TEMPE, Ariz. -- With the time until the World Cup in Brazil now reasonably being measure in weeks, most teams are still adjusting their squads. Jurgen Klinsmann's USA side adjusted its coaching staff Sunday, hiring Berti Vogts as a special adviser, promoting Tab Ramos to assistant coach and reassigning Martin Vasquez to other duties.
It's a significant change to a bench staff that officially includes only two assistants and a goalkeeping coach, but Klinsmann was typically confident when asked about the change before a training session Monday.
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"Not worried at all, no," he said when asked if he was concerned about making such a change so close to the World Cup. "There are moments, it’s not about the time, it’s about doing what is best for us as an entire group going forward. Half a year before, a year before or two days before the first game if you have to do something you’ve got to do it, and that’s my job."
The pressure is high for that first game when the U.S. takes on Ghana with Klinsmann repeating that his goal for the team is to take it out of the group stage at the World Cup. There are only a few games left to prepare for that match, including Wednesday's match in Arizona against Mexico and a series of summer friendlies. The first of those friendlies comes against an Azerbaijan side coached by Vogts.
Klinsmann said he has wanted to work with the former Scotland and Ghana manager since 2006, lobbying for him to be technical director when Klinsmann guided his homeland to third place.
The change, Klinsmann believes, will help the U.S. get past the group stage, and while it may seem like a hard decision, he says it's the kind of decision he is paid to make.
"With Martin, it’s simply a professional shift," Klinsmann said. "I have to make decisions with my staff to put them into the spots where I think they are the best in order to hopefully do well this summer in Brazil. Sometimes it’s a shift that doesn’t please everybody, but this is part of the head coach’s role.
"You’re not there to please everybody, you are there to put people hopefully in the best positions, get a job done. The job is getting out of the group stage this summer."
The change in assistants didn't come from any of the players, according to the manager. "No, no, not at all, not at all. No, they’re full of appreciation for everything Martin has done and keeps doing for us," Klinsmann said.
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