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If there’s one area Klinsmann fears the United States lags behind the rest of the world, it’s in the amount of time kids spend kicking the ball around _ especially on their own. Basketball has a thriving pick-up culture in America; soccer doesn’t.

“That has been the difference even on the highest level when you have a men’s national team,” Klinsmann said. “What are their technical capabilities? What is their vision on the field? What is their spontaneous decisions _ are they making the right calls? Can they deal with emotions on the field?”

Then there’s the puzzle of adopting a universal style of play in the U.S. In soccer powers, there’s an identity all the way from the national team down to kids first kicking a ball.

“You have such a melting pot in this country,” Klinsmann said, “so many different opinions and ideas floating out there.”

But he also believes a national team style that reflects the country’s culture can filter down to the youth level.

“You don’t like to react to what other people do,” he said of Americans, and that suggests a strategy of imposing a style on opponents.

Addressing the great interest in the U.S. women at the World Cup final last month, he said: “I think this is how America wanted to see their girls play that game.”

By the way, U.S. Soccer does have a youth technical director in former U.S. national team captain Claudio Reyna, and Klinsmann plans to work closely with him.

Long connected to the job, Klinsmann finally was announced as the U.S. coach Friday. He was introduced three days later at a news conference in Manhattan.

Klinsmann said he had several opportunities in the past year to coach big European clubs or national teams, but didn’t want to leave his home in California. He and U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati insisted that control was not the issue when they failed to come to an agreement in the past.

“I reached a comfort level with Sunil where I really think it’s not about a paper anymore,” Klinsmann said of not being able to get a deal done in writing last summer.

Gulati said the firing of Bradley wasn’t simply a reaction to the Gold Cup disappointment.

“It’s not a single game or a single result,” he said. “It’s where the program is, how comfortable we feel in the direction that it’s going _ based partly on results, partly on looking at the last year.”

Klinsmann spoke to five or six players over the weekend and plans to get in touch with the rest Tuesday. The U.S. team has just nine days before its next game, against Mexico in Philadelphia on Aug. 10. Klinsmann expects to announce the roster Wednesday.

He plans to take a few months before picking his staff to see who’s available and what the squad needs.

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