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Report: Josh Wolff to be named Berhalter’s top assistant with USMNT


U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter is getting ready for his first camp in charge of the USMNT, and the staff he will bring in to coach the team is finally beginning to take shape.

Former USMNT striker Josh Wolff, who spent the last five seasons under Berhalter as an assistant in Columbus, is reportedly set to be named the USMNT’s top assistant, according to Yahoo Sports.

Wolff earned 52 caps with the USMNT and appeared in two World Cups back in 2002 and 2006. He also played with Berhalter for two years domestically at 1860 Munich.

After a 15-year career, Wolff served as an assistant coach at D.C. United in 2012-13. If Wolff does move to U.S. Soccer, he will join Asher Mendelsohn who also was the former Director of Soccer Operations in Columbus.

Berhalter’s first camp as USMNT head coach begins next week in Chula Vista, Cali ahead of a pair of friendlies against Panama and Costa Rica on Jan. 27th and Feb. 2nd respectively.


  1. You can mock the “who will coach if the head gets sick/suspended/ejected” argument all you want but we just had the lead assistant serve as an interim head for more than a year with horrifying results. It is a succession position and should be treated with according seriousness. QED.

    • Similarly, in 2006 Bradley was Arena’s assistant and was elevated as interim. Because of his Fire and Chivas successes he was well prepared for the role and made permanent. Even Sarachan has better creds as a coach than Wolff. And we saw how that turned out.

  2. Boy, I’ve never seen so many people, really one person, cry and complain about an assistant coach before LOL….seems people are looking for reasons to criticize poor SuM and USSF

  3. I like how we are raising the bar.

    2 World Cups (an assist on a goal in our biggest win in WC history to advance to the quarters)
    2000 Olympics scored 2 goals in our best finish ever of 4th place
    2 Gold Cup wins
    52 caps 9 goals and 5 assists
    MLS Career with 80 goals and 49 assists
    3 US Open Cup Titles
    1 MLS Cup
    1 and 1/2 seasons in 2.Bundesliga (cut short by injuries)

    Was the man of the match in the unofficial first Dos a Cero, coming on for the swollen eyed McBride, Wolff scored the first and assisted on the second.

    Although never the star on the USMNT (playing in the shadow of Donovan and McBride) he was an important part of our best Olympic and World Cup finishes.

    What about his coaching? Wolff’s Forwards at Crew SC (All Career Highs)
    2018: Zardes 20 goals (T-3rd)
    2017: O.Kamara 19 goals (T-4th)
    2016: O. Kamara 16 goals (T-5th)
    2015: K. Kamara 22 goals (T-1st)

    This shows “he is terrible and he has nothing to offer”. Seriously the revisionist history just so we can posture ourselves as the angriest of the posters is ridiculous.

    • “Important part?” False. Lame and misleading, but what else can we expect

      WC 2002 he played 8 minutes as a sub in the group round, and then 59 minutes in one game (that you cherrypick) in the two knockouts.
      WC 2006 he played 13 minutes as a sub in a loss to the Czechs.
      Grand total of his 2 WC trips: 3 games, 1 start, 2 subs, 80 minutes, 1 assist.

      Are you seriously suggesting he was an important part of the 2002 team? He played part of 2 games out of 5, never scored a goal. Really?

      This is kind of like the people who refer to Berhalter’s WC experience, which in reality was that while making 3 teams he only ever appeared in one tournament, in the knockout stage, after Agoos got hurt. Otherwise he picked up splinters. He did nearly have a huge goal, but c’mon, be real. Your guy was a bit player.

      Olympics? Gold Cup? Really? We gonna hire Dwyer next?

      His goals rate is in fact lower than the people he would be coaching. You can hold up 9 international goals like it’s great. Ching had 11. Wondo has 11 and Wondo couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn in games that actually mattered. Twellman had 6. Zardes has 6. In the big picture of USSF history, so freaking what.

      The people he would be coaching: Jozy has 41 goals. Wood already has 13 goals in fewer caps than Wolff got. Sargent has 2 goals in a handful of games. etc. etc.

      The numbers you cite pretend they are a product of coaching. Zardes had 16 goals for LAG; O. Kamara has played around the world and had double digit season goals for Stromsgodset, Molde, and LAG; K. Kamara had 14 last year for Vancouver, and double digit season goals for SKC and NER, and played in the EPL. But you’re right, he was some secret that Wolff created.

      My main point would be that for the supposed coaching you claim, the Crew haven’t done anything in 4 years. Objectively.

      So what you’re doing is misleading people about how he did for the US as a player, hiding how his team did that he coached, and taking credit for people scoring goals for the Crew who also scored for other teams at a high rate.

      Basically, you just read his resume out of context. Funny thing with players: a lot of NT types have great resumes. I don’t think you get how good you have to be to have something to teach Wood, Jozy, Sargent, etc. Maybe we can have Wondo or Zardes coach them! Self refuting rubbish. This is objective, not revisionist or provocative. You just go around saying everyone is making the right decisions MEANWHILE we aren’t in Russia and a lot of these kids signing abroad don’t play or bounce around loans. Yeah, sure, you really know what you’re talking about. All you do is justify failed conventional wisdom with inch deep repeating of resumes.

      • Winner of this round Imperative Voice. He is, in fact, the angriest “fan” on this message board. Sorry, US_Fan you are going to have to step up your game. Joe Dirt? Not even going to play this round, this is ripe for an MLS/SUM conspiracy rant, I’m disappointed in you.

      • No substantive come back after I dismantled your balsa wood skyscraper, yep, won that round.

  4. Remember when Josh Wolff was Sarachan’s assistant for the last round of friendlies, and people took this as a sure sign that Berhalter was about to be hired? Now those same people seem somehow shocked that Wolff was the pick for assistant….. weird.
    Frankly this is about the least surprising thing ever…. coach retains right hand man. La ti da. Whatever. I’m not going to waste time pretending I know who is a “good” or “bad” assistant coach out there. I don’t have that information and judging by the comments on here, most people who do have an opinion are basing on Wolff’s quality as a striker, which is hilarious.

    • Wolff has not been a head coach. His assistant contribution is difficult to identify but objectively the team has not won MLS while he was there. That’s his coaching resume. So you get into how he played because he doesn’t have coaching achievements and bluntly you have to strain to justify it as anything other than the coach retaining his staff member. If Columbus was a MLS powerhouse I might rubberstamp it. But what you’re saying in practice is we should rubberstamp the mere promotion of his club assistants when he never won MLS and is himself a stretch. I would want a higher level of coaching and more coaching resumes in the room. Not someone whose virtue is being his yes man on a midtable club. To me the assistants should be top notch and not beholden to him.

      • You’re entitled to your own rubric. But if you simply go back through at look at the most successful coaches (club or country) over the past decades you will find that comparitively few of these assistants meet any of your criteria (elite former player / head coaching experience). By contrast, you will find plenty of mostly undistinguished former players with zero head coaching experience and only a few years of assistant work under their belts. This hire is completely in line with market standards. I can’t say if it’s “good” or “bad” yet, but it’s not lazy or inconsistent with what the very best programs do on a very common basis.

      • How many times have we also hired a head coach without MLS wins or top level experience? It’s like if we water down the head job we can also not care on the assistants. I’d think a more risky head pick might be offset by trusted assistants who do have some proven value. This is doubling down. You better really believe he was a Crew wonder if it’s him and his staff from club ball.

  5. Before he’s even coached a game, this is starting to smell like another disaster. Josh friggin Wolff? Thats the best you can do? He was never that good back in the day. What’s he going to teach anybody? Im sorry but this is now officially Strike 1 of 3. The NAT team is NOT the Columbus Crew. We dont need your crew staff or mediocre Crew players like Trapp. Hiring GB is going to be a giant mistake IMO and this is just the beginning

    • Why?

      The best players seldom make the best managers. And names really don’t mean a whole lot at the end of the day.

      Soccer isn’t some mysterious Dark Art. It’s actually a pretty straightforward game and what you need are people who are good motivators and teachers on the training pitch, good man-managers off it, and who are very good at evaluating and developing the available talent pool and tailoring their system to that talent.

      We simply don’t know how good Berhalter and Wolff are going to be. We haven’t seen them do, well, anything yet at the national team level.

      • MY thing is I am looking for head coach success, team success, or high level playing. Something objective. I can’t just sit here and rubberstamp the repeated hiring of people with no big deal CVs. Sarachan has more objectively on his resume than these guys. Klinsi, Arena, and Bradley had more than Sarachan. And Sarachan was over his head. I think people are underestimating the quality level necessary to make this happen, with a young team that is not yet winning much of anything. Very naive.

  6. let me come at it this way. i need to hire a head coach to try and elevate the US back to regular qualifying and international powerhouse status. Berhatler? pffft. i need to find a top of the line assistant to give the players training, the head coach advice, and step in if the big guy is ever ejected. Wolff? pffft. QED TYVM.

  7. I think its a good move. Who better to help teach a system than the top assistant at Berhalter’s previous club. I have no idea if this system will be successful with the USMNT, but since the decision has been made to hire Berhalter, I think going all in is the right call.

  8. So much for learning from the World Cup qualifying failure. All of this is just going back to what we were already doing before. The USSF doesn’t want progess, they want status quo. The only good to come out of this mess is that there is a specific GM position for the national team, but even Stewart has already started screwing that up…

    • do you believe that the creation of a GM resulted in a superior coaching decision to the ad hoc executive driven process of before? in theory deliberation is nice. in practice i am not sure Berhalter has even Sarachan’s level of resume accomplishments. so either the GM is a genius or you created a position for the thoughtful hiring of coaches and then in reality hired a dud.

  9. like i said before, i fail to see what he can teach our forwards. sargent, jozy, wood, etc., the leading guys have already had or are projected to have club and country careers that eclipse anything wolff could do. his fans will cite the maxim that you don’t have to be a great player to coach, except he’s never been a head anywhere and Columbus didn’t set the world afire. so i’m a little concerned if we just start xeroxing Columbus to try and get success at a higher level, when Columbus has been modestly effective under their own power. I’d like to see assistants with independent/repeated success, more experience, not just a coach who is already a stretch moving his semi-successful staff up a rung.

    • I understand why you would want someone who had perhaps a more highly decorated career but there’s a ton of great coaches in the world who never had illustrious playing careers. Alex Ferguson never played outside Scotland and only achieved a few call ups, Mourinho bounced around a little in Portugal during his playing career but you wouldn’t complain that he isn’t as good as Drogba or Lampard ever were, would you? I realize Wolfe is no Ferguson or Mourinho but that doesn’t mean he won’t be effective. Coaching takes a certain eye and certain mentality and doesn’t necessarily require a super illustrious playing career.

      • i fully understand what you are saying. i am ok with coaches whose primary resume is just coaching. but then show me the performance. so basically either playing excellence or coaching excellence. he’s an ok player, not one of our great forwards with wisdom to impart (eg, McBride), and not exactly SAF either. I understand in theory he could be the next SAF but in reality he is a career assistant with some pretty bad/average teams. SAF, for comparison, was a winner from the start in Scotland. I wouldn’t have to guess he could coach. His resume shows it, even before he left Scotland.

      • first, let’s say the head coach gets tossed. has your assistant ever head coached anything above some local select team? second, particularly if i am hiring a “reach” i would like some confidence in his staff. ok, they used to be heads somewhere, or were great former players, knowledge is getting into the brain trust. this i worry it’s a stretch surrounded by his yes men.

    • You are forgetting an important point. How our US national team forwards progress won[‘t be determined by a national team assistant coach, but by their club playing careers. Where they play, how they practice day in an day out and who they play against, plus the coaching they receive at the club level will all be 1`0 times more important than what they get from maybe a few weeks per year while in national team camps. I don’t think this appointment ;makes that much difference. Wolff will be there to pass along how Berhalter wants them to play their position within his system, not teach them how to play.

      • you’re close to suggesting the coach is irrelevant. i disagree. you’re also pretty much saying the job of an assistant is to be a yes man and that it takes several such coaches to teach the Berhalter system. i disagree and doubt that. i would prefer a NFL style approach with specialist position coaches since i believe they make a difference. if all a coach offers is transmission of the heach coach’s system gospel that’s not an effective assistant. i want someone with their own ideas who can propose subs, selections, tactics, that maybe berhalter is missing. i want someone if berhalter gets tossed could get the game to the whistle competently with the same result.

      • This has been widely discussed here before. It is not the job or function of a national team coach to improve the players in the pool. Nor could they do so because they see them so little compared to what a player does with his club team. Klinsmann, for example, urged his players to push themselves by going for the toughest competition and working hardest at training. He never thought that he, as national team coach, was responsible for their development and I doubt any national team coach does, unless he is saddled with a lot of amateurs.You must be one of the few people who doesn’t realize that. Well, what is true for a head coach is probably just as true for his assistants.

      • Gary: don’t put words in my mouth. Where was the word “development?” I said a coach who has their own chops to tell the head coach game management type things, lineups, subs, tactics. So we have the guy above trying to turn Wolff, a career backup, into some team great, and you trying to say I am pushing development when I routinely say that if we want a different team go back to 10 years old kids and start there.

      • IV: Honestly in what percentage of matches does the manager get tossed? I can’t think of a manager getting tossed in any recent WC either.

      • My point is if I am looking for a coach with some objective cred I want coaching accomplishments or playing accomplishments at least. You are knocking any reference to playing cred but then not requiring any coaching cred either. I am simply saying we should require something objective be brought to the table. If you’re like he doesn’t have to be Maradona I’d think he’d have to be “something” else. I dismantled your attempt to suggest he was a top level player above. OK, why else should he be a USMNT assistant? Because of the Crew? I hope USMNT aspires to more than plucky with excuses for not being first. Certainly wasn’t our way in the last 20-some-odd years before the last cycle.

      • Young soccer player of the year? Are we now suggesting mere U20s wet behind the ears have USMNT level coaching cred? He did then progress to a solid pro and international career — the sort of thing that could be a basis for high level coaching — but nothing special. And then he has put in some time as an assistant at club level but for a fairly undistinguished team. The metric here seems to be nothing more than continuity and the idea that what was good enough for the Crew to be midtable suffices for USMNT. That to me is nothing more than doubling down on the idea that the Crew are some sort of miracle, which is dubious. Plus I would in fact like some assistants with their own heft who can in fact coach in a pinch if the coach is sick, ejected, or suspended.

      • See above: we just had the interim coach us for a year who was lead assistant. After that your attempt to nitpick rings hollow. The assistants should in fact include at least some guys we would trust to lead the team for a game or more. This is not the Crew where who cares if we don’t win our fans will just talk us up.

    • So we should have brought Klinsmann back or perhaps seen if Maradonna was tired at Dorados? If you have players that have the mentality that they played at a higher level than their coach so I’m not going to listen to them, then those aren’t the right players. Those types won’t listen to anyone and they aren’t going to listen to their teammates.
      As for Wolff the 1998 US Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year, he was a career starter in MLS, who suffered a series of injuries but when fit and not with the national team he was always a starter. In a year and a half in Germany, he started 26 times in 34 appearances. Two torn ACLs, a torn meniscus, a broken foot, and a broken ankle kept him from being a superstar but to diminish his career as “a career backup” is false. The fact that he couldn’t beat out Landon Donovan, Brian McBride, and Clint Dempsey at the striker spot for the US doesn’t mean he can’t contribute in the coaches room or on the sideline, that’s 1a, 1b, and 4 on the all-time scoring list.

    • we’ve already anticipated the move by dropping down the Hex table, next thing we have to do is forget history and start talking about how we punch above our weight in lieu of actual silverware


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