USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter sacked after dismal Copa América performance

Berhalter spent six years as national team coachThe US lost to Uruguay in Copa quarter-finals

Gregg Berhalter was fired as US men’s soccer coach on Wednesday, nine days after his team’s first-round exit from the Copa America flamed doubts he was the right person to remain in charge for the 2026 World Cup.

Berhalter’s second term as coach was cut short 10 months after he returned to the bench with high hopes and proclaimed the team’s goal was “to change soccer in America forever.” In his second stint as coach, the US won seven games, lost six and drew once, leaving his overall record at 44 wins, 17 losses and 13 draws.

Technical director Matt Crocker rehired Berhalter and will also make the recommendation on his replacement. The team will next play in September friendlies against Canada and New Zealand.

“Our immediate focus is on finding a coach who can maximize our potential as we continue to prepare for the 2026 World Cup, and we have already begun our search process,” Crocker said in a statement.

Jürgen Klopp, Thierry Henry and Marcelo Bielsa are among the candidates being speculated as potential replacements for Berhalter, along with Jesse Marsch, Hugo Pérez, Pellegrino Matarazzo, David Wagner, Steve Cherundolo, Jim Curtain, Massimiliano Allegri and Mauricio Pochettino.

Salary could be a problem, though. Berhalter earned $2.2m in 2022, including $900,000 in bonuses for the Americans qualifying for the World Cup and reaching the second round. A top-level men’s coach could put pressure on US Soccer to increase the salary of newly hired women’s coach Emma Hayes.

Just 23 months remain before the World Cup comes to the US for the second time and the Americans play their opener at Inglewood, California, on 12 June 2026. The only competitive matches with the full player pool before then likely will be in the Concacaf Nations League.

Berhalter was the first American to coach the national team after playing for the team at a World Cup. He was hired to coach the US in December 2018 after stints with Sweden’s Hammarby (2011-13) and Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew (2013-18).

He led the US to titles in the Concacaf Nations League in 2020, 2023 and 2024 and to another with a B team in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup. His players strongly supported Berhalter, saying he fostered a culture that bound the group.

That support led to Crocker rehiring Berhalter five months after his initial contract expired amid an investigation of a decades-old domestic violence allegation that was brought to the US Soccer’s attention by the Reyna family, which was upset that Berhalter limited Gio Reyna’s playing time at the World Cup. A law firm retained by US Soccer said there was no legal obstacle to bringing Berhalter back.

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