By Michael Lewis
Front Row Soccer Editor
A Klinsmann is expected to take a hands-on approach with a U.S. national team.
Goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann is expected to backstop the United States during the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship in Costa Rica. He is the son of ousted U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
During a conference call with the media Thursday, U.S. U-20 head coach Tab Ramos indicated that the 6-4, 185-lb. Klinsmann likely will start for the Americans in their Group B opener against Panama in Estadio Saprissa Saturday.
Klinsmann, who turns 20 April 8, attends the University of California.
J.T. Marcinkowski is the other keeper on the squad.
“We’ve had very good goalkeeper competition in this cycle in particular,” Ramos said. “Both Jonathan Klinsmann and J.T. Marcinkowski have done a great job in terms of competing with each other over the last six to nine months.”
“At this point, Jonathan Klinsmann looks to be the one to be ahead as the starter for the tournament. Jonathan is really coming along well. I know that he’s had some training opportunities in Europe, some training on the side not just with the University of California, so he’s been doing a lot of homework. At this point, both goalkeepers look really good, but I think Jonathan will be our starter starting Saturday.”
The Americans meet Haiti at Estadio Nacional in San Jose Tuesday, Feb. 21 and Saint Kitts and Nevis back at Saprissa Friday, Feb. 24. The top two teams from each of the three groups advance to the classification stage, which will determine the four teams that will represent CONCACAF at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea May 20-June 11.
Ramos said the side is well-prepared for the tournament.
“What keeps me going is that I still feel a little bit nervous for our first game,” he said. “I know how difficult that is and that tells me that if I’m nervous, chances are we are well prepared.
“Our team will be much better prepared than we’ve been in the past. What matters is how the team shows on the field. I’m sure that we’ll start the tournament on a positive note.”