Gregg Berhalter dismissed as head coach of the U.S. men’s soccer team following their early elimination from the Copa America

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Gregg Berhalter shakes hands with Maat Turner

Gregg Berhalter was dismissed from his role as coach of the U.S. men’s soccer team, just 10 months into his second stint. This decision comes less than two years before the U.S. is set to host the World Cup.

Berhalter’s firing, announced on Wednesday, followed his team’s disappointing early exit from the Copa America, raising doubts about his leadership.

“I take full responsibility for our performance in the Copa America,” Berhalter stated. “Our focus was always on preparing for the 2026 World Cup, and I believe this team has the potential to achieve great things by then.”

The U.S. began the Copa America with a 2-0 victory over Bolivia but suffered a 2-1 defeat to Panama and a 2-1 loss to Uruguay, leading to their elimination from the tournament. Berhalter’s second stint as coach resulted in seven wins, six losses, and one draw, bringing his overall record to 44 wins, 17 losses, and 13 draws.

Berhalter had returned to the coaching role last September with ambitions to elevate soccer in the United States permanently. However, those aspirations will now continue without him.

Sporting director Matt Crocker, who rehired Berhalter, will oversee the search for a new coach. The team’s upcoming matches in September against Canada and New Zealand will be led by an interim coach, pending the appointment of a permanent replacement.

“We are focused on finding a coach who can help us reach our full potential as we prepare for the 2026 World Cup,” Crocker mentioned in a statement.

Gregg Berhalter reacts in the first half of the game

USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone also issued a statement on the matter. She did not immediately respond to further inquiries.

Jürgen Klopp, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, and Marcelo Bielsa are among those being considered 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 may be a concern.

Berhalter earned $2,291,136 in 2022, including $900,000 in bonuses for the U.S. team qualifying for the World Cup and reaching the second round. Hiring a top-level men’s coach could prompt USSF to increase the salary for newly appointed women’s coach Emma Hayes.

With just 23 months remaining until the World Cup returns to the United States for the second time, the American team will kick off their campaign in Inglewood, California, on June 12, 2026. The only competitive matches with the full player roster before then are likely to be in the CONCACAF Nations League.

Berhalter, who will turn 51 on August 1, was the first American to coach the national team after playing for them at a World Cup. He was appointed as coach of the U.S. in December 2018 after coaching Sweden’s Hammarby (2011-13) and Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew (2013-18).

“I want to thank the U.S. Soccer Federation for giving me the opportunity to lead this team for the past five years,” Berhalter said. “Representing our country is a great honor and I am proud of the identity we have developed both on and off the field.

“It was very satisfying to see this team grow over the years, and I am thankful for the lasting relationships formed with our players, coaches, and staff members.”

Under Berhalter’s guidance, the U.S. won the CONCACAF Nations League titles in 2021 and 2024, as well as another with a B team in the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup. His players strongly supported Berhalter, noting his role in fostering a cohesive team culture.

The support from players led to Crocker rehiring Berhalter 5 1/2 months after his initial contract ended, following an investigation into an old domestic violence accusation raised by the Reyna family. They were upset over Gio Reyna’s limited playing time during the World Cup.

A law firm hired by USSF confirmed there were no legal issues in bringing Berhalter back.

Critics of Berhalter pointed out his team’s struggles against non-regional opponents and difficulties playing away games against Central American rivals. The U.S. secured the region’s last automatic World Cup spot on goal difference and had one of the youngest squads at the 2022 Qatar tournament.

They drew 1-1 with Wales after losing a second-half lead, tied England 0-0, and beat Iran 1-0 to advance to the knockout stage, where they performed poorly in a 3-1 loss to the Netherlands.

Discipline was also a concern: Sergiño Dest received a red card for arguing with a referee in a November match against Trinidad and Tobago, while Tim Weah was sent off in the Panama game for hitting an opponent.

Gregg Berhalter

“Gregg has earned the respect of everyone within our organization and has been crucial in uniting a young team and progressing the program,” said Crocker in a statement.

Past U.S. coaches have struggled in their second terms. Bruce Arena led the team to the quarterfinals in 2002, its best finish since 1930, but failed to advance from the group stage in 2006.

Bob Bradley’s team reached the second round in 2010, earning him a four-year extension, only for USSF to dismiss him 11 months later after losing a two-goal lead and falling to Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final.

Jurgen Klinsmann took over and led the team to the second round of the 2014 World Cup but was fired after starting the 2018 qualifying round with a 2-1 home defeat to Mexico and a 4-0 loss in Costa Rica.

Arena returned, and the U.S. missed out on the World Cup after losing to Trinidad and Tobago on the final day of qualifying, ending a streak of seven consecutive appearances.

The new coach will inherit players like Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Tyler Adams, who have excelled in European clubs. However, goalkeepers Matt Turner and Ethan Horvath, along with Reyna, have struggled to secure regular playing time with top-tier teams.


By Ritik

Ritik Katiyar is pursuing a post-graduate degree in Pharmaceutics. Currently, he lives in Srinagar, Uttarakhand, India. You can find him writing about all sorts of listicle topics. A pharmaceutical postgrad by day, and a content writer by night. You can write to him at [email protected]

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