KENYA BROWN - Tuesday, December 4, 2018
In what was the worst kept secret in US soccer circles, Gregg Berhalter was officially on Sunday announced as the new head coach of the US national team after a year-long search.
The appointment of the 45-year-old comes as the team looks to rebuild after failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and a long period without a permanent leader as Dave Sarachan guided them through the series of friendlies they played this year.
Berhalter enters his new job with a lengthy resume as a player. After leaving the University of North Carolina, he headed to Europe where he first played with PEC Zwolle in the Netherlands followed by Sparta Rotterdam and Cambuur. After a brief stop in England to play with Crystal Palace, the former center-back headed to Germany where he would spend the majority of his time in Europe.
His first stop was with Energie Cottbus where he would play in 111 games and captain the team as they earned promotion to the Bundesliga. He then headed to Bavaria to play for 1860 Munich and once again wear the captain's armband.
It was during this time when the New Jersey native took the initial steps to transition into a coaching career. After a stint as assistant coach with the Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer, Berhalter would head back across the pond to take his first head coaching stint with Hammarby in December 2011. However, he would be fired in the 2013 season.
He would find better fortunes with the Columbus Crew SC as he was appointed head coach and sporting director. In his five seasons with the Crew, they would qualify for the playoffs four times and make it to the MLS Cup final in 2015.
Now, Berhalter will be charged with rebuilding a US national team that has hit hard times, but has a crop of talented players in the pool like Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Josh Sargent and Timothy Weah.
After months without word of who was in the running for the job, followed by rumors that Berhalter was heavily linked with getting the job, US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro expressed his delight in finally landing their man.
"We are excited to announce Gregg as the next head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team. As an experienced former National Team player and highly regarded professional coach, we are confident he is the best person to guide our program forward," he said.
As for Berhalter, he said being appointed the new head coach was a "tremendous honor."
"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," he said.
Now that Berhalter has been appointed coach, the work begins as he will first start with bringing in a select number of players for the annual January camp.
Berhalter will be officially introduced as the US national team head coach at a press conference on Tuesday in New York.