The Wardrobe is the Key to Klinsmann’s Inner Workings

Jurgen’s Clothes Explain the Man

Jurgen Klinsmann, the coach of the United States, is an enigma. From the perspective of nationality, we ask: Is he German? Is he American? Even more befuddling is his temperament. Fans and press alike struggle to tell when he’s happy, sad, or angry. Linguistically, the crucial inflection in an American speaker’s voice when he’s being sarcastic isn’t there. We often struggle to tell when he’s making a joke.

Luckily, there is a window into Jurgen’s soul: his clothes. After carefully studying his attire on the sidelines with the USMNT for the past three years, I’ve devised a mini-guide to help you figure out Klinsmann. Basically, you can guess at his mood by how he dresses. Here are some examples.

The Defensive Beige Maginot Line

U.S. Men's National Soccer Team Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann - Press Conference

Almost gray, but not quite. An assistant failed to inform Klinsmann that the colors on the US flag are not red, beige, and blue. Does this explain the demotion of Martin Vazquez? Possibly. Nevertheless, when Jurgen dons beige attire that is neither a windbreaker nor a jacket, don’t expect candid or lengthy answers. You’d have better luck introducing yourself as Brian Strauss and getting him to join you for a drink and an off-the-record conversation.

The Dual National Cooing Dark Blue Polo

Turkey v United States

Klinsmann is the perfect national team coach in the era of uncommitted adolescent dual nationals. His text messaging bill would put your adolescent daughter’s to shame, but it’s all kosher so long as Uncle Sunil is paying and Scandinavian and German 18-year-olds are one-time switching to the U.S. Still, borderline flirty texts are not enough—Klinsmann, a resident of Southern California, knows you sometimes have to wow youngsters with your chic threads. That’s why Klinsmann dons a smart blue polo for one-on-one sessions. The dark blue says “You’re going to the World Cup” but the tactful, thin white lines along the collar whisper “Wink.”

The Angry Arsene Wenger Impersonation

Austria v USA - International Friendly

Nobody throws a sideline fit in an oversized winter jacket like Arsene Wenger. Except Jurgen Klinsmann. Unsurprisingly, he only wins trophies when it’s summer in the northern hemisphere.

The Khaki and Trainers Wallflower Trainer

Azerbaijan v United States

Sometimes, we all just want to disappear. As a national team coach, Jurgen sometimes has obligations where, you get the sense, he’d rather be doing something else. It’s easy to think that his dress combination of khaki dress pants with running shoes is a lazy combo any guy could throw on in the morning, but it’s really so much more. The khakis, somewhat formal, are a sign of respect, but the sneakers give him the opportunity to take off when nobody’s looking. Catch Klinnsy if you can.

The Blood Platelet Monitoring Trackstar

USA Training & Press Conference - 2014 FIFA World Cup

“How many white blood cells did you have when you woke up this morning? You dont know!!! What!! So unprofessional!!” Okay, so Jurgen is perhaps 10% less intense about physical conditioning than those invented soundbites, but when he puts his dark blue shorts and athletic shirt (that maybe shrunk a little in the dryer?), watch out. If you did not finish in the top half of the beep test and are an American soccer icon over 30, stay away from Klinsi as much as possible. He just may cut you.

Also, further south, he has really long socks but they are pushed down. Why the soccer socks and not some ankle-length apparel? Rumor has it that Jurgen likes the long socks to be able to pull up quickly in case he starts to feel embarrassed by his slightly concave shins. Did you notice how slightly concave his shins were before? You do now. Quick, tug those socks! We’ve noticed!

The Full-Suited Dealmaker

2014 FIFA World Cup Final Draw

FIFA is full of scoundrels but they know how to have a good time. If you’re going to deal with the Devil, at least look dapper. That’s why Klinsmann, a World Cup champion who has been around the block, keeps a tailored black suit and sleek-looking combination of a silver tie with baby blue shirt—a far cry from sneakers and khakis. It’s almost as if he knew FIFA was about to screw him royally with the draw, but, proudly,confidently, and arrogantly (?), he decided that whether he was going to succeed or go down with the ship, he’d do it in style, like a true captain.

From one day to the next, it is impossible to predict Klinsmann’s attitude. He may turn on the charm, he may be pissy. He may be the angry German when his players take a sloppy touch, or the laid-back California dude when his connecting flight at São Paulo is delayed. All we definitely know is that he will wear sneakers. The rest is up in the air.