Jurgen Klinsmann has shaken up his coaching staff, hiring Berti Vogts as a special advisor and adding Tab Ramos as an assistant, while moving Martin Vasquez out. Vasquez had been Klinsmann's top assistant, but will now be given other duties within U.S. Soccer.
Vogts is currently the manager of Azerbaijan, a role he will keep, but will assist Klinsmann through the World Cup. Vogts won the World Cup and Euros as a player, before managing Klinsmann and Germany to the Euro 1996 title. Probably most importantly to Klinsmann, he has managed against Portugal twice in the last 18 months and is very familiar with Germany, giving the U.S. more insight to two of their three World Cup group stage opponents.
Ramos has been rising up the U.S. Soccer ranks so for him to add senior team assistant to his current duties as U-20 manager is no surprise. That's especially true considering Klinsmann's emphasis on youth development.
The move to push Vasquez out comes as a major surprise. While Vasquez certainly has his detractors -- and Vasquez has given them good reason to doubt him -- he has been Klinsmann's top assistant not just with the U.S., but with Bayern Munich before that. The two are very close and Vasquez was his Klinsmann's first hire when the German took the U.S. job. Regardless of your opinion on Vasquez, he seemed to be Klinsmann's guy.
The biggest surprise in this reorganization is the timing. For any team to make any coaching changes three months before the World Cup is unusual, but this isn't one change or a minor change -- it's a pretty significant overhaul.
Considering the mess the U.S. has been tactically in recent matches, some sort of shakeup makes sense, although nobody would have anticipated something to this extent. That Klinsmann has the security of a second cycle with his new contract extension certainly makes this kind of risk easier to take too, but it's still a huge one. It also looks like a good one.
On paper, the U.S. coaching staff, at least for the World Cup, just got better.