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Matt Crocker says U.S. Soccer Federation ‘ready to invest in USMNT’ following coaching change

As Gregg Berhalter’s tenure with the U.S. Men’s National Team comes to an end, the door to a new regime is opening ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Berhalter was fired as head coach on Wednesday, just a week after Team USA was eliminated early from the 2024 Copa America. The Americans were eliminated in the group stage of the tournament and suffered consecutive losses to Panama and Uruguay in critical matches, respectively.

Berhalter helped get the program back on track in his first term as head coach, returning to competition in 2022 after a lackluster 2018 World Cup. Two competitive victories against Mexico in the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup gave the new crop of USMNT stars their first international trophy lifts and set the standard for how Americans should perform in federation tournaments.

U.S. Soccer Federation Sporting Director Matt Crocker praised Berhalter’s impact during his five years as head coach but admitted that recent results have not helped him reach the finals as a head coach.

“We have to win. And we didn’t do it from our perspective,” Crocker said on a conference call with reporters. “But when I look at the work and the effort that Gregg and the rest of the staff have put into the program over the last five years, I really wanted to make sure that I took the time and was intentional in making the decisions that I felt were right at the time and that I wasn’t being guided by anyone else.”

“I think five years is a long time and there are a lot of building blocks that have been put in place,” he added. “It was a very, very young group to begin with and there was progress, but now it’s time to translate that progress into wins. There was progress in the group, but that progress didn’t translate into enough wins in that tournament, which is pretty critical.”

Berhalter’s departure opens the door for a new head coach to come into the fold, a vital move ahead of the 2026 World Cup on home soil. Former Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is the biggest name on the market after leaving Anfield last May, while MLS coaches Steve Cherundolo and Wilfried Nancy (MLS Cup winners in 2022 and 2023 respectively) are also tipped to be on USSF’s radar.

Klopp, Cherundolo and Nancy would likely demand more than Berhalter’s salary ($2 million plus bonuses in 2022) if they take over as head coaches, especially with World Cup action just two years away. Figuring out the finances will be a big task for Crocker and the rest of U.S. Soccer this summer, but finding the right coach remains a high priority.

“I know it’s a really competitive market from a salary standpoint, and we have to be competitive to get the level of coach that I believe can move the program forward in terms of getting the results that we need to get on the field,” Crocker added. “But I also recognize that we have to continue to push for higher standards and equity. But I don’t think that’s going to be a barrier to our investment; our national team is a priority. It’s something that we’re prepared to invest in and we will invest in.

“I just want to get the best possible coach,” he added. “And whether they’re from the U.S. or somewhere else, they need to fit the profile of a serial-winning coach, someone who can continue to develop this potential group of players.”