Berti Vogts Named USMNT Technical Advisor


The Special Advisor for the U.S. Men’s National Team now has even more special role: Technical Advisor. On Wednesday, U.S. Soccer announced that for Special Advisor Berti Vogts will be given the full-time position of Technical Advisor to the USMNT.

U.S. Soccer did not release the exacts terms of the deal. However, it did mention that he will be working directly with U.S. players who are based in Europe.

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press release

also mentioned that he will be “working with [USMNT U-23 Coach Andreas] Herzog and [U.S. Soccer Head Scout in Europe] Matthias Hamann on scouting, building and improving club relationships and identifying talent. Vogts will serve as a resource for technical development initiatives and coaching education. ”

Vogts distinguished footballing career started as a defender for  Borussia Mönchengladbach where he would make over 419 appearances over the course of a 14 year career. He would be an integral piece for the club’s two UEFA Cup victories (1974-1975 and 1978-1979) as well as their 5 Bundesliga titles (1969–70, 1970–71, 1974–75, 1975–76, and 1976–77).

With the West German national team he would win the 1972 European Championship and the 1974 World Cup.

As a manager, he would lead Germany to the 1992 European Championship and to two consecutive Quarterfinal appearances at the World Cup (1994 and 1998).

His relationship with USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann is the link for why this deal is happening. Vogts coached Klinsmann both as an assistant for West Germany and when he was the full-time coached of the German national team. Vogts was also the Special Advisor to Klinsmann during the 2014 World Cup.

With this deal, it appears that the USMNT are looking to improve on game tactics. Vogts was brought up in more of the traditional of football, based more on defense and strategy than improvisation and scoring massive quantities of goals. Although it runs counter to what Klinsmann has been preaching since he became the manager of the USMNT back in 2011 having someone from a different might in the end prove to be beneficial for US Soccer.

There are some red flags though with Vogts. Although he was successful as a manager with Germany, his other coaching tenures have been less than memorable. As the manager of Kuwait (2001-2002,) Scotland (2002-2004,) Nigeria (2007-2008,) and Azerbaijan (2008-2014) he had a combined record of 32 wins, 38 draws, and 58 losses.

Aside from taking Nigeria to the African Cup of Nations in 2008 (where they were eliminated in the quarterfinals, their worst showing since 1982) Vogts failed to take any of the four teams to their respective top regional tournaments or the World Cup.

The Vogts signing seems to indicate that US Soccer will continue to look at the German model of building a footballing program. While there are things that can certainly be taken from the great work the German FA has done (such as identifying players at a young age, scouting abroad, improving training and coaching at youth levels,) it must be careful with mixing German attitude with what is already in place US Soccer.

Building a soccer club is not a “one-size” fits all model, there is no one correct way of doing things.  While one can take certain pieces of information from different systems, the program being set up has be attuned to the culture of the country, its resources available, and its history. If Klinsmann and US Soccer can use certain points of the German model and use them to hone the work that has already been done then it should be a success. But if the system is inorganic it will not succeed.

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