Gregg Berhalter: Millionaire Salary and Disappointing Performance at USMNT

Berhalter is one of the highest paid coaches at the 2024 Copa America, but his leadership of the USMNT faces criticism after a humiliating defeat to Colombia
Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Gregg Berhalter, the coach of the United States Men's National Soccer Team (USMNT), is at the center of a fervent debate. Despite being one of the highest paid coaches at the 2024 Copa America, with an annual salary of US$2,172,873, Berhalter is facing a wave of criticism for the team's underwhelming performance. The recent 5-1 loss to Colombia exposed significant flaws and raised questions about his ability to lead a talented group of players.

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The USMNT, made up of a promising generation who play in both Major League Soccer (MLS) and major international leagues, should be reaping better results. However, the humiliating defeat at home to Colombia has raised concerns about the effectiveness of Berhalter's leadership. He himself admitted that the performance was "unacceptable" and "disappointing", highlighting the need for urgent adjustments ahead of the next challenge against Brazil.

The clash against the Brazilian national team, which has the second highest paid coach in the Copa America, Dorival Junior (on US$3,802,529), will be the USMNT's last test before the continental competition. The match is crucial not only for the team's morale, but also to gauge the thermometer of Berhalter's work. The Copa America is the last opportunity before the 2026 World Cup to face elite teams in an official competition. He will have to show his ability to manage the team better.

The players, on paper, have immense potential. However, there is a clear disconnect between individual talent and collective performance. Today's match against Brazil, scheduled for 7pm ET at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, is more than a friendly. The Brazilians have great players in every position and it will be a big, decisive test that could define a positive route or not for Berhalter's work with the USMNT. If it's positive, he'll be a little more relieved. If not, his head will still be asked for by many.

The pressure is undeniable. It's get better or get better. The soccer gods have smiled on the team, which has fallen into a relatively quiet group: C, and could have a chance of qualifying. But their performance must help them to confirm a place in the quarter-finals. With a campaign that kicks off against Bolivia on June 23, followed by games against Panama and Uruguay, and with Marcelo Bielsa the highest paid coach in the world at US$3,911,172, the US team needs a convincing performance to restore the fans' confidence and, above all, prevent a disaster from happening on American soil.