MLS 🔵 Five Intriguing Replacements for Gregg Berhalter After Exit From USMNT – Shango Media
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MLS 🔵 Five Intriguing Replacements for Gregg Berhalter After Exit From USMNT

Gregg Berhalter’s run as the coach of the United States men’s national soccer team has officially come to an end, with the organization announcing his departure on Wednesday following the team’s early exit from the 2024 Copa America.

Berhalter, who was the first person in U.S. men’s soccer history to both play in the World Cup and appear in one as head coach of the national team, had been the manager of the men’s team since 2018. During his tenure, the team won the inaugural Concacaf Nations League tournament in 2021 and reached the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup. They were bounced prior to the knockout stages of this year’s Copa America, which ultimately led to Berhalter’s departure.

Still, the team made important progress under his tutelage, and they’re certainly in a better place than when he inherited the position six years ago. The latest FIFA rankings list the United States as the No. 11 team in the world, and there’s plenty of expectations surrounding the squad as they look to leave their mark on the international scene.

With Berhalter out, the Americans will be searching for someone to take the reins and step into the coaching role. There will be plenty of prospective suitors for the job, as the United States boasts one of its strongest rosters in recent memory, despite a lackluster showing at the Copa America.

With that in mind, here are the five best candidates to become the next manager of the U.S. men’s national soccer team.

Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool Coach Jurgen Klopp applauds the fans after the second half of an International Champions Cup soccer match between Liverpool and the Borussia Dortmund. / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The former Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool gaffer is once again available for employment, and the United States would be foolish not to do all they can to bring Klopp on board. He’s been the most heavily linked manager to replace Berhalter since the team’s exit from the Copa America, and for good reason.

A two-time Premier League winner, two-time Bundesliga winner and also boasting a Champions League title, Klopp is the most decorated manager the U.S. could pursue. He also offers an engaging personality that could help invigorate an ever-increasing fan base. If the U.S. is willing to meet his (expectedly massive) price tag, Klopp could be the perfect hire to usher in the next era of American soccer, should the interest be mutual.

It’s certainly a long shot, but Klopp would be a statement hire for the United States.

Philadelphia Union, Jim Curtin

Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin looks on during a match against Chicago Fire FC at Soldier Field. / Melissa Tamez-USA TODAY Sports

Curtin is one of the most seasoned coaches in the MLS, having spearheaded the Philadelphia Union since 2014. He’s had a successful stint in Philadelphia, where he’s won Coach of the Year in 2020 and ’22. He led the team to the MLS Cup Finals in ’22 and impressively won the Supporters Shield in ’20.

U.S. soccer is no stranger to approaching MLS coaches for their vacancies, as Berhalter himself entered the position fresh off a stint with Columbus Crew. If there’s any manager in the MLS ranks that’s deserving of a shot at the national team gig, it’s Curtin.

B.J. Callaghan, USMNT

United States interim head coach B.J. Callaghan during the first half against the Trinidad and Tobago. / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

With Berhalter no longer at the helm, the U.S. may look to install one of his top assistants to the manager position. Callaghan—as well as Anthony Hudson—served as the interim coach amid Berhalter’s brief departure from the team in early 2023, so he’s plenty familiar with the squad.

His brief run as interim coach was successful, too, yielding a 2023 Concacaf Nations League victory. The team lost just one game under Callaghan, who could be lured back to the national team despite having just signed for Nashville SC.

Steve Cherundolo USMNT

LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo celebrates with the team on the pitch after defeating Colorado Rapids. / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Another current MLS manager, Cherundolo has experience with the national team as a longtime former player, having made 35 appearances and featured in two World Cups. The LAFC boss enjoyed a lengthy playing career in Germany for Hannover 96, and later served as an assistant for the club, as well as at VfB Stuttgart.

Cherundolo doesn’t boast too much experience, but he has had plenty of success in the MLS and could step into what would be his first national team head coaching opportunity with a strong squad behind him.

Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mauricio Pochettino speaks to media after the 2015 MLS All Star Game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps a long shot, the former Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and PSG manager is currently out of work and potentially seeking a return to the touch lines. He’s coached at some of the biggest clubs in the world, and had success doing it.

It’s not clear if the allure of international football has beckoned to Pochettino just yet, as he may well be seeking an opportunity at the club level, where he’d surely have many interested suitors. But if he does express an interest in taking over as a national team manager, the U.S. would be a strong fit, with a young squad that he could continue to develop and play attacking-minded soccer with.

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