Following the 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday that eliminated the United States from next summer’s World Cup, there was a lot of hurt, but there were also a plenty of questions.
What’s next for the U.S. Men’s National Team? What direction will the program go and who will lead it?
Bruce Arena took over for Jurgen Klinsmann last November following an 0-2 start to the final stage of qualifying. The thought was the coach, who began his second stint as the national team manager, would steer the group to and through the World Cup and someone else would take over.
There will be no World Cup, but the U.S. needs its next head coach.
One name that will be floated around is Columbus Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter.
When asked at training if he wanted replace his former coach and mentor and manage the national team, Berhalter said “the answer would be yes.” However, Crew SC fans shouldn’t start thinking about the next head coach for the Black and Gold... yet.
“I don’t think I’m ready, to be honest. I think I’ve got a lot of coaching to do before I’m ready,” Berhalter added, suggesting that his time in Columbus is far from over. “As the national team coach, you don’t get much practice; you’re sitting idle for a long time.”
For this reason, the Crew SC manager believes that U.S. Soccer needs to hire an experienced manager to replace Arena,
“I think that you need someone with experience, you need someone that has coached a lot of reps,” he said.
Berhalter has been a head coach for six years, having spent one season as an assistant for the LA Galaxy under Arena and two seasons in charge of Swedish side Hammarby before come to the Black & Gold.
Nonetheless, rumors of Berhalter as a future manager of the U.S. National Team have persisted since his first season in Columbus. Furthering this speculation is the fact that Berhalter’s brother, Jay Berhalter, is one of the most influential executives in U.S. Soccer.
Even though he may not believe that he is ready to manage the national team, Berhalter still has great respect for the position.
“If you ask any coach in the league if they would want to coach the national team one day, they would probably say yes.”
But, for now, Berhalter is focused on the job at hand and that’s Crew SC.
“I’ve been a coach for six years and I need to build my reps.”