The LA Galaxy’s newest goalkeeper has a pretty familiar surname.
Jonathan Klinsmann, the son of former U.S. men’s national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, has signed with the MLS side, leaving St. Gallen in Switzerland to return to Southern California, where he was raised. The Munich-born Klinsmann has been a member of the USA U-23 national team player pool and was a starter for the U.S. in the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
There are levels to this acquisition, more so than usual. It was LA Galaxy legend Landon Donovan who was the target of Jonathan Klinsmann’s most notorious moment: a tweet that celebrated Donovan’s controversial omission, made by Jonathan’s father, from the USA’s 2014 World Cup squad.
Surely, the actions of a 17-year-old on social media do not necessarily define the rest of someone’s career, but the connection is sure to be felt regardless, especially by those in the Galaxy supporter base who revered Donovan during his time with the club. In his first game back with the Galaxy after being cut by Jurgen Klinsmann, Donovan became MLS’s all-time leading goal scorer (a record that has since been eclipsed by Chris Wondolowski).
Jurgen Klinsmann has also been highly critical of MLS in the past, citing the long offseason, the lack of promotion-relegation and the overall lower level of competition. Two years ago in an interview with Sports Illustrated, he said, “If a player has a chance to go to Europe, I say, ‘Yes, go, because it’s three levels above.’ I mean, Dirk Nowitzki plays in the U.S. for a reason. He’s not playing in the German Bundesliga!”
Jonathan Klinsmann, who played collegiately at the University of California, Berkeley, has been called into one senior national team camp, joining the U.S. ahead of friendlies vs. England and Italy in Nov. 2018 as an injury replacement for Zack Steffen. He didn’t play in either match.
In his club career, Klinsmann, 23, has played sparingly over the last three years. With Hertha Berlin, he was mostly with the reserves in Germany’s fourth tier, save for one Europa League appearance in which he saved a penalty kick to preserve a draw.
After moving to St. Gallen last year, he was a backup in all 30 league games for which he was active. In his one start, in domestic cup play, he was red-carded after 31 minutes.
Klinsmann joins incumbent starter David Bingham, Justin Vom Steeg and Eric Lopez as goalkeepers on the Galaxy’s roster. He’s the second acquisition in as many days for the Galaxy after the signing of Colombian winger Yony Gonzalez on loan from Benfica.
“Jonathan is a young goalkeeper with valuable experience playing in Germany and Switzerland while representing his country on various levels,” Galaxy manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto said in a statement. “We think he can continue to progress as a member of the LA Galaxy. We look forward to strengthening our goalkeeper position with another talented player.”