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Stewart: USMNT coach to be hired by end of year


U.S. Men’s National Team general manager Earnie Stewart says the next USMNT coach will be hired by the end of 2018, according to

Stewart was hired as the first Men’s National Team general manager in June, and he began acting in the position on August 1. After the failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and resignation of head coach Bruce Arena last October, one of the largest tasks facing Stewart is hiring the next coach to lead USMNT.

As the Men’s National Team approaches a full year without a permanent head coach, fans have wondered who will be the next person to take the reins of the squad. While Stewart has some ideas about what he’s looking for in the next head coach, he says there have been no interviews with candidates so far.

“I want to make the right choice, and not a choice that is hasty,” Stewart said. “I don’t know what exactly I can say to [fans] more than the fact I’m putting a lot of thought, together with some other people, in making sure that we make the right choice for the future.”

How will Stewart evaluate who is the right choice?

“I think it’s important that you first have a set profile of what kind of characteristics he needs to have, That starts with the values of one, the American player, and what U.S. Soccer is about because it’s not about ‘Earnie’s coach’ or anything like that. It’s about having a coach that’s good for U.S. Soccer and where we stand and where we want to go to.”

While Stewart declined to name anyone under consideration for the job, two names that repeatedly have popped up as linked to the position are Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter and Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes.

Stewart played alongside both Berhalter and Vermes on the U.S. Men’s National Team, and both have had success in MLS. Berhalter took the Crew to the 2015 MLS Cup Final, where the team lost 2-1 to the Portland Timbers. Peter Vermes has won the 2013 MLS Cup and the 2012, 2015, and 2017 U.S. Open Cups.

Stewart addressed the Berhalter rumors directly, saying, “we have a professional relationship and we played with each other. Then again, I can say that about a lot of others at the same time.

“I haven’t had interviews. He’s not the coach that he’s the shoo-in. That’s not the case.”

Vermes recently signed a multi-year contract extension as both head coach and technical director with Sporting KC, and while he’s never outright denied interest in the USMNT job, he remains focused on his job with Sporting KC

He told Major League Soccer in September 2017, “Of course, all of us as coaches think at some time that we would love to get to that level. Having played for the national team, Olympics, World Cup, the whole nine yards, it would be a humbling opportunity for me for sure.

“But with that said… I love my job. I love where I’m at in the club. I coach for the best organization in Major League Soccer.”

Whoever the next USMNT coach is, Stewart says he expects to make an announcement between November and December of this year.

Who do you think should be the next USMNT coach? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. If one of the requirements is understanding the American player/system… then the sad Truth is that Bob Bradley is the obvious first choice given everything else he brings to the table. I wish we would have at least interviewed Osorio. I believe we can do much better than a lightweight MLS guy like Vermes or Berhalter, but this American guy (with MLS experience implied) requirement is nonsense.

    • That may be the most (only?) sensible thing you’ve ever posted on SBI…

      I know you meant it as a low-key jab at the USMNT, implying that no decent coach actually wants the job, but Stewart isn’t going to reveal if he’s received inquiries from potential candidates. This isn’t your favorite telenovela, Lil’ Bobby; Stewart is professional enough to conduct the process behind closed doors.

  2. So they wasted 12 months without interviewing anyone, and now have 3 months to make a decision? They wanted to avoid making a hasty decision but now down to the last 3 months to make a decision… sounds like they know what they are doing.

    What is it with understanding the mentality of the American player? If an American player goes to a pickup game, do those pickup players have to understand him in order for him to be good? Soccer is same the world over. If you are good, people will know how to play.

    We already tried Arena twice (understanding the mentality of the American player) and the program has not advanced any further but backwards.

  3. Forgot to mention one thing that might make us uncomfortable. The young players that have been called in over the last year all seem to enjoy playing for Sarachan. To the point where Weah (I think) made a public statement that he wants Sarachan as the permanent coach. We will see what happens tonight, but there isn’t much a rational person can say about Sarachan’s job so far that is negative.

    • hopefully we don’t consider the opinion of an 18 year old with 2 caps when making this decision. No current players should have any say so.
      If the final decision is Sarachan than this process has been an incredible failure. I don’t mean any disrespect to Sarachan, but he in no way has the resume to be our permanent national team head coach.

      • Well, neither did Croatia’s coach, really.

        Not saying it should be Dave by any stretch, but a lot of times it’s not about the biggest name or best guy, but the right guy. It’s cliche, but I think about Herb Brooks and the 1980 hockey team. I think people are way too afraid of American coaches for their own good. While I have my doubts about MLS influences on the whole situation, I’m not opposed to guys like Vermes or Berhalter. The idea that some big-name foreign coach is the only person who could come and change the program is completely ludicrous.

        Whoever gets hired just needs a plan. A plan based on what we actually have, what we actually are, what we actually CAN be and stick to it. The whole Klinsmann Era was about change, and that was good for about 2-3 years, and then Jurgen lost the plot and ultimately the fans, players and federation. Not sure we need another personality like that. Then Bruce came in and was unwilling to take a chance on other players (cap J. Gonzalez for instance when he was in great from at Monterrey and you needed a midfield spark, instead opting for Bradley, Kljestan, Feilhaber again and again) in the face of adversity.

  4. I have to think this means Stewart and Co. know who they want and it is an MLS coach who wants to finish their season without the distractions of their team and the public knowing this job is coming up. Berhalter would be my guess. If that is not the case, then the USSF is every bit as inept and dysfunctional as our federal govt.

  5. Claudio Ranieri, if he can win premiere league with Leicester and speak English then he has my vote. If some big ugly comes up to you and says have you paid your dues, you know what Jack Burton always says at a time like this? Yea sir the check is in the mail.

  6. If Stewart takes until the end of the year to hire somehow, and it turns out to be Berhalter or Vermes, I seriously wonder why we hired this guy at all.

    Gimme a break. Seriously. Those have been the two names we’ve been hearing for at least a year and a half…did we really need to wait 18 months, hire a “GM” for a position the president of the USSF rationally should have filled, and then just do what everybody figured we were going to do anyhow?

    The cycle started two months ago…and though we fired Klinsmann in 2017 – 2017! – somehow we’re still behind.

    Only the good old USSF could manage that. And for those who know me…I am not long on negative posts. But Good God have we been insanely inept on this one.

    • You understand that hiring a head coach isn’t the GM’s only job, right? He has other responsibilities beyond that.

      I won’t deny that USSoccer isn’t the most well-oiled machine, but at least FIFA hasn’t taken over the reins like other countries… So it could always be worse.

    • thank you, ernie stewart. you have reached out to about 15-20 people including coaches to ask for their opinions about such things as A the characteristics of the ideal coach and B the values of the american player. this process is near completion, you said, and soon you will begin selecting your candidates for usmnt coach. thank you, ernie, sincerely. i really like this approach. and even bigger than that, your overarching goal is to describe things such as A what is the american player? B what do we want to see on the field? and C what do we want to identify with? i know you will lead us in the right direction. i feel comfortable awaiting your coaching decision or your next news.

  7. While Stewart may not have interviewed anyone yet, I hope he has at least identified his candidate pool, and narrowed it down to 3-5 to interview. I would expect there to be at least a couple MLS coaches (Berhalter, Vermes, & TaTa), and possibly 1-2 foreign coaches (Wagner, Hiddink).
    Would love to see TaTa, Wagner, or Hiddink as the coach….than bring on an assistant coach with a tie to the USMNT (Dolo) to provide insight to the US player/system.

  8. “No foreign manager has ever won the World Cup, but many have been extremely successful”…..with that being said

    Throwing GREGG BERHALTER or PETER VERMES or TAB RAMOS or GREG VANNEY in the mix and we are better off staying with Interim USMNT coach Dave Sarachan who has developed some chemistry with the team

    American Coaches (PREFERED)
    BOB BRADLEY – Bob Bradley laid foundation for Egypt’s first trip to World Cup in 28 years and his immediate success with MLS expansion side Los Angeles FC has only served to remind us what a good coach he is

    JESSE MARSCH – former New York Red Bulls coach, an assistant manager with Bundesliga side RB Leipzig (His ability to implement a system, develop young talent, and make tactical adjustments make him a well-rounded coach who could fit in perfect candidate)

    TATA MARTINO – Atlanta United boss, impressive resume, with Barcelona and Argentina stints, and now his work in MLS.

    CARLOS QUEIROZ – helped Iran to a solid showing at the World Cup, was the head coach of the New York-New Jersey MetroStars (understands US Soccer)

    LOUIS VAN GAAL – One of the true living legends of the international coaching (has the best resume), former Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester United boss, guided the Netherlands to third place at the 2014 World Cup

    MICHAEL O’NEILL – highly-regarded coaching prospect in Europe, Northern Ireland boss, helped Northern Ireland qualify for the 2016 European Championship, recently turned down the Scottish national team, one-time member of the Portland Timbers (in 2001),and familiar with the American soccer setup

    • For the most part, I like this list. My only concern with Tata is that he apparently doesn’t speak a word of English. That’s not a problem in training, but when we’re down 1-0 against a bunkered in Costa Rica and need a goal, it may be easier to have someone who speaks the same language on the sideline.

      In all honesty, Bob Bradley wouldn’t surprise me at all. He’s grown a lot since his last stint, knows the American system (which is super confusing), and isn’t afraid to use the young guys.

      • I used that point as a potential sign he isn’t interested in staying in the US. However, he does seem to understand English, he rarely uses his translator in interviews so the language barrier may not be that big of a deal.

    • Good god I hate van Gaal. Guy has mastered the art of walking into gold plated situations and somehow convincing everyone he did a great job by doing slightly worse than his predecessor. Terrible fraud. Other than that I mostly like your list.

    • Berhalter and Vermes are far better managers than Sarachan. They are both known for building strong relationships with their players and incorporating young players into their system so I don’t think Dave’s time is all that important. Berhalter is regarded as the best tactician among the American manager contingent. Berhalter is a better in match adjuster than Marsch, Jesse is a great candidate for the next cycle not sure about now.
      Agree on Vanney he had the most talent in the league for two years and made the finals and won once. Anytime he hasn’t had a full roster TFC has been pretty awful. He tried to play Altidore as wing, do I need to say anymore?
      Tata for sure, but I don’t think he’s interested.
      No on Van Gaal, and I doubt he would even consider it given he usually chooses top 5 teams with the exception of AZ where he had been a player. Plus he was pretty awful at ManU.
      Ranieri is known as an over tinkerer and struggled last year at Nantes. Both he Van Gaal would be splash names, but don’t really seem to fit what Stewart is advocating.

  9. “While Stewart has some ideas about what he’s looking for in the next head coach, he says there have been no interviews with candidates so far.” I hope this is blowing smoke because, if not, I find this to be an astounding statement. He should have had a good idea of what he wanted within a couple of weeks after he was selected, and narrowed down his choices to 2 or 3 not long after that. By waiting this long, the number of international coaches available has been greatly reduced. Hopefully, the only issue remaining are the details of a contract so that the new coach already has decided on his assistants and can hit the ground running.


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