USMNT to hire Gregg Berhalter as head coach, ending months-long search for Bruce Arena replacement

Gregg Berhalter is set to be named the coach of the U.S. men's national team, a source told CBS Sports on Wednesday. Barring any drastic late changes, he'll replace interim coach Dave Sarachan. Negotiations between the two parties have progressed in recent weeks, and it seems like only a matter of time before he's officially in charge. 

Berhalter would take over for Sarachan, the former USMNT assistant who served as the interim coach following Bruce Arena's resignation after failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. An official announcement from U.S. Soccer could be made in the coming days, with a press conference soon to follow, CBS Sports has learned.

Berhalter, 45, has coached the Columbus Crew in the MLS since 2013 and is coming off a playoff exit at the hands of the New York Red Bulls in the conference semifinals.  As the coach of the Crew, he compiled a record of 74-69-50, including an MLS Cup final appearance in 2015 where his team lost to the Portland Timbers.

Berhalter made 44 caps on the senior national team as a player from 1994-2006 and was on the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cup rosters. He was on the L.A. Galaxy roster in 2011 when they won the MLS Cup. Berhalter, however, has yet to win a trophy as a manager. 

When reached by CBS Sports, USMNT general manager Earnie Stewart did not elaborate on the details of the coaching search. "At this stage, I am not able to comment," he said.

In September, Stewart laid out some specifics about the coaching position. He told the The New York Times that the new manager would move to Chicago and work from the federation's headquarters. 

For Berhalter, it would be a short move from Columbus to Chicago. Sarachan, on the other hand, recently moved back to San Jose, Calif. following USA's friendlies against England and Italy earlier this month. Sarachan confirmed his departure as USMNT coach just over a week ago

The coaching search has been a hot topic since Arena's departure last fall, but in reality the process was officially initiated when Stewart took over as the first-ever U.S. Soccer general manager on Aug. 1. The Berhalter hire always felt like a certainty, but that doesn't mean he was the only option considered. Sarachan said he was considered but never interviewed, and some others coaches have publicly said they haven't been interviewed either, like Atlanta United's Tata Martino, per The Athletic. Martino is viewed as the front-runner for the Mexico vacancy once the MLS postseason wraps up.

Sports Illustrated also reported that former Spain and Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui expressed interest in the job to U.S. Soccer. Yahoo Sports reported that former FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja was interviewed. Pareja has since been named the head coach of Club Tijuana and could be eyeing a reunion with Dallas FC defender Reggie Cannon

Berhalter will become the 37th coach in USMNT history and the youngest since Steve Sampson in 1995. The New Jersey native has long been viewed as the favorite to land the job and has close ties to U.S. Soccer. His brother Jay is the chief operating officer for the federation.

If Berhalter does take over, his first task will be implementing a system the players believe in. Christian Pulisic has publicly said he wants a coach with a plan, with an idea. He'll have to look closely at the player pool and decide if he wants to move forward with the majority of the young players, go back to the vets that failed in qualifying or a mixture of both. 

The United States U-23 team is still in need of a coach, and it remains to be seen whether or not Berhalter will have any influence in developing the roster before the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is set to begin toward the end of 2019 following the Gold Cup, which the U.S. will host. The USMNT's next scheduled game is on Feb. 2 against Costa Rica, which you could stream on fuboTV (Try for free).

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CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

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