USA football breakthrough 'excites' Jurgen Klinsmann

Jurgen Klinsmann USA

USA head coach was speaking after his side were knocked out of the World Cup.

USA head coach Jürgen Klinsmann said he was "very excited" to see that millions of Americans stopped work early to watch their national football team in the World Cup Round of 16.

The United States crashed out of the tournament in a dramatic 2-1 extra-time loss to Belgium, but the grit and determination shown by Klinsmann's men throughout the competition has captured the attention of the nation.

Now, the German-born coach says the game is "breaking through" in the USA.

"I'm very excited about seeing soccer breaking through and getting a lot of recognition in the United States now," Klinsmann said. "The game has always been very, very popular in the United States, millions of children play soccer, it's popular in high school college and the professional league that does very well." 

Although the beautiful game is widely played by young people in the United States, its failure to catch on has in part been due to the country's lack of success on the international stage. Klinsmann believes that the 2014 squad has sparked the USA's interest in soccer.

"Like in every country, the locomotive of getting to the next level is the national team," he said. "The national team, whenever a World Cup comes along, has to do well."

"It has to inspire the home country to jump on board and I think this team inspired the fans back at home to jump on board and have fun. To enjoy those dramatic games that they saw, and it all shows you that soccer is breaking through and deserves recognition."

With home-grown professional sports such as baseball and basketball remaining hugely popular in the US it will be tough for football to truly catch on in the country. However, with the inspiring play of Klinsmann's side and the continued growth of Major League Soccer, there appears to be a bright future for the game.

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