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U.S. U20 keeper Jonathan Klinsmann is training with Stuttgart

Written by Will Parchman

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When the U.S. U20 MNT ran through 2017 World Cup qualifying with its first CONCACAF tournament title in history, Jonathan Klinsmann was largely the man between the pipes. Klinsmann started five of the U.S.’s six games in the competition, including backstopping a historic 1-0 win over Mexico and the shootout win in the finale over Honduras. Klinsmann wasn’t asked to do too much in the way of shot-stopping in Costa Rica thanks to a stifling defense in front of him, but he did manage to capture the tournament’s Golden Gloves honor.

Klinsmann was one of just four college players on the 20-man roster after completing his sophomore season at Cal in the fall. And it would appear he might not make it back to Berkeley as a junior.

As we speak, Klinsmann is in Stuttgart training with the first team for the next two and a half weeks. Considering his father and the profile he established in qualifying, this is perhaps the least surprising news we’ve heard all month.

The news item notes Klinsmann is there in an effort to help gear up for the looming U20 World Cup, which opens on May 20 in South Korea (the U.S. got a relatively favorable if sneakily difficult draw). Which is undoubtedly true, especially considering the restrictive offseason training rules regimented by the NCAA. But could this also be a bit of a trial with intent to sign situation? We’ll see. It’s undoubtedly a bonus for Stuttgart that Klinsmann is available without a transfer fee, which more or less makes his addition risk-free. And Cal’s history producing keepers doesn’t hurt their case in terms of Klinsmann’s development the last two years. Current pros David Bingham, Stefan Frei, Eric Kronberg and Josh Saunders were all Golden Bears. Bingham is currently in USMNT camp and Frei just won an MLS Cup.

Klinsmann is raw, as you’d expect from any keeper his age, but his strengths – primarily his net coverage and quality organizational capacity – could well work him into a European deal in his father’s country of origin. And it doesn’t hurt to have that last name help open some doors.

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