During his five years at the helm of the U.S. national team, Jurgen Klinsmann consistently implored his players to challenge themselves on the cutthroat proving grounds of Europe rather than be big fish in the small pond that is MLS.
But Jonathan Klinsmann, the German World Cup winner’s 23-year-old son, has chosen to chuck the Old World to continue his career in the United States’ top league, with the LA Galaxy announcing Thursday that it had signed the former Hertha Berlin reserve from Swiss outfit St. Gallen:
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) August 20, 2020
“I think there’s always a dream of being able to play at home,” said Jonathan Klinsmann, who was born in Munich but raised in his mother’s native Southern California. “It’s been pretty surreal for me being able to sign for the team that I’ve been supporting since I was young
He turned pro with Hertha, which his father briefly coached this past season, in 2017 after playing two seasons at the University of California, Berkeley and helping lead the U.S. to the quarterfinals of that year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea.
He made just one first team appearance for Hertha — a Europa League match against Swedish side Ostersund in which he saved a penalty — before leaving for Switzerland last year. The Galaxy acquired Klinsmann, who never made a league appearance for St. Gallen, on a free transfer.
It remains to be seen how the younger Klinsmann will be received by Galaxy fans. As a 17-year-old U.S. youth national teamer, he mocked club icon and all-time scoring leader Landon Donovan on social media after his father left Donovan off the U.S. squad for the 2014 World Cup. Jonathan Klinsmann appears to be third on the Galaxy’s depth chart at keeper, behind starter David Bingham and another 23-year-old in Justin Vom Steeg.
As USMNT coach from 2011-16, Jurgen Klinsmann criticized two of the team’s most important players, midfielder Michael Bradley and attacker Clint Dempsey, for leaving Roma and Tottenham, respectively, to return to MLS before the 2014 World Cup.
“I made it clear with Clint’s move back and Michael’s move back that it’s going to be very difficult to keep the same level that they experienced at the places where they were,” he said a few months after the tournament, in which the Americans advanced to the knockout stage. “It’s just reality. It’s just being honest.”
Jurgen Klinsmann was fired as U.S. coach after the team lost its first two games of the final round of World Cup qualifying for Russia 2018. The Americans never dug themselves out of that hole, breaking a streak of seven consecutive World Cup appearances dating to 1990.
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