Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said the USA have something to prove at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ despite being pooled in a daunting Group G with his native Germany.
Klinsmann, who signed a four-year contract extension on Thursday, said the goal in Brazil of the USA team is to advance out their group which also includes Portugal and Ghana.
"Brazil is a proving point," said Klinsmann. "Now we are going to prove to the world that we are improving, that we are getting better. We are ambitious enough to say that we are going to the second round and that's what we're trying to do and we will go for it."
Klinsmann has been at the US helm for two years and will be in charge for Brazil having steered the team to top spot in CONCACAF qualifying. The former World Cup winner, 49, said he now feels better about the Americans chances after last week describing the team's World Cup draw as "the worst of the worst". Ghana eliminated the Americans at the round of 16 stage four years ago.
"We all know it is a tough group," he said. "We want to play eye-to-eye with them and not just sit back and play counter-break football." Klinsmann said he wanted to get the new deal signed before the World Cup so he can continue to build and grow the American programme.
We are going to prove to the world that we are improving, that we are getting better.
He defended the decision to sign the extension now instead of waiting until after the World Cup. "I am not looking for any kind of comfort zone going into the World Cup," he insisted. "A coach will always be measured by his results. I am a very ambitious person and I always have high expectations."
US Soccer president Sunil Gulati said regardless of what happens in Brazil officials felt a long-term commitment was the best way to go. "All of this doesn't come down to one game or one missed shot or one save," Gulati said. "Jurgen is a unique coach... we like what's been happening with the programme over the last couple of years. It has been a very successful two and a half years."
Klinsmann will also become the technical director for all US national squads which will allow him to work with lower level coaches and younger players in the USA programme. The US won a fifth Gold Cup title this year as well as stunning Germany 4-3 in a friendly in June.
Klinsmann said wins like those help provide the foundation for a winning mentality that he says will get stronger over the next few years. "It is easier to get everybody pulling in the same direction if they know you are long term here," Klinsmann said. "It gives us all that sense that we are thinking through certain periods and not just counting down the days until one starts in Brazil."