who relies on friendlies as a significant revenue source. Flynn, a former executive with Anheuser-Busch, is U.S. Soccer’s highest-paid official, having earned $646,066 in the most recent federation tax statement (more than coach Bradley).

“It’s also possible that U.S. Soccer felt giving Klinsmann the final say in writing over some decisions in Flynn’s purview — including the selection of U.S. opponents and venues — would be impossible given the language in the federation’s current contracts, which include big-money deals with Nike and ESPN.”

In light of having our team stuck in another “what if” scenario, Wahl says of Bradley’s ill-received rehiring: “The hard-working coach who led the U.S. to the second round of World Cup 2010 finally signed another four-year contract, but it wasn’t exactly a vote of confidence for him that U.S. Soccer went after Klinsmann again. Then again, Bradley expressed his interest in other jobs (Aston Villa and Fulham), so perhaps the U.S. job wasn’t his first choice, either. Considering no other candidates have come up for the U.S. position, other than Klinsmann and Bradley, it may be that Bradley was Gulati’s first choice among candidates who were actually willing to sign on the dotted line.

“In the end, Bradley is the U.S. coach, even if it may be a marriage of convenience. But you can be certain there will be pressure on Bradley to lead the U.S. to the Gold Cup title in 2011.”

U.S. Soccer settled for Bradley (again) because they didn’t want to give a better coach full control

Or so says Juergen Klinsmann, who claims to have had “positive conversations” with U.S. Soccer for “three or four” weeks before the deal fell through due to control issues.

After reaching an alleged agreement with U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati to “have 100 percent control of the team,” Klinsmann says U.S. Soccer wouldn’t “commit” in writing to the terms. “Verbally, we agreed that I should have a hundred percent control of [the team],” he told Sasha Victornine (via SBI). “Unfortunately, they couldn’t commit to that and at that point I said, ‘Well, I can’t get the job done because I have to have the last say as a head coach for my entire staff, for all the players issues, for everything that happens with the team.’

“That was basically the end of our talks, and then they agreed to continue with Bob as the head coach,” concluded Klinsmann. “We didn’t get it to a positive ending because we couldn’t put into writing what we agreed to verbally.”

The botched deal marks the second time in four years that U.S. Soccer passed on Klinsmann in favor of former interim head coach Bob Bradley. For those out of the loop, German-born but California-residing Klinsmann was a top goal-scorer at World Cup. In 2006, he led the German National Team to a third-place finish.

U.S. Soccer has long been criticized for its suspect behavior. In his 2006 book Soccer in a Football World, author David Wangerin chronicled the Federation’s 100 year history, calling it “clandestine.”