The debate surrounding the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team’s search for a new head coach focuses on who is not being interviewed. No matter. Gregg Berhalter, Columbus Crew SC head coach, tops the USMNT list.
U.S. Soccer plans to name the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team head coach at the end of this year. Gregg Berhalter will be your man. For months, soccer forums have railed how the USMNT hasn’t decided on a permanent coach. Nor have they hinted what field they had narrowed down.
The reporters and bloggers have vented equally on those under consideration as those they know U.S. Soccer hasn’t even called, especially those the parties consider qualified to take the job over.
There is a logical reason for the delay. U.S. Soccer has to wait for Gregg Berhalter to finish the playoffs with Columbus Crew SC. His team clinched the fifth playoff spot in the MLS Eastern Conference.
Berhalter works in his fifth season with Columbus Crew SC. He’s the seventh head coach and first sporting director for the club. The Crew made the playoffs in four his five seasons. They advanced to the Eastern Conference championship twice, in 2015 and 2017, and won the MLS Cup in 2015.
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He came to Columbus from Hammarby IF in Sweden. He took over the 12th place club in 2011 and coached them to the lowest goals against average in the league. He was the first American to manage a professional soccer team in Europe.
The USMNT wants a head coach familiar with MLS, CONCACAF, and the current player pool, as emphasized in an analysis by Jeff Carlisle for ESPN. He holds the best résumé comes from Atlanta United head coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino. That head coach plans to leave Atlanta at the end of this season.
Yet Carlisle also acknowledges that Berhalter remains the front-runner. And Carlisle asks what’s taking so long to announce the decision. Earnie Stewart, U.S. Men’s National Team general manager, has headed off concerns about his closeness to Berhalter. He said point-blank that, of course, he is played with Berhalter and communicated with him.
But he’s not a friend. Stewart also isn’t influenced because Berhalter’s brother is a U.S. Soccer executive. For all these reasons, Stewart insists that Berhalter isn’t necessarily a shoo-in for the USMNT head coach role.
Supporters still reel after the U.S. failed to qualify for the latest World Cup. They need his style, described as attack-first, pass-and-move. With proven experience of coaching teams to their greatest potential, Berhalter is the guy who can do that with the national talent pool. And he will be the next head coach.