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Miroslav Klose criticizes greed of youth coaches

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Bayern Munich’s U-17 coach, World Cup record goal-scorer Miroslav Klose spoke candidly about his determination as a young player and his priorities as a coach today.

1. FC Koeln U17 v Bayern Muenchen U17 - B Juniors German Championship Semi Final Leg One
Miroslav Klose watches a game between Bayern Munich’s and FC Köln’s U-17 teams in Cologne, June 8, 2019.
Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

Bayern Munich’s U-17 coach, former German international and World Cup record goal-scorer Miroslav Klose has no patience for youth coaches whose number one priority is success — namely, their own. In an interview with the DPA (via Transfermarkt), Klose insisted that a youth coach has to think “solely and exclusively in the players’ interest”:

How do I strengthen his strengths and work on his weaknesses? I have the feeling that many youth coaches themselves want to rise up in professional soccer because they know that they can earn more money there. As I said: that’s only a feeling. But whoever collects titles in the youth branch naturally commends himself for higher positions — at least, many think that.

Klose notably refused a promotion to Bayern’s U-19 team last summer, which he felt was premature for his development as a coach at the time. In the end it proved to be a footnote in an eventful summer for the club, but at the time some wondered whether Klose might leave if he could not remain the U-17 coach. On the contrary, Klose expressed his gratitude toward Bayern Munich:

I think it’s super that FC Bayern has made it possible for me [to earn his coaching license]. I can take a lot away from the experience.

Klose feels he understands “how players feel in stressful situations and how one can deal with them.” He recounted from his own you how he “subordinated everything” to his goal of becoming a professional. “I didn’t go to clubs, but rather told everyone, “I want to be a professional soccer player.”

Klose famously began his professional career quite late, at the age of 20, when he transferred from his hometown club of SG Blaubach-Diedelkopf — then in the seventh division — to the reserve team of FC Homburg in 1998. He moved to FC Kaiserslautern the next year. Even in today’s soccer landscape, Klose is confident “that I would make it again. Because I have this attitude, this unbreakable will that’s somehow inside me.”

Currently, Klose plans to earn his DFB Football Coaching License, which is the DFB’s equivalent to the UEFA Pro License. “The trick is the whole package,” Klose remarked about acquiring all the skills needed to coach at the highest level. “That has to be my goal in a certain sense.”