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Steve Cherundolo named Hannover assistant coach

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Steve Cherundolo has been named an assistant coach at Hannover 96. The former United States international retired from playing just last year and now is part of the club's first team staff.

The situation leading to Cherundolo's hiring isn't exactly ideal. The club are struggling in the Bundesliga, having gone 13 matches without a win and are just two points clear of relegation. That led to the sacking of manager Tayfun Korkut, who has been replaced by former Germany international Michael Frontzeck.

With Korkut out and Frontzeck in, Hannover also had to hire some new staff and they tabbed Cherundolo. The American is a fixture at Hannover, joining the team in 1999 and spending his entire playing career with the club. He helped them get promoted to the Bundesliga and served as the club's captain. Following his retirement, he joined the team as an academy coach, but now is making the jump to the first team.

Cherundolo has gone all-in as a coach since retirement, which surprises no one. His teammates said he would make a good coach when he was a player and he's committed to the profession since retiring. In addition to coaching the club's U-15 team, he's also joined Jurgen Klinsmann's staff for training camp and has helped coach there.

While many Americans have started their coaching career in the U.S. and with MLS, many of them successfully, there aren't many in Europe. It's a tough profession and right now, even tougher for an American, but Cherundolo has a way in and a wonderful opportunity to succeed there. If he can do so, maybe that will give other Americans opportunities in Europe. It wouldn't be the first time his success helped change the perception of Americans abroad, having already done so as a player.

Obviously, this isn't how Cherundolo wanted to end up on the first team staff, with the club struggling and fighting relegation, but he's there now and hopefully he can help keep the club up as another step in what is a long and successful coaching career.