Revolution standout and U.S. Soccer veteran Benny Feilhaber this week reacted with optimism — and a twinge of nostalgia — to Jurgen Klinsmann replacing Bob Bradley atop the men’s national team.
“Bob was the coach that gave me the opportunity with the national team for the first time, so I’m indebted to him and very grateful for that,” said Feilhaber, who has made 38 appearances for the USMNT. “So it’s sad to see him go. He’s been a good coach for the national team, and someone that’s always believed in me.”
Of course, the U.S. hadn’t lived up to lofty expectations in recent years, crashing out of the 2010 World Cup and falling to archrival Mexico in this year’s Gold Cup final.
“Moving forward, Jurgen is obviously a guy that’s got a great knowledge for the game,” Feilhaber said. “He’s played in a bunch of top leagues; he’s managed at the top leagues. So he’s a guy that’s going to be looking to build the team from here on out, and keep improving our team and hopefully create his own success.”
Klinsmann’s first chance will come Aug. 10, when the U.S. meets Mexico in an exhibition game.
“I’d like to think that we’re on the rise,” Feilhaber said. “It’s not a good thing when you’ve plateaued and you’re not improving yourselves and your team. I think the Gold Cup was a speed bump.”