Jurgen Klinsmann hasn't managed the United States in a single World Cup match, but he is already contracted to manage the team through the next two tournaments after agreeing to a four-year extension with the USSF. The contract extension will take Klinsmann through the 2018 World Cup, at which point he will have led the team for seven years. It also means that U.S. Soccer is all-in on Klinsmann and not just Klinsmann the manager, but Klinsmann the revolutionary.
Klinsmann made it clear to the USSF that he wanted a new contract before this summer's World Cup. It was important to him that he have a vote of confidence from the federation and that they believe in the direction he is taking the program, regardless of the Americans' results in Brazil. That's exactly what he got.
There will be fears that Klinsmann's extension brings into play the second-cycle syndrome that has done in dozens of managers around the world, and even U.S. ones too. Bruce Arena led the U.S. to the World Cup quarterfinals in 2002 to earn a second cycle, but four years later the U.S. had only managed one point at the 2006 World Cup. Bob Bradley also got a second stint to lead the U.S., but after a loss to Panama in the 2011 Gold Cup and thrashing at the hands of Mexico in the final, the USSF dropped him in favor of Klinsmann.
The USSF has shown a propensity for giving managers a second cycle, with Klinsmann being the third consecutive U.S. coach to be tabbed for more than four years, but the timing of the extension makes him unique. Whereas Arena and Bradley were not asked to return for a second cycle until after their World Cup success -- and Bradley only returned because the U.S. couldn't land Klinsmann -- this time the USSF has moved to extend their manager early on.
Klinsmann took over the U.S. promising to change the team and the program as much as get results. He repeatedly called it a process -- to change the way the U.S. played, their attitude and how they developed players.
After a rocky start, and his fair share of losses, Klinsmann's vision began to take shape in the summer of 2012 and really began to show itself in 2013. The U.S. had one of their best years ever, winning friendlies, the Gold Cup and, most importantly, dominating in World Cup qualifying. They took back the title of CONCACAF's best and despite being drawn into a difficult World Cup group with Germany, Portugal and Ghana, there is optimism that the U.S. can advance. That Americans believe that the U.S. can get out of that group is proof of the way Klinsmann has changed the attitude about the team, even if proof that the attitude within the team has changed will have to wait until the Brazil.
In giving Klinsmann an extension, the USSF is saying they don't need to wait for proof. They believe in Klinsmann's "process" and have even added the title of "technical director" in a show that his culture change at U.S. Soccer goes beyond wins and losses.The manager has said for months now that he thinks his transformation will take more than the three years he will have had when his first contract ended. He wanted four more years and now he has it.
Klinsmann's revolution will be a seven years war.