Summary

  • USA face Argentina in Copa America last four.
  • Three Germany-born players in current USMNT squad.
  • Klinsmann U.S. coach since 2011.

When the United States of America take to the pitch to face Lionel Messi's Argentina in Tuesday's Copa America Centenario semi-final, there will be several reasons for Germany to also be proud.

Jürgen Klinsmann's appointment as USA coach five years ago marked a watershed moment in the USMNT's history. The Bundesliga legend and former Germany coach used the quirks of history to bring in players born in his native country and wrap them in the flag of his adopted nation.

bundesliga.com looks at Klinsmann and his trio of players who have made a success of their club and international careers on either side of the Atlantic.

John Anthony Brooks

Born: Berlin

Bundesliga link: Hertha Berlin (current club)

The USA's answer to Jerome Boateng has more in common than just an imposing physique with the Germany centre-back. "Berlin is my city, I grew up here. So Hertha are also my team," Brooks - who joined Hertha aged 14 - once said, but he quickly established the USA would be his country. Though he made a single appearance at youth level for Germany, Brooks simultaneously featured for US junior sides before making his senior debut in 2013.

Did you know? Klinsmann rates his centre-back very highly indeed. "He's the best centre-back at the Copa," the US boss told German media. "He's having an amazing tournament."

Fabian Johnson

Born: Munich

Bundesliga link: VfL Wolfsburg, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, Borussia Mönchengladbach (current club)

The versatile Johnson started his career in his home town, though TSV 1860 Munich - not FC Bayern München - were his first club. He even played alongside the likes of Mesut Özil, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Manuel Neuer and Sami Khedira - all in Germany's UEFA EURO 2016 squad - in winning the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship. Yet, that moment and the subsequent 'big' move to VfL Wolfsburg helped shape his international future on the opposite shore of the Atlantic. As he struggled to establish himself at the Volkswagen Arena before Klinsmann came calling in 2011. "I told them that Jurgen wants to invite me in and they said congrats," said Johnson of the moment he told his parents - Charles, a former US soldier, and Sylvia - he could play for the US.

Did you know? Johnson's father played basketball for Bayern München while his maternal grandfather was also American.

Fabian Johnson (l.) is set to win his 49th cap agains Argentina.
Fabian Johnson (l.) is set to win his 49th cap agains Argentina.

Jermaine Jones

Born: Frankfurt

Bundesliga link: Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, FC Schalke 04

Current club: Colorado Rapids

Born in Germany, Jones spent part of his childhood in Chicago and Mississippi before returning to the country of his birth. After making his name in the Bundesliga with Schalke in particular in 165 top-flight games, the tough-tackling, straight-talking midfielder has gone full circle, re-crossing the Atlantic in August 2014 to join New England Revolution before heading to Colorado last March. Jones made three appearances for Germany in 2008 before pledging allegiance to the Stars and Stripes.

Did you know? Former Germany women's team star Steffi Jones is no relation, but her mother was Jermaine's nanny in Frankfurt.

Jermaine Jones made a total of 218 appearances in Germany's top two divisons.

Jürgen Klinsmann

Born: Göppingen

Bundesliga link: VfB Stuttgart, FC Bayern München (player & coach)

With 110 goals in 221 Bundesliga appearances, Klinsmann can justifiably lay claim to being one of the most potent strikers to grace Germany's top flight. After his playing career ended, he guided his home nation to third place at the 2006 FIFA World Cup before a short-lived stint in the Bayern dug-out. Appointed US boss in July 2011, 'Klinsi' - as he is known in Germany - revolutionised the squad by calling on German-born players. "It's great that we've managed to convince them to represent us, and also we benefit from them being products of the elite Bundesliga youth system," he told bundesliga.com in an interview. "Our dream is to have European-based players with Champions League experience. That's what we really want."

Did you know? The son of a baker, Klinsmann qualified as a baker himself in 1982.

Jürgen Klinsmann has been the driving force behind an exciting new era in U.S. soccer.