USMNT Coaching Mess Is Federation’s Own Doing


The US Men’s National Team coaching job coming out of Qatar moving forward to the 2026 home-hosted World Cup was one of the best coaching jobs in the world from that through the 2026 tournament.

Using several objective and subjective coaching metrics from expectations to roster depth, from resources and salary to schedule, there was nothing much better.

No coach would be expected to commit past the tourney in 2026; a finite time of a few years in which to actually do some work. No coach would actually be expected to win the tournament; although there is enthusiasm and the always in place risk in coaching of the team being terrible. But, this team was not terrible at the end of 2022, it was in a good place.

There was no need to go through qualifying; but a solid collection of regional tournaments and the 2024 Copa America on home soil. The attraction was there for every good team to play friendlies outside of major competitions to scout out the landscape. Those top teams could be (and usually are) willing to come here, and that would replace some of the qualifying intensity with higher profile friendlies.

The roster was – and is – reasonably solid with talent playing on big clubs throughout Europe and an MLS and youth pipeline producing players. The goalkeeper depth is not historic, but pretty good. Dual nationals are openly leaning towards, and some are choosing, the US boosting the player pool.

And yet, US Soccer utterly failed to realize in late 2022 that post-Qatar, wishing Gregg Berhalter well on his way to a good job was the way to go. They could take some time to really look at what would likely be very good candidates. We have actually witnessed patience in having a brief caretaker work with the incoming national team coach. Instead, it was a catastrophe. It was a systemic catastrophe of staff and decision maker turnover. It was a catastrophe created in part by Berhalter, who after everything, ended up getting rehired by the new guy that came in and did not understand he had a truly amazing job open to hire. What process was even needed to let the world know that this was an amazing job? The resources needed to hire a name is not impossible with creativity and sponsors that US Soccer has leading into a home World Cup.

US Soccer apparently remains systemically incapable of understanding the nature of the failure that simply bringing back Berhalter after everything actually represents. They lost the decision maker at the time in US Soccer delaying matters, replaced him with someone outside the system, and ended up exactly where they would have been had Berhalter just been extended going into Qatar in the fall of 2022.

Gregg Berhalter is a good soccer coach, and there are reasons to keep a good coach. But, this USMNT job coming out of Qatar was absolutely not the time to be simply keeping on keeping on. With 2026 looming at home and
time to build something special, it is absurd that this is what has played out.

The opportunity wasted here for the USMNT is ridiculous and should be unacceptable to supporters, players, and sponsors. Now, the job no longer has the Copa America in which to build off of. It has what appears to be an inconsistent mess. Winning a regional trophy in March is great against a rival, but Mexico is also a mess right now. The recent rollercoaster of friendlies and Copa America performances is on the boss and US Soccer management as a whole.

Square One is no place to be with the tournament in less than two years. Coaching the host nation at a World Cup is a great job. It is no longer nearly as attractive as it was a year and a half ago.


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With Prost since 2014, Jeff primary covers Reign FC along with other WOSO in Cascadia and will be part of the Seattle WC26 coverage team.

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