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Sampson likely to return as U.S. soccer coach

November 22, 1997

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ It appears Steve Sampson will get a new contract to coach the U.S. soccer team, but U.S. Soccer Federation president Alan Rothenberg said Friday no final decision has been made.

ESPN reported Sampson will be retained to lead the Americans through next summer’s World Cup in France. Sampson’s contract expired last weekend at the end of World Cup qualifying.

``I think ESPN is a little ahead of the curve on that one,″ Rothenberg said. ``No decision has been made yet. On the other hand, I think all things look very favorable for Steve. He and I are going to sit down when we get to Marseille for the draw (Dec. 4). Then or shortly after that, we’ll have something to say.″

Sampson, who coached at Santa Clara and was an assistant on the U.S. team during the 1994 World Cup, led the team to an 8-2-6 record in qualifying.

``He has grown a lot; the team has qualified,″ Rothenberg said. ``We had some inconsistent performances earlier. Obviously we finished on a high. Steve does not have to feel unduly insecure at this point. We just haven’t made a decision.″

Sampson, an American, succeeded Serbian-born Bora Milutinovic after the ’94 tournament. Sampson said following a victory over El Salvador last Sunday he thought it would be ``very difficult at this point to make a change, but I said all along I’ll respect any decision that’s made.″

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