U.S. Soccer is set to hire general managers for the U.S. Men’s National Team and U.S. Women’s National Team, and now we know a bit more about what that process will be like.
Speaking on a conference call on Wednesday, U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn offered a bit of clarity on the hiring process as well as the role the GMs will play with each national team. Currently, there is no timeline nor announced candidates in place but, heading towards the summer, the USMNT is the priority due to the team’s lack of coach.
“There’s a bit more urgency on for the GM on the men’s side, but we are identifying candidates and have already started the process on both sides,” he said. “We’re dual-tracking them, but in terms of closing the loop first, more likely it would be the GM for the Men’s National Team.
“We’re looking for the best candidates for each of the positions, but we think that there is fertile territory in Major League Soccer. We’re looking beyond that level as well and other parts of the world, but I want to stress the most important thing is to get the best candidate,” Flynn added. “Internally, we think it’s pretty important that the general managers understand our leagues, our lower leagues in our country – how they operate, how they work and what the player development model is in on the domestic side.”
Flynn is part of a six-person hiring committee that involved executive Ryan Mooney, former players Carlos Bocanegra and Angela Hucles, as well as Director of Sporting Development Programs Nico Romeijn and Chief Commercial Officer Jay Berhalter. That committee will identify up to six candidates for each GM role and make a recommendation to the Board of Directors, who will then need to approve any potential hire.
On the men’s side, the GM’s primary focus, at least at the start, will be the hiring of a new USMNT coach, a decision which will also need to be approved by the Board of Directors. Each team’s respective coaching staff will report to their GM, who, in turn, report back to Flynn.
In addition, the GM will manage the player pool, handle scouting and “other big-picture aspects of” U.S. Soccer.
As a result, neither role will function like that of a traditional technical director as neither will oversee youth teams. Instead, Youth National Team Technical Directors Tab Ramos and April Heinrichs will continue to oversee the process of hiring and firing coaches at the youth level.
“They can be more of a strategist, more of a thinker, more of a leader and manager of a framework and have a system,” Mooney said. “This falls in line with that approach that we’ve adopted in many other areas on the soccer side.”