MLS 🔵 U.S. men’s national soccer coach Gregg Berhalter fired after disappointing Copa America showing – Shango Media
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MLS 🔵 U.S. men’s national soccer coach Gregg Berhalter fired after disappointing Copa America showing

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MLS 🔵 U.S. men’s national soccer coach Gregg Berhalter fired after disappointing Copa America showing
Hector Vivas

Gregg Berhalter has been fired as coach of the U.S. men’s national soccer team following a disappointing performance in the Copa America.

The U.S. Soccer Federation announced the firing Wednesday after a dismal group stage exit in the tournament hosted on U.S. soil.

“We are now focused on working with our Sporting Director Matt Crocker and leveraging his experience at the highest levels of the sport to ensure we find the right person to lead the USMNT into a new era of on-field success, » U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone said in a statement announcing Berhalter’s departure.

The U.S. opened last month’s Copa America play with a steady 2-0 win against Bolivia in the tournament featuring teams from South America, Central America, North America and the Caribbean.

Many pundits projected the U.S. team as one of the two teams expected to advance from the opening round in Group C.

But its 2-1 loss to Panama on June 27 largely diminished the team’s chances of moving on. The game was marred by a Tim Weah red card after he threw a punch at a Panamanian player. The infraction left the U.S. team down a man only 18 minutes into the game. José Fajardo scored in the 83rd minute to seal the game for Panama.

The U.S. was then bounced from the tournament after a 1-0 loss on July 1 to perennial South American powerhouse Uruguay, a 15-time Copa America champion.

The tournament was the last chance the U.S. had to face strong international competition in official games ahead of the 2026 World Cup, which it will host with Mexico and Canada. The early exit was widely regarded as a sign of regression following the 2022 World Cup, when Berhalter was also at the helm of the U.S. team.

Berhalter, 50, was the first American to coach the national team after having played for the team at a World Cup. He was hired to coach the U.S. in December 2018 after stints with Sweden’s Hammarby (2011-13) and Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew (2013-18).

Berhalter was brought in to lead a generational revamp of the U.S. soccer program, with a young crop of Americans like Weah, Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams and Antonee Robinson finding regular game time at their clubs in Europe.

He led the U.S. to two CONCACAF Nations League titles, as well as a 2021 Gold Cup.

In the 2022 World Cup, the U.S. team made it out of its group — which also featured England, Wales and Iran — but was knocked out in the round of 16 in a 3-1 loss to the Netherlands.

Following that World Cup exit, some players strongly supported Berhalter in public, saying he fostered a culture that bound the group.

That support led to Berhalter being rehired five months after his initial contract expired amid an investigation of a decades-old domestic violence incident involving Berhalter and the woman who would later become his wife. A law firm retained by the USSF said there was no legal risk in bringing Berhalter back, concluding that « the 1992 Incident was an isolated event, and we find no evidence to suggest that Mr. Berhalter has engaged in similar misconduct at any other time. »

Crocker, the federation’s sporting director, had indicated that the recent Copa America performance “fell short of our expectations.”

Less than two years remain before the World Cup comes to American soil for the second time. The Americans play their opener on June 12, 2026, in Inglewood, California.

“Our immediate focus is on finding a coach who can maximize our potential as we continue to prepare for the 2026 World Cup, and we have already begun our search process,” Crocker said after the announcement of Berhalter’s departure.

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