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Gregg Berhalter Fired as US National Team Coach

Gregg Berhalter, who served as the head coach of the US National Team for 7 years, was removed from his position following an unfortunate incident during the Copa America group stage.

Berhalter, who led Team USA to two Gold Cups and a Nations League title, has yet to beat a team ranked in the top 25 outside CONCACAF. The U.S. Soccer Federation is expected to announce Berhalter’s replacement ahead of a friendly against Canada in September.

Berhalter took over the USMNT in December 2018 following the resignation of Bruce Arena. He led the USMNT to their first World Cup since 2014, advancing them to the Round of 16. Berhalter finished his tenure in Chicago with a record of 44 wins, 15 losses, and 13 draws. His greatest achievement with the USMNT was winning back-to-back Nations League titles against Canada and Mexico. He also won a Gold Cup in 2021.

Berhalter led Team USA to a miserable elimination in the group stage

Berhalter faced criticism after the 2022 World Cup, when US Soccer allowed Berhalter’s contract to lapse following a scandal between him and star Gio Reyna’s family. After an investigation into Gio Reyna’s lack of playing time, Berhalter was rehired to help him succeed at the 2024 Copa America.

Berhalter faced significant pressure to keep his job following an unimpressive Copa America performance. Despite beating Bolivia on home soil in the opening match, the United States suffered two straight defeats against Panama and then-semifinalist Uruguay.

The Copa America 2024 was the United States’ best chance to prepare, as they will co-host the 2026 World Cup with Canada and Mexico. But Berhalter’s team looked docile in attack, relying too much on individual star attackers to shine. The team suffered from a lack of discipline throughout the tournament and had some sloppy moments defensively. Berhalter was accused of pampering his players, and it showed throughout the match — an unmotivated U.S. team that was content with defeat at times.

After losing to Panama, the United States needed to beat Uruguay to advance to the knockout round. However, despite the urgency and their obvious offensive strengths, the United States offered little offensively. The U.S. national team was unable to create enough chances to score, although a controversial shot from Mathias Olivera made the difference.

Berhalter faces criticism after exit

Berhalter faced widespread criticism following the USMNT’s exit from the Copa America, with the national team’s largest fan groups taking to social media to demand his firing. Fans chanted “Fire Gregg” during their defeat at Arrowhead Stadium.

Days after the loss, US Soccer announced that Berhalter would remain with the U.S. national team for the 2026 World Cup.

“When I started this search, my focus was to find someone with the right vision to take this program to new heights in 2026,” Crocker said. “Gregg has that vision. He has the experience and the growth mindset on and off the field to take this team forward.”

Statements from US Soccer executives

However, Berhalter will no longer be the team’s head coach. Crocker has removed Berhalter from his position following a “thorough” post-Copa America review of Berhalter’s tactics. US Soccer has confirmed that they have begun the search for a new manager.

“We are so grateful for Gregg’s dedication to the Men’s National Team and USA Soccer over the past five years,” Crocker said. “Gregg has earned the respect of everyone in our organization and has played a key role in bringing together a young team and moving the program forward.”

Possible replacements for Berhalter USA include high-profile executives such as Thierry Henry, Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino. However, it is unclear when Crocker and US Soccer will announce a new head coach. LAFC’s Steve Cherundolo and Columbus Crew manager Wilfried Nancy are possible candidates.

The U.S. will likely return to action with a new coach on Sept. 7 in a friendly against Canada.

Photos: Imago