USSF aims to hire USMNT coach by summer's end
By Abel Folgar
Matt Crocker, the U.S. Soccer Federation's sporting director, revealed the goal was to find a new USMNT head coach by the end of the summer – giving interim head coach Anthony Hudson the nod to continue shepherding the squad through two important tournaments this summer, the CONCACAF Nations League and the Gold Cup.
Crocker explained the primary objectives this year were the U.S. women's national team and their 2023 World Cup, and initializing the process of identifying the next gaffer for the USMNT.
"We think this decision is critical not only for the next three years but also for the legacy that this coach will leave on the future of the program," he said about the process. "We intend to be thoughtful and thorough in our evaluation and our selection."
Furthermore, Crocker plans to conduct interviews in June to narrow down the pool of candidates ahead of another round of interviews in July.
"Our aim is to have our new coach in place by the end of summer, although it's possible that club circumstances could impact the timeline," he said.
This aligns with an end-of-summer target as the Nations League and Gold Cup tournaments will take up most of the aforementioned months, giving Hudson the opportunity to finish the competitions – and perhaps make a case for himself as a candidate.
"I think Anthony Hudson, [assistant coach] B.J. Callaghan and the rest of the staff have done a fantastic job keeping the program moving forward," Crocker said.
"There has been no drop in standard, and as you've seen several players who had a choice to represent more than one country have chosen the United States during their tenure and Anthony and his staff deserve tremendous credit for that. That speaks to the work they have done, and we are confident in their ability to lead this group in the tournaments this summer."
The USMNT has been without a coach since Gregg Berhalter's contract expired at the end of 2022 under the haze of a domestic violence investigation concerning a 1992 incident involving him and his current wife.
Fans will recall how Gio Reyna’s mother, former USWNT midfielder Danielle Reyna, disclosed the incident after Berhalter made public comments concerning the young winger’s poor attitude regarding minutes during the Qatar World Cup.
An internal investigation by the USSF concluded that Berhalter and his wife Rosalind, had in fact reported the incident accurately and was free to be hired by the USSF with federation president Cindy Parlow Cone saying this past January that he remains a candidate for the position – a stance that remains unchanged as of Crocker's recent statements.
Crocker has recently been appointed to the sporting director job and is due to officially begin in August but is already making moves to become acclimated to the job and the city of Chicago, where the USSF is located.
He's also approached the USWNT’s general manager Kate Markgraf and manager Vlatko Andonovski to support the squad ahead of their World Cup campaign.
"I'm here to support their work in any way I can as they finalize their preparations for the camp in July before heading to Auckland to start the World Cup. Vlatko has some tough decisions on the final roster, and I know he and Kate are following all of the players in NWSL closely. We'll continue to keep in touch as much as possible in the coming two months."
Crocker's hinted to the men's manager hiring having "a diverse set of voices," a strategy that comes with the approval of president Cone and CEO JT Batson.
"What we have is a list of candidates who based on our initial research we think will fit the profile," he said. "We already have had a number of conversations with some of the candidates. In some instances a candidate may hold a current position, in which case we must be very respectful to their clubs and always make sure any communication begins with them. Our next steps will be to conduct more thorough interviews and continue what we have outlined as a robust evaluation process."