Jürgen Klinsmann, the accomplished striker who won the 1990 FIFA World Cup with Germany and returned to coach the national team to a third-place finish in 2006, will join ESPN as a studio analyst for the 2010 FIFA World Cup (June 11 – July 11). Klinsmann will contribute to ESPN and ABC’s studio coverage of the tournament in the United States, appearing on pre-match, halftime and post-match shows from South Africa, including the nightly World Cup Live news and information program and SportsCenter.
Recognized as one of the world’s top strikers during his 16 seasons of top-tier professional soccer in Germany, Italy and England, Klinsmann played in three FIFA World Cups – 1990, 1994 and 1998. He was the first player to score at least three goals in three World Cup events and remains Germany’s second all-time World Cup goal scorer with 11. In 2004, Klinsmann returned to coach the German national team, a position he vacated after a successful 2006 FIFA World Cup campaign in which Germany was the host nation.
In addition to Klinsmann, former South African national team player Shaun Bartlett, who played in the 1998 FIFA World Cup, and Robbie Mustoe, Middlesbrough’s longest serving player, will both serve as television analysts for ESPN during the FIFA World Cup. With Klinsmann (1990, ’94, ’98) and Bartlett (1998), ESPN’s English-language coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in the U.S. will feature analysts with combined experience of 11 FIFA World Cup tournaments. Others: Efan Ekoku (1994), Ruud Gullit (1990), John Harkes (1990, ’94), Alexi Lalas (1994, ’98) and Steve McManaman (1998).
“Very few people in the world possess the first-hand knowledge and experience of playing and coaching in a FIFA World Cup match, and Jürgen is one of them” said Jed Drake, ESPN executive producer, 2010 FIFA World Cup. “The addition of Jürgen, Shaun and Robbie to our team will enhance our presentation of this seminal sports event to fans in the United States.”
Klinsmann added: “I’m extremely happy to be part of the ESPN FIFA World Cup team, and I hope that I can give American viewers insight into the world’s greatest game. Living in the U.S for more than 10 years, I’ve seen soccer grow incrementally and I think ESPN’s coverage of this exciting World Cup will take it to a new level.”
Assignments for other ESPN commentators for the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be announced at a later date. Biographical highlights:
One of Germany’s all-time greatest soccer players, Klinsmann started his professional career at the age of seventeen at Stuttgarter Kickers, a second division club at the time. In 1984 he joined VfB Stuttgart of the German first division team. Klinsmann also played for Inter Milan (1989-1992) in the Italian Serie A, AS Monaco (1992-‘94) in France, Barclays Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur (1994-’95, 1997-’98), and Germany’s Bayern Munich (1995-’97).
On July 2004, Klinsmann returned to Germany as the new coach of the national team. He aggressively revamped the squad, establishing a youth movement by replacing aging players with younger ones and instituting a national team selection policy that was solely based on performance.
Leading up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Klinsmann’s coaching was widely panned by critics who questioned his personnel moves, coaching tactics and his decision to commute to Germany from his home in the United States, where he still lives with his family. Once the event began, the host nation’s team performances silenced the critics. The team’s spirit, creative and attacking style of play and eventual third-place finish renewed national pride and restored Germany’s reputation as a top soccer nation.
Due to his team’s performance in the FIFA World Cup, Klinsmann was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany), and has been called “Kaiser,” German for “Emperor,” a term reserved for the nation’s elite group of soccer minds/players. He has also served as a consultant with the Los Angeles Galaxy, a Major League Soccer club.
Bartlett’s professional soccer career started in 1992 in his hometown of Cape Town, South Africa, where he played for the Cape Town Spurs. Bartlett then went on to play for the Colorado Rapids and the New York MetroStars (now New York Red Bulls) in Major League Soccer. Other stops in his career include FC Zurich, Charlton Athletic, Kaizer Chiefs, and Bloemfontein Celtic.
He is currently the second all-time leading scorer for the South African national team with 28 goals in 74 appearances. Bartlett helped his country to the 1996 African Cup of Nations title, barely five years after the ban on South Africa’s participation in international sports was lifted. He played in the 1998 FIFA World Cup, scoring two goals.
Mustoe began his soccer career as a junior with Oxford United. He made his Football League debut in the 1986–87 season, and played nearly 100 league matches for the club. He joined Middlesbrough FC in 1990 and became a consistent player for the team for 12 years. After his last year in 2002, Mustoe had played in over 450 games for Middlesbrough. He played a season at Charlton Athletic before ending his professional career in League One with Sheffield Wednesday.
Mustoe began his ESPN television career in January 2008, and has provided analysis for ESPN International’s coverage of UEFA Champions League matches. He also serves as studio analyst for ESPN2’s coverage of the Barclays Premier League.