U.S. Soccer Hires Gregg Berhalter as Next USMNT Manager

Gregg Berhalter has been the head coach and sporting director of the Columbus Crew since November 2013.
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Gregg Berhalter will be taking control of the USMNT as its next manager, U.S. Soccer announced on Sunday.

Berhalter had been the coach and sporting director of the Columbus Crew since 2013. He made the playoffs in four of his five seasons. In 2015 he led Columbus to the MLS Cup final, but his side lost to the Portland Timbers, 2-1.

A former defender for the national team, Berhalter had experience playing under former USMNT manager Bruce Arena with the LA Galaxy and the national team. Berhalter started his coaching career as a player-assistant in 2011 under Arena, and he also managed at Swedish club Hammarby before joining Columbus.

"After a very thorough process, I am absolutely convinced Gregg is the right man to lead the National Team program moving forward," said USMNT general manager Earnie Stewart as part of the official announcement. "He ticks all the boxes with his background as a person, a successful coach and an accomplished former international player.”

Berhalter played on the national team from 1994-2006, amassing 44 caps. He was on the squad for its third-place finish in the 1999 Confederations Cup, and he was an active part of the 2002 World Cup quarterfinalist team and an unused player on the 2006 World Cup team the went out in the group stage. He's part of USMNT lore, as it was his volley vs. Germany in the 2002 quarterfinals that hit Germany's Torsten Frings on the arm on the goal line, only for no penalty to be called. Germany went onto win 1-0, eliminating the U.S. in the process.

"This is a tremendous honor,” Berhalter said in a statement. “Having played for the National Team I know what it means to represent our country. I believe in our players and our program, and together we will work to build something special and develop a team that will make our supporters proud.”

The hiring of Berhalter ends a nearly 14-month search for Arena's long-term replacement with the USMNT, with Arena's assistant, Dave Sarachan, leading the team in the interim. Sarachan went 3-5-4 in his time at the helm. Berhalter has been seen as the front-runner for the position for some time, but U.S. Soccer evidently waited for his season with the Crew to end before finalizing the decision. 

The USMNT is looking to rebound and start anew after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. It was the first time since 1986 the U.S. failed to make the tournament.