These Are Eight Possible Candidates To Become USMNT Coach

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The United States men’s national soccer team will undergo serious change this year, and the federation will need to make an important choice to prepare for the 2026 FIFA World Cup on home soil.

Gregg Berhalter was fired as manager of the USMNT on Wednesday. The decision came after the United States failed to make it past the group stage of the 2024 Copa América and ended the 50-year-old’s 10-month second tenure with the national team.

It was a necessary change as the U.S. must be successful in the next World Cup given the potential cultural impacts hosting the tournament could have on the view of the sport in the country.

One of the biggest questions about who fills the vacant position will be interest. Fans tend to overrate how prestigious being a national team coach is and think everyone will clamor for a job at that level. But let’s look at eight possible candidates starting with an ambitious target.

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Jürgen Klopp
The United States targeted the former Liverpool manager soon after it fired Berhalter, according to Miguel Delaney of The Independent. It’s a sign in the right direction, and the fit makes sense. The 57-year-old stepped down from as Liverpool manager to spend more time with his family, and a national team gig wouldn’t be too much of a time constraint to hinder that goal. He speaks fluent English, and along with his Liverpool achievements, his success at Borussia Dortmund showed how he can do more with less. A big thing is how much mutual interest there is. Is Klopp just done with coaching? An enticing financial offer could change his mind, but if he simply was burnt out after coaching for decades, he might not bite on it.

Jim Curtin
Now we can get into the more realistic options. Curtin has been an institution with the Philadelphia Union since 2014. He has a great tactical mind and showed the skills to become a leader at the highest level. Philadelphia has been one of the worst sides in MLS this season, so it might not be the best look in the short term, but a change of scenery could be what he needs.

Steve Cherundolo
The retired defender played in two World Cups during his USMNT career and went into coaching grinding his way through the youth ranks. He took over LAFC in 2022 and immediately led it to the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup that same year. The 45-year-old has made LAFC one of the top sides in MLS, and a move to the national team could help boost his personal stock if successful.

Wilfried Nancy
Nancy is another successful MLS manager having led the Columbus Crew to MLS Cup in his first season last year. The 47-year-old is one of the top tactical minds in MLS, and his ability has a man-manager could be what the USMNT needs in its transition period.

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David Wagner
If the USMNT can’t land Klopp, it could go for one of his disciples. Wagner is a former teammate and lifelong friend of Klopp’s and worked closely with him as Borussia Dortmund II manager in the early 2010s. He successfully led Huddersfield Town to the Premier League for the 2017-18 season, but his managerial career after that has been mixed. Wagner also played for the USMNT, and it could try to buy in the upside of Wagner rather than look at his lows.

Matias Almeyda
The former Argentina forward is quite familiar with CONCACAF from his stints in Liga MX and MLS. He’s been successful at AEK Athens winning the 2022-23 Super League Greece and securing Europa League qualification the season after. He is a motivator of talent and a disciplined leader, which could be what a young USMNT side needs after its lackluster results

José Pékerman
It seems like the U.S. federation wants to go young, but Pékerman should at least be a consideration. The 74-year-old led Argentina to the U-20 World Cup three times and managed the side in 2006. A key tactical error remains a sore spot, but Pékerman has experience with building up younger players. He also led Colombia to solid runs in the 2014 and 2018 World Cups.

Hervé Renard
This would be an unconventional pick, but Renard seems like a name on the rise. The current France women’s national team manager coached Saudi Arabia and led it to an upset win over Argentina in the group stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He led the French women’s team to the quarterfinals in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and he has plenty of international experience. If the U.S. wants to go with a foreign manager, Renard might be on the shortlist.

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