For U.S. Soccer, a Coach Who Fit the Profile

U.S. Football took 14 months to select a brand new males’s nationwide workforce trainer, however Earnie Stewart knew whom he sought after even ahead of he positioned a telephone name to the person who would sooner or later get the activity.

After beginning in his new publish as nationwide workforce normal supervisor on Aug. 1, Stewart started making calls — to coaches, wearing administrators and revered former United States avid gamers — to solicit their recommendation in making a literal bullet-pointed record of the qualities required within the new trainer. The overall profile integrated résumé fundamentals like training licenses and top-flight revel in; management-speak qualities like “open-minded and leading edge” and “superb verbal exchange talents”; and interestingly explicit ones, like an openness and working out of knowledge analytics and a “calm and assured sideline demeanor.”

Stewart’s record of applicants — greater than 30 in the beginning — was once scored in opposition to the profile after which lower to a couple of dozen. After which, in past due August, he picked up the telephone.

“He known as me on my mobile phone,” mentioned Gregg Berhalter, who was once offered because the nationwide workforce’s new trainer on Tuesday in New York. Stewart, Berhalter mentioned, started with a easy query: “What do you take into accounts discussing this?”

The overall levels of the training seek, which started after the workforce’s failure to qualify for the 2018 Global Cup and was once through then just about a yr outdated, advanced briefly from there. Berhalter, a teammate of Stewart’s at the 2002 Global Cup workforce, met with Stewart for extra substantive conversations in Columbus, Ohio — the place Berhalter coached the Columbus Group of M.L.S. — and in Chicago, the place U.S. Football is based totally. In October, Berhalter flew to Miami, the place he gave a four-hour presentation on his imaginative and prescient for the workforce to U.S. Football’s president, Carlos Cordeiro, and its chief executive, Dan Flynn.

In persuading them and Stewart that he was the man for the job, Berhalter said he also quelled his own doubts.

Berhalter had heard the speculation that he might be a candidate, he said, “but you never really think it’s going to come, to know that this could be a potential opportunity.”

He added, “When I got that call, it’s still very exciting.”

As he went through his interviews, he said, he decided, “I’m ready for this.”

In the end, the process to fill the position took 14 months, delayed first by the aftermath of the World Cup fail — which prompted a contentious fight for the U.S. Soccer presidency — and then by the federation’s laser-focused (and ultimately successful) effort to bring the 2026 World Cup to North America.

As the search dragged on, though, other coaching moves and U.S. Soccer disinterest ruled out one potential candidate after another. The former Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch, another former teammate of Stewart’s, accepted an assistant’s job in Germany, and the former Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio — who had expressed strong interest in the United States job in an interview with The New York Times before the World Cup — was by August deep into negotiations to become Paraguay’s coach.

But there were others in the mix — and then out of it — as well: M.L.S. coaches like Tata Martino, Peter Vermes and Oscar Pareja; U.S. Football insiders like Tab Ramos and the intervening time trainer who had run the workforce throughout the quest, Dave Sarachan; and coaches with world pedigrees, like Osorio and Julien Lopetegui, the previous Spain and Actual Madrid trainer, who reportedly tossed his hat within the ring final month most effective to learn he was once too late.

Stewart stated Tuesday that one of the most 3 applicants he recognized for a proper interview by no means were given the risk for a listening to — “He had already made a distinct selection” — however he pushed aside lacking out on possible applicants as secondary to touchdown the only he thought to be the appropriate have compatibility.

Cordeiro praised the method — extensively derided as ponderously sluggish through pissed off American lovers — as thorough and as enjoyable a pledge he had made in his presidential marketing campaign to verify “football operations are run through football professionals.”

“We don’t have any regrets, in any respect,” Cordeiro mentioned of the duration of the quest. “We were given our very best man.”

“We haven’t sacrificed our applicants to any cut-off date,” he added, “as a result of we didn’t have a cut-off date.”

By way of October, concerning the time Cordeiro and Flynn had been assembly Berhalter in Miami, his hiring started to seem like a foregone conclusion. Stewart mentioned Tuesday that he interviewed most effective two applicants — Yahoo Sports activities reported Pareja, a Colombian who had gained vast reward for his construction of younger avid gamers in Dallas, was the other — before picking Berhalter.

U.S. Soccer’s board of directors approved Berhalter’s hiring in a conference call on Saturday.

Berhalter’s first training camp will be in early January, though it will probably take place without many of the team’s top players, whose European clubs are under no obligation to release them that week. U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday that Berhalter’s first game would be an exhibition against Panama on Jan. 27 in Glendale, Ariz. The team will face Costa Rica in San Jose, Calif., six days later.

Until then, Berhalter, accustomed to the week-to-week access to players a club coach has, will transition to the more detached existence that international coaches use to keep tabs on their players.

He said he would try to meet with as many players as he could before they arrived in camp, starting with those in M.L.S., and then head to Europe for one-on-one sessions with those playing abroad. He vowed to create a team whose identity would be built around initiative, an attacking unit that would “disorganize” opponents through pressure and ball circulation.

“The head’s already going,” Berhalter said. “I’m already thinking of what we’re going to do.”

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