Gregg Berhalter will be named manager of the United States men’s national team, sources close to the hiring told ESPN, with an announcement to come Sunday and an introductory news conference likely set for Tuesday.
The former head coach of Columbus Crew SC has agreed to a multiyear contract that will run through the end of the 2022 World Cup cycle. The U.S. Soccer board was told of general manager Earnie Stewart’s recommendation Saturday and voted to approve Berhalter’s hiring.
With the Crew eliminated from the MLS Cup playoffs on Nov. 11, Berhalter will begin his duties immediately.
Yahoo! Sports first reported Berhalter’s hiring late Saturday.
Berhalter, 45, takes over a program that has been without a full-time manager since October 2017, when Bruce Arena resigned in the aftermath of the team’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Since then, Dave Sarachan has managed the U.S. men on a caretaker basis, with Arena’s longtime assistant going 3-5-4 while giving international debuts to 22 players.
The process begun by Sarachan should help give Berhalter a bit of a rolling start, given that this is a team in transition, with several veterans such as Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard either having retired or being close to the end of their international careers.
According to a source familiar with the process, the search began with a list of 33 candidates, which was culled to 11, including some foreign candidates, once the coaching profile developed by Stewart was applied.
From that process, a list of two finalists emerged: Berhalter and former FC Dallas manager Oscar Pareja, who has since been hired by Liga MX’s Tijuana. Berhalter has long been considered the top candidate, even as his brother, Jay, holds the position of chief commercial officer within the U.S. Soccer Federation.
The U.S. job marks Berhalter’s first foray into international management. He began his coaching career with Swedish side Hammarby prior to the 2012 campaign but was fired midway through his second season with the club.
Berhalter had more success with Columbus. Crew SC made the playoffs in four of his five seasons, despite the team’s modest payroll. According to data provided by the MLS Players Association, Columbus’ wages ranked 21st out of 23 teams in 2018.
During his five years in charge, Berhalter’s team had a regular-season record of 67-58-45 and reached the MLS Cup final in 2015, when it fell 2-1 at home to the Portland Timbers.
Berhalter has a reputation for employing a possession-based style. Columbus struggled to score goals in 2018, tied for next-to-last in the league, though the team traded away key attacking players such as Ola Kamara and Justin Meram prior to the start of the campaign. Meram was reacquired from Orlando City in a midseason deal.
Berhalter’s first task as manager will be to conduct the team’s annual January camp, which will be made up of mostly domestic players. His first matches in charge will be a pair of friendlies — one yet to be announced at the end of January and a Feb. 2 match against CONCACAF rival Costa Rica.
The Englewood, New Jersey, native enjoyed a playing career that spanned 17 years. His first professional stint came in 1994 with Dutch side Zwolle. He later moved on to Sparta Rotterdam and Cambuur Leeuwarden. Berhalter then spent a solitary season with English side Crystal Palace.
His longest tenure as a player with one club came with German side Energie Cottbus, where he spent four seasons. He later moved to 1860 Munich before finishing his career in MLS with the LA Galaxy, winning the 2011 MLS Cup in his final season.
At international level, Berhalter made 44 appearances for the U.S and was part of the teams that played at the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups.