After 13 long months since Bruce Arena’s failure to guide the USMNT to the World Cup, the United States have finally found their successor. The USMNT has appointed Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter to manage the developing national team. Berhalter takes over the reigns from interim coach Dave Sarachan, whose tenure with the national side was longer than anyone expected. Sarachan guided the US to a 3-5-4 record in 12 games as the United States faced off against some of the world’s most fearsome sides. Under Sarachan, the USMNT highlighted the core youth players to bring to the forefront of the squad.
This is not Berhalter’s first exposure to the USMNT, having represented the nation during his playing years. With 44 caps to his name, Berhalter represented the national side in two World Cups (2002, 2006). Finding most of his success in the MLS, Berhalter won the 2011 MLS Cup with the LA Galaxy, who he then worked for in an assistant coach role the following season. An unsuccessful coaching stint in Europe with Hammarby saw him return to the MLS as the head coach of the Columbus Crew in 2013. In 2015, Berhalter led the Crew to an MLS final appearance, firmly claiming his side as the East Conference champions of that year. In 193 total matches at the helm of the Ohio based club, Berhalter led the Crew to a 74-69-50, resulting in a 38% win percentage and a +6 goal differential.
His impressive work with the budget-tight Crew side led to months of speculation over taking over the USMNT job. Now with the job officially his, Berhalter looks to build upon Sarachan’s work in hopes to create a squad capable of winning the upcoming summer’s Gold Cup. Berhalter, best known for his defensive tactics and player management has had some great success stories with the Crew. No success story as great as the move to bring MLS All-Star GK Zack Steffen to the club after finding himself in limbo with SC Freiburg in Germany.
Steffen, who has worked under Berhalter the past 2 seasons had this to say about his new national team manager: “Gregg was very influential for my growth on and off the field. He pushed his players and staff for excellence and effort… always learning about the game and trying to think of new ways to break down a team and make it impossible for the other team to break us down. He’s exactly the type of coach we need directing our talented youth in this nation”.
As the current national team No. 1, Steffen will be grateful to continue working under Berhalter for international duty. With this glowing endorsement, fans should be excited to see what the future has for the USMNT under Gregg Berhalter.
Written by: Andrew Diefenderfer