Mark Verstegen, pictured in red, says it’s important to ease into exercise with an orchestrated warm-up.

NYT: In the stirring World Cup final on Sunday between the national men’s soccer teams from Germany and Argentina, an American played a role on the field in Rio de Janeiro despite the United States team’s having been eliminated. Sitting and occasionally pacing tensely along the German sideline was Mark Verstegen, the team’s trainer.

Mr. Verstegen, the founder and president of EXOS, a Phoenix-based company that trains professional and recreational athletes and corporate executives, was appointed in 2004 by Jurgen Klinsmann, then the coach of the German team and now the United States coach. He was brought in to improve the players’ fitness, agility, nutrition and resilience. At the time, the Germans were at a low ebb by their high standards, having not won a World Cup since 1990 or a European championship since 1996. Mr. Verstegen said his appointment was met with widespread incredulity among German fans, news media and even some players.

“They wondered what Americans could possibly teach” the German squad, he said.

Then the Germans advanced to the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup, performing better than expected, and on Sunday, the team won this year’s edition, defeating Argentina, 1-0, in extra time after having routed the host Brazilian squad, 7-1, a few days earlier. There aren’t many skeptics about Mr. Verstegen’s training methods now.