Gregg Berhalter has rejoined the USMNT as head coach. The 49-year-old previously managed the team from 2018 up until the end of the ’22 World Cup. His contract with U.S. Soccer ended following the completion of the tournament in Qatar, but he has now been renamed as head coach six months later.

Berhalter’s role with the USMNT was previously under threat due to a domestic violence incident with his wife 30 years ago. There were issues concerning Gio Reyna and his parents as well. Nevertheless, U.S. Soccer eventually cleared Berhalter and he was back in contention to retake the job.

U.S. Soccer opted to appoint interim head coach Anthony Hudson beginning in January. After just five matches, Hudson departed the team. B.J. Callaghan then took over as the short-term manager. His only match at the helm came on Thursday, which happened to be a 3-0 victory for the Yanks over rivals Mexico. Callaghan will remain at the helm through the upcoming Gold Cup.

The day after, U.S. Soccer made the news official. In its release, Berhalter commented on his outlook on the squad.

“I’m grateful to have the opportunity to build on our achievements at the World Cup and to contribute to this exciting time for soccer in our country,” Berhalter said. “The entire group of players and staff have worked incredibly hard to establish our identity on and off the field. We look forward to continuing our journey together to make our fans and our nation proud.

A pointless hiring process?

The decision to bring back Berhalter has made many fans and pundits scratch their heads. U.S. Soccer hired a firm strictly to help with the head coaching search earlier in the year. This firm, along with U.S. Soccer officials, then reportedly interviewed over 10 candidates for the position. Veteran coaches such as Jesse Marsch, Patrick Vieira, and even Luis Enrique were supposedly under consideration. Nevertheless, U.S. Soccer chose to bring back its former coach.

U.S. Soccer Sporting Director Matt Crocker said Berhalter’s experience with the squad and his ambition played a role in the hire.

“Gregg has that vision, as well as the experience and growth mindset on and off the field to move this team forward,” Crocker said. “Appointing the right head coach for a National Team is a crucial decision that reflects U.S. Soccer’s identity and lays the foundation to grow soccer across the country for years to come.”

U.S. Soccer also published the details of Crocker’s hiring process and what the Federation targeted in a head coach.

USMNT players showed support for Berhalter as head coach

Berhalter did, however, seem to have the support of many of his players. Star winger Christian Pulisic was previously asked directly by ESPN if he would be content with Berhalter’s return. “Yeah, no doubt about it,” Pulisic replied. “The strides we have taken in recent years with him appointed I think has been evident. I think it’s quite clear.”

Fellow winger Tim Weah also echoed his teammate’s position on the coach. “Gregg has really kept us together… we are definitely a family and no one can take that away, you know,” Weah recently claimed. “Gregg really helped us form this type of relationship with each other, so yeah, he was a huge, huge important part of this team so hopefully, yeah hopefully comes back.”

Berhalter now rejoins the USMNT and will have to prove his doubters wrong with results on the pitch. The Yanks have a Nations League final against rivals Canada on Sunday, June 18th. They will then switch focus to the 2023 Gold Cup, which will begin only a week later.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Pro Shots