U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone said that Gregg Berhalter remains a candidate for the current U.S. men's national team coaching vacancy, but hinted that the upcoming cycle should be viewed as a "clean canvas." It may be the biggest indication made by USSF that Berhalter may not return for the 2026 cycle.
In addition to the coaching search, the executive hierarchy will also see some change. The USSF on Thursday announced the departure of sporting director Earnie Stewart and general manager Brian McBride. Stewart is set to join PSV Eindhoven where he will serve as the technical director. He is expected to stay with the federation through mid-February to assist with transitioning the ongoing review of the last World Cup cycle. McBride "decided to move on" from his position as GM, Parlow Cone said.
Parlow Cone expects the coaching vacancy to be filled "by the end of the summer." The federation has hired Sportsology Group to consult during the search for the three vacancies. You would imagine the federation would need to hire a new sporting director and general manager first in order to be involved in the head coach hiring process.
USMNT interim coach Anthony Hudson, who coached the team in the 2-1 loss to Serbia on Wednesday night, will remain in charge until the coach is picked, but it seems like Berhalter, who Parlow Cone said was still in contention, will need to interview for the role he already had if he is to stay for the 2026 World Cup cycle where the Americans are hosting the tournament alongside Mexico and Canada.
Berhalter led the team to a round of 16 spot in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but his contract expired last month. Earlier this month, he was engulfed in controversy after admitting to a domestic incident with his now wife over 30 years ago. That was followed up by a feud with the family of star youngster Gio Reyna after the player's parents brought the allegations to the attention of U.S. Soccer in retaliation for their son barely playing in the World Cup.
Parlow Cone shared that she was aware of McBride's decision to step away prior to the World Cup while Stewart's was an opportunity that he couldn't refuse to return home to his birth country, so he was released from his contract to take that opportunity. Sportsology Group has been hired to provide consultation on the search for a head coach and sporting director which is something that Parlow Cone expects to be completed "by the end of the summer."
These changes begin to provide a path forward for the federation to move on from the past few months. While the coaching search was already underway with Jose Mourinho and Zinedine Zidane being linked to the vacant post, a new sporting director will have a chance to vault U.S. Soccer into the next generation.
With the success of youth teams and more players moving to Europe, the talent on the pitch is catching up with the rest of the world which could make this a desirable post if that director is giving enough leeway to make their own decisions. Ahead of the 2026 World Cup, this is also a decision that the federation will need to get right in order to ensure that U.S. Soccer is shown in the best possible light.