In a move that is sure to befuddle and underwhelm many fans of The Stars and Stripes, Earnie Stewart and the United States Soccer Federation have reportedly hired former Hammarby IF and Columbus Crew gaffer Gregg Berhalter as the newest manager of the USMNT. This will thus end a 14-month search for a suitable new face of a men’s team that not only failed to reach the World Cup over this past summer, but has lacked a sense of identity as of late as well.

Berhalter certainly has an impressive resume that precedes him. Born in Englewood, New Jersey in 1973, Berhalter became a solid hand on the back line for teams like Crystal Palace and LA Galaxy. Along with that, he was also often called up to the National Team and earned 44 caps from 1994 to 2006.

After retiring in 2011, the then 38-year-old became an assistant coach with the Galaxy before quickly moving to Swedish giant Hammarby IF. After leading “Bajen” for about two seasons, he found a more permanent home at Columbus.

In six seasons with the Crew, Berhalter led the club to the playoffs four times and one MLS Cup final. However, he also helped cultivate talented prospects like goalkeeper Zack Steffen, defensive midfielder Wil Trapp, and striker Gyasi Zardes.

The decision is sure to draw criticism as many may believe Berhalter is an underwhelming choice compared to a David Moyes, Tata Martino, or “insert another high-profile manager on the market”, but the USMNT needs a coach whose chief concern is to help young players like Timothy Weah and Josh Sargent reach the next level.

Berhalter’s contract is said to last until the 2022 World Cup, which gives the gaffer a clear goal, bring the USA back to the World Cup in Qatar. If he is unable to do so, then the entire system in place may be questioned.

Berhalter may not be the most obvious choice for this position, but given his experience and reputation he may be capable of bringing the team back into relevancy.


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