Jurgen Klinsmann has been named to FIFA's World Coach of the Year shortlist. It is the first time he has been shortlisted for the award and also the first time that the United States men's manager has been shortlisted.
Klinsmann led the U.S. to the knockout stages of the World Cup, getting through a tough group that included Germany, Portugal and Ghana. He also earned wins against South Korea, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Nigeria and the Czech Republic, while his only losses came to Ukraine and then Germany and Belgium in the World Cup.
It is fair to question Klinsmann's inclusion on the list, though. He made the knockout stages, but Bob Bradley did the same four years ago and Bruce Arena led the U.S. to the quarterfinals in 2002. Getting that far is hardly groundbreaking for the Americans and it's not as if they beat anyone outstanding in the tournament, They didn't have a great non-World Cup accomplishment in the year either. Frankly, if Klinsmann hadn't been one of the world's best strikers, a major name in global football and regularly conducting media, he wouldn't have made the shortlist.
Regardless of whether Klinsmann's honor is totally deserved, that doesn't make it any less cool and it doesn't mean he didn't do a good job. The backlash against his inclusion doesn't mean he did a bad job either. Most would agree that Klinsmann has been fine, but hardly groundbreaking for the U.S.
Klinsmann has said that he intends to change the way the U.S. plays and its entire system, something that takes more than three years to do. That is why he got a new contract through 2018 before this World Cup even began, and the next four years will do a lot more to establish legacy in the U.S. than the previous three.
While Klinsmann is the first U.S. men's manager to make the shortlist, Pia Sundhage wasn't just shortlisted for FIFA's Women's Coach of the Year award in 2012, she won it.
World Coach of the Year shortlist
Carlo Ancelotti (Italy/Real Madrid), Antonio Conte (Italy/Juventus/Italy national team), Pep Guardiola (Spain/Bayern Munich), Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany/U.S. national team), Joachim Low (Germany/Germany national team), Jose Mourinho (Portugal/Chelsea), Manuel Pellegrini (Chile/Manchester City), Alejandro Sabella (Argentina/Argentina national team), Diego Simeone (Argentina/Atletico Madrid), Louis van Gaal (Netherlands/Netherlands national team/Manchester United).