In summer 2011, U.S. Men's National Team fitness coach Darcy Norman revealed to me that USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann was working towards a helicopter pilot's license and now in 2013, Klinsmann is regularly flying himself to work via helicopter, as reported by Sports Illustrated on Jan. 28.
Klinsmann, who makes $2.5 million annually, flies himself to and from his home in Orange County to USMNT training camp in Los Angeles in order to spend more time with his family.
Norman is the Director of Performance Innovation Team for Athletes' Performance, who help train the USMNT, and he's also a long-time colleague of Klinsmann dating back to his time with the German National Team and Bayern Munich. Norman explained why Klinsmann, the German USMNT head coach with a huge job on his hands, would take the time and initiative to learn to fly a helicopter.
"It’s been a dream of [Klinsmann] his whole life and something he’s wanted to do since he was a kid," said Norman. "Through his playing career and all the different things that come into your life, he’s never had the opportunity, but recently the opportunity provided itself and he jumped on it. That’s just the kind of guy he is. He’s got his goals, the things he wants to achieve and he’s always evaluating it and trying to be better.
[Klinsmann] is a great guy. He wants the best. He wants to turn over every rock to make sure that we’re doing everything possible to improve the success of the team. He’s never satisfied with the status quo - he’s always wants to be better, get better, improve all the people around him.
The biggest thing is that I’ve never really seen him in a bad mood," continued Norman. "He always looks for and emphasizes the positive. If something goes wrong, instead of, ‘You should have done this,’ it’s, ‘Next time, let’s think about this.’ He’s always looking to the future, never dwelling on the past. He’s constantly learning to try to stimulate himself, whether it’s learning another language, learning how to fly a helicopter - he always wants to improve upon himself. He’s a very good influence all around."
Tonight, the USMNT face Canada in a friendly at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and Univision Deportes. Click here for the "Camp Cupcake" roster.
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