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Who will coach USMNT after 2022 World Cup if not Gregg Berhalter?
United States

Who will coach USMNT after 2022 World Cup if not Gregg Berhalter?

Updated Jul. 27, 2022 4:12 p.m. ET

By Doug McIntyre
FOX Sports Soccer Writer

The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is a little more than 100 days away, which means Gregg Berhalter's tenure as coach of the U.S. Men's National Team could be down to its final few months.

The four-year contract Berhalter signed in late 2018 expires after this winter's tournament, and any potential extension obviously will hinge on how the Americans perform in Doha.

When asked last week by former USMNT forward Hérculez Gómez if he wants to remain in charge beyond this year, Berhalter was noncommittal.


"That's something that I'll sit down with my family, and we'll talk about, and we'll evaluate," he told Gomez, now the co-host of the ESPN show Fútbol Americas. "But one thing I'd say is it's a great opportunity to be coaching the United States in the World Cup in 2026 at home."

USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter breaks down Wales, England and Iran

We are only a few months out from squads heading to Qatar. U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter dives into the group stage with Alexi Lalas and David Mosse. Will the Americans make it to the knockout round?

A deep run this year would boost Berhalter's chances of staying, but U.S. Soccer could also decide that four years at the helm is enough, even if the Americans impress in Qatar. Few national team coaches stick around for a second World Cup cycle — and for good reason: Things often don't go well for the ones who do.

Take England, a group stage opponent for the U.S. at Qatar 2022, along with Iran and Wales. Gareth Southgate led the Three Lions to the semifinals of the previous World Cup and a runner-up finish at last summer's European Championship. It was England's most successful stretch in more than half a century.

But a dismal performance in the UEFA Nations League in June suddenly has English fans concerned that Southgate's message has grown stale. The USMNT went through a similar experience a generation ago with Bruce Arena, who was rewarded for taking the U.S. to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals. Four years later, the Americans didn't win a game.

Given that history, leaving on a high note could be an attractive option for Berhalter — especially if a successful World Cup opens the door for him to return to Europe. An offer to work in, say, the Bundesliga might be too tempting to resist, nearly a decade after a stint with Swedish club Hammarby in his first head-coaching job ended with Berhalter's dismissal.

The odds that the U.S. will have a new man in charge by next summer are therefore even, at the least. Here are five potential candidates (listed alphabetically) likely to be on USSF sporting director Earnie Stewart's shortlist if Berhalter doesn't return.

Steve Cherundolo, 43, LAFC 

Even before he retired as one of the most underrated players in USMNT history, the three-time World Cup veteran was being tipped as a future U.S. coach. Since then, Cherundolo has moved up the ranks methodically. He was an assistant with two different Bundesliga clubs and Germany's under-15 national squad before landing his first head gig with the Las Vegas Lights of the second-tier USL Championship in 2021.

Cherundolo spent just a year in Vegas; he was hired by LAFC after former U.S. boss Bob Bradley left for Toronto last winter. LAFC has led the Supporters Shield race since the opening weekend, and they're also FOX Bet's pick to win MLS Cup in November. Should the league's highest-profile club claim both titles, Cherundolo's stock could rise significantly.

Jim Curtin, 43, Philadelphia Union

Not only has the second-longest tenured coach in MLS (after former USMNT captain Peter Vermes in Kansas City) consistently helped relatively frugal Philadelphia punch well above their weight, but he has also proven adept at fielding and developing youngsters. USMNT and Leeds United forward Brenden Aaronson is the primary example but not the only one: U.S. defender Mark McKenzie also thrived under Curtin's leadership before graduating to Belgian club Genk last year.

What Curtin lacks in international pedigree — he has never played for or coached any national team or in Europe — he makes up for with his ability to connect with and get the most out of his players. He's the biggest reason the Union are among the favorites to hoist MLS Cup this season. The 2020 MLS Coach of the Year already won a Supporters Shield with Philly, a feat that might be even more impressive.

One other thing in Curtin’s favor? He worked under Stewart from 2015 to '18 when Stewart was Philadelphia’s sporting director.

Jesse Marsch, 48, Leeds United

After winning trophies in MLS and Austria and keeping Leeds in England's Premier League less than three months after taking over relegation-threatened United, Marsch is the most qualified of the bunch.

But would he be available? With this year's World Cup falling in the middle of the European season, U.S. Soccer might have to wait until June to name a new full-time coach, even with CONCACAF Nations League matches scheduled before that. 

And unless Leeds struggles mightily in Marsch's first full season and he's let go during it or right after, he'd have two years left on his contract. It's difficult to see Marsch, who served as a USMNT assistant under Bradley at South Africa 2010, simply walking away from the planet's best and most visible domestic circuit — even for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to lead his country at a World Cup on home soil. 

Pellegrino Matarazzo, 44, Stuttgart

Perhaps the least known of these names among U.S. supporters, Matarazzo became the first U.S.-born American (he grew up in New Jersey and played soccer at Columbia University) to coach in the Bundesliga when he won promotion with Stuttgart last year. In May, he helped the club stay in Germany's top flight.

Matarazzo climbed the coaching levels overseas, including a season as current Bayern Munich manager Julian Nagelsmann's understudy with Hoffenheim. He has kept ties to the American game, too; Matarazzo counts fellow Jersey native Berhalter as a friend, while his younger brother, Antonio, works in marketing for MLS. 

Josh Wolff, 45, Austin FC

Wolff paid a decade of dues as an assistant — first as a player-coach with D.C. United, then under Berhalter with the Columbus Crew and later the USMNT — before becoming Austin's main man prior to their 2021 expansion season.

This year, the Verde sit fourth overall in the league behind only Cherundolo's LAFC, Curtin's Philly and defending league champ New York City FC. The meticulous Wolff is a likely MLS Coach of the Year candidate. A two-time World Cup participant with the U.S., the former striker is probably still a little too green for the top job. That perception could change quickly if Austin rips through the playoffs and wins MLS Cup in November.

One of the leading soccer journalists in North America, Doug McIntyre has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.


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