The U.S. Men’s National Team has its first ever general manager.
U.S. Soccer has officially hired Earnie Stewart to oversee the USMNT. U.S. Soccer is set to announce Stewart’s hiring on Wednesday afternoon.
Stewart, who will leave his post as sporting director of the Philadelphia Union, emerged as the front-runner for the job in May. In addition to his work in MLS, Stewart has executive experience in Europe having previously worked with Dutch clubs NAC Breda and AZ Alkmaar.
Stewart has always wanted to ascend the ranks of U.S. Soccer, and he saw the general manager opening as the perfect opportunity.
“Having played for the U.S. Men’s National Team and seeing what the capabilities and possibilities were in the United States, this was something where I wanted to jump on board,” he said in an interview with U.S. Soccer. “My ultimate goal was to be at the top of the pyramid at some point in my career to help soccer in the United States. When this came along, it was an opportunity I could not pass up.”
In addition to his work in the front office, Stewart is a former USMNT midfielder. The 49 year old made 101 senior appearances and scored 17 goals for the USMNT while appearing at 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cups.
Stewart’s first task will be leading the search for a new head coach in a process that will likely truly begin following the conclusion of the World Cup in July.
“As quick as possible,” he said when asked about a timeline for finding his new coach. “I think the head coach is the most important person within the National Team. He’s the man on the sideline. He’s the man that selects the players and he’s the man after the game that stands in front of the nation and tells them what they have just seen. I think that’s very important. As we had the process in getting a general manager, I think a similar process needs to take place for a head coach. We’ll do our due diligence. It’s very important to make sure we make the right choice.”
He also expressed a desire to establish a strong scouting network for both new and established players while creating a national soccer culture that extends all the way down to the youth ranks. However, everything he does will have one goal in mind.
“My ultimate goal for the U.S. Men’s National Team is to become a world champion at some point in the future,” he said. “I’m not saying that that needs to happen in four years, but making sure that we create this great big player pool, together in the landscape of the United States from academies to M.L.S. and also our players that are in foreign countries, that gets us into a place where we are a country that needs to be reckoned with. I think we already are. I think we’ve come a long way. After all these years, people recognize us and what our capabilities are.”