Will Greg Berhalter Be USA’s Manager At The 2026 World Cup?


Doha, Qatar – Nearly two hours after the final whistle blew and their World Cup was over, players from United States of america The men’s national team is back at the Kempinski Hotel in Doha, their home for the last three weeks. They came through the back entrance and went to their dining room for the last time as a unit.

The post-game meal during the tournament was typically presented in a food-hall style, with various dishes set up at stations around the large ballroom, and was heavy on Americana. While the players ate wings, burgers and fries, US coach Greg Berhalter stood at the front of the room and gave a short speech. He thanked the players and staff. He told them how proud he was. Then he asked everyone to take a moment and look around.

“This group – this exact group,” he said, “will never be together like this again.”

His message was clear: Yes, there will be more big moments in the future, but not with this specific collection of people. Berhalter wanted everyone to appreciate the meaning of that moment.

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The players disbanded within a day of the tournament ending, and their next steps are fairly clear as club football began in earnest almost immediately. For Berhalter, however, what comes next is more ambiguous. His contract with US Soccer expires at the end of the year. Does the federation want him to return? does he want to to return?

sources told ESPN Talks between US Soccer and Berhalter nearing start, and there are some early indications that he would stay if offered. There’s a sense that this team was his project — he actually brought several of his key players into the US Soccer fold — and sees it taking its natural conclusion to the 2026 World Cup, which the United States is co-hosting with Canada and Mexico. , Attractive.

But one source admitted it is still very early in the process, and other sources have indicated Berhalter is interested in exploring European club options as his coaching stock is likely to be high. That comparison — what Berhalter wants, and how it best compares to this team of young, talented players — is the biggest question facing the federation now.

Additional reporting by Kyle Bonagura.

berhalter case

From the point of view of both the federation and the average USMNT fan, the potential of the US team has never been greater. Many of the top players featuring in Qatar will be at the peak of their careers at the 2026 World Cup, and so finding a coach who is able to bring out the best out of them at that moment is the greatest merit for any player. Candidate needed.

The fact that World Cup qualifying is unlikely to happen – and therefore few real competitive games – could make the job less attractive during this cycle, and given Berhalter’s established relationships with players, that could help keep the momentum going. can help.

The way Berhalter has led his team in this World Cup certainly supports the idea that he knows how to unlock his best players and inspire a young group. In Qatar, he determined to do whatever he could to make everyone feel comfortable. Sometimes, it was through rhetoric: Before the opening game, he brought in Eric Thomas, a popular motivational speaker whose personal story is about the power of belief. Sometimes he used more active measures to encourage team bonding: the players’ lounge was filled with all manner of distractions, including barber chairs for the players when they were out, and a barista who Used to come every afternoon.

Berhalter also prioritized family time, knowing that keeping his young players comfortable would be key. Even though it was the most compressed World Cup ever, with all 48 group stage games over 13 days, the US team had hours of free time during which players could go to the beach or pool with their families. There was a barbecue and even a Thanksgiving dinner (at which ugly sweaters that Fox had made with the players’ faces on them were given out, much to laughter).

Berhalter also scored points with his team by making a change that had never been done before: family time after the game. Berhalter thought it was important that players share their post-game excitement with those who supported them most, so after each match, the bus to the hotel was delayed – sometimes by more than an hour – and everyone went to the empty stands to be with their loved ones.

In a typical game, the team exits the stadium as quickly as possible and returns to the hotel; In this tournament, they sometimes returned almost two hours after the match, and the players appreciated being able to share those moments with their families.

All that team-building, as well as the results they’ve produced, make a strong case for Berhalter. But support for Berhalter coming back for a second term is not universal within the federation.

Some think that, except with insane levels of over-achievement, a manager should not get a second cycle. Bringing back a manager for return engagement has not worked well in the past as well. Neither Bob Bradley nor Jürgen Klinsmann lasted the entire World Cup cycle when they were brought back for another go-round, and while Bruce Arena made it through a second cycle in 2006, he was eliminated from the tournament group stage. Ended up with a disappointing exit. Then there was Arena’s second stint, replacing Klinsmann in an attempt to qualify for 2018, and apparently that too fared poorly.

There are also questions about Berhalter’s decision-making in terms of his in-game adjustments and roster decisions. More than once, the US failed to create an impressive opening period to make a mark on the game in the second half, and there are reasonable questions about its player usage/rotation as well.

Deciding on Berhalter’s Future

immediately after talking to the players that night after the loss NetherlandsBerhalter left the room where he was watching Argentina,Australia Reflected on the match and his experience in Qatar.

For months before the tournament, he told ESPN, he and his coaches painstakingly worked out every single tactical scenario they could imagine for each group stage game — a goal versus a goal. walesDown One Man Vs. Iran, and so on. The process was exhausting, and Berhalter said he was looking forward to “decompressing” with his family.

When asked to evaluate his work, he said, “I don’t think this is the time for me to evaluate my performance,” he said. “What I would say is a measuring stick: Can Americans see what they saw and be proud of it? Can they be proud of the team? And a lot of the answers come back: ‘Yes.’ So I’m proud of this group. I’m proud of how they stayed together and what they showed to the outside world.”

That’s certainly one factor to consider, but there are obviously others. Sources have told ESPN that at least five people are involved in the decision to retain Berhalter: USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone, USSF Sports Director Ernie Stewart, US Men’s National Team General Manager Brian McBride, members of the USSF Board of Directors member Juan Uro and USSF CEO JT Batson.

Stewart, a staunch defender of Berhalter during this cycle, will have the most say, though any hire must ultimately be approved by the board of directors.

“As we always do after a big tournament, we are taking time to reflect,” Stewart said in a statement. “We will undertake a full review with everyone involved as we determine our next steps. We look forward to improving performance in Qatar and preparing for the 2026 Tour.”

A decision isn’t needed to be made, either, although there are short-term considerations that a January training camp is scheduled that will feature mostly US-based players and end against the Games. Serbia And Colombia, While it would not be disastrous to have an interim head coach in charge, the federation would likely prefer a solution sooner rather than later.

If Berhalter doesn’t come back through his own choice or the federation’s choice, there will be no shortage of other candidates. The list probably starts with two managers that were considered in the past: Orlando City SC coach Oscar Pareja and former Mexico Manager Juan Carlos Osorio. leeds united manager Jessie Marsh It’s also an obvious target, although Marsh will have to do something to dislodge it. Premier League club.

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Herc Gomez thinks Louis van Gaal cleverly outplayed Greg Berhalter in the United States’ exit from the Qatar World Cup at the last 16 stage.

As tempting as these names may be, it’s also clear that Berhalter has built up a solid base of support for himself. He is seen as having a “great mindset” to unite the players. mls and Europe, said a source, which is “a complicated thing to deal with” given that it could be a source of friction in the team if not managed well. The players also clearly respect him.

“He’s done very well. I think the hardest thing as a coach is to get everyone going in the same direction,” the American defender DeAndre Yedlin told Fox Sports. “I think he’s done great. He’s made everybody buy into the culture, and that’s the most important thing. You hear a lot of things about the vibes with this team, and people joke about it. But at the end of the day, I think that might be the biggest quality of the team.”

In a World Cup where expectations far exceed the sample size on which a coach is judged, Yedlin may be right.

At one point early in the tournament, Berhalter was asked about that reality – the notion that being an international manager means having relatively few matches to prove your worth. He considered the question and nodded.

“This is what you signed up for,” he said. “It’s work, and the way I see it as an opportunity.”

Time will tell if he gets another.

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