American football does not expect a decision on Gregg Berhalter before the summer

The United States men’s soccer team could be forced to navigate much of the coming year, including a series of competitive matches, without a full-time head coach after the departure Thursday of two senior officials who plunged the already shocked organization into turmoil.

Earlier this month, US Soccer announced investigation in the personal conduct of Gregg Berhalter, who coached the American men to a successful run at the World Cup late last year, after accusations from the parents of a disgruntled player of physically abusing his wife in a decades-old incident.

The team have announced that they will not decide whether to retain Berhalter – whose contract expired at the end of 2022 – for another World Cup cycle until the independent investigation is completed. With the team keen to build on the momentum of the World Cup in Qatar and begin preparations for the 2026 tournament, which the United States is co-hosting, these processes needed to happen in relatively short order.

Cindy Parlow Cone, president of US Soccer, said the organization would employ an outside consulting firm to conduct a thorough review of its team structure. The new developments, she said, meant the team could find themselves without a sporting director and coach until the end of the summer. Berhalter, she said, remained a “candidate” to coach the national team, but the loss of two key decision-makers and the end of his contract – with no end in sight for the inquest – will almost certainly mean the end of its mandate. A US Soccer spokesperson confirmed that Berhalter “is no longer an employee of US Soccer”.

“We didn’t plan it that way,” Cone said Thursday. “We find ourselves in this position, and we’re going to take this opportunity to really take a deep dive into our sporting side to make sure we’re as effective and efficient as possible, because we have a big vision of where we want to go on the athletically, and we want to make sure we’re in the best position to achieve those goals.

Stewart, who accepts a position at Dutch club PSV Eindhoven, will stay with the organization until mid-February. McBride will leave at the end of this month. Both men were former national team players and former Berhalter teammates.

Cone said the departures were unrelated to the ongoing investigation into Berhalter, which was sparked when Danielle Reyna, the mother of star wing Gio Reyna, informed Stewart that Berhalter had hit his wife during a an incident in 1991, when the two were dating during college.

Reyna and her parents were upset that Berhalter hadn’t given the player much time on the pitch during the World Cup in Qatar, and had made thinly veiled comments about Reyna’s poor attitude – without l identify – during a speech after the tournament. (Reyna’s father, Claudio, another former Berhalter teammate, resigned as sporting director at MLS club Austin FC on Thursday and said he would move into an advisory role.)

“Gregg remains a candidate,” Cone said of Berhalter’s status. She added: “Ultimately the new sporting director will be responsible for hiring the men’s national team coach.”

Cone said it was possible the team could progress without a general manager after the structure of the organization was reviewed by Sportsology Group, a sports consultancy. She admitted the time needed for the review could cause uncertainty ‘for our staff, for the players’, but she called it an opportunity.

“What it really is,” she said, “is a clean canvas.”

The United States team is currently led by interim coach Anthony Hudson. The group is currently in full training camp which concludes this Saturday with an exhibition match against Colombia. (It lost to Serbia, 2-1, on Wednesday night.) In March, the team will resume competitive play with two matches in the CONCACAF Nations League, a regional tournament that serves as a qualifier for the Gold Cup. of this summer.

nytimes sport

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