(Reuters) - United States head coach Juergen Klinsmann, facing a tough World Cup challenge at next year’s finals in Brazil, has agreed a four-year contract extension through 2018, the U.S. Soccer Federation said on Thursday.
As part of the deal the former Germany international and World Cup winner becomes technical director for U.S. Soccer.
“I am very fortunate to continue the work we started more than two and a half years ago,” Klinsmann said in a statement on the federation’s official website (www.ussoccer.com).
“It’s exciting to see the progress we have made, and we continue to make improvements on all fronts.”
The U.S. have been drawn in a difficult Group G at the 2014 World Cup along with Klinsmann’s native Germany, who he took to the 2006 semi-finals as manager, Portugal and Ghana.
Klinsmann has enjoyed a successful year by guiding the U.S. to a fifth Gold Cup title, winning all of their six matches in the tournament, before securing a World Cup place and he has now been given a broader canvas on which to develop the game.
“The role of technical director is a huge challenge and also a huge opportunity as we look to keep connecting the dots to the youth national teams, coaching education, the Development Academy and the grassroots efforts in this country,” he said.
U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati added: ”One of the reasons we hired Juergen as our head coach was to advance the program forward and we’ve seen the initial stages of that happening on the field and also off the field in various areas.
“In the past two years he has built a strong foundation from the senior team down to the youth teams and we want to continue to build upon that success.”
The U.S. open their World Cup campaign on June 16 against Ghana at the Estadio Das Dunas in Natal before facing Portugal in Manaus on June 22 and Germany in Recife four days later.
After the World Cup draw earlier this month, Klinsmann said the challenge ”couldn’t get any more difficult or any bigger and U.S. Soccer said on Thursday it was a “fearsome” group.
Writing by Tony Goodson; Editing by Ken Ferris and