It has been more than 100 days since the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which means that Gregg Berhalter’s term as coach of the United States Men’s National Team could be coming to a close in the next few months. Qatar will host the tournament.
It’s unclear if Berhalter, who signed a four-year contract in late 2018, will be retained beyond this winter’s tournament in Doha, Qatar.
Berhalter was noncommittal when asked by former USMNT striker Hérculez Gómez last week if he intends to continue in charge beyond this year.
He told Gomez, who now co-hosts the ESPN show Futbol Americas, that he would talk about it with his family and decide what to do. “But one thing I’d say is it’s a great opportunity to be coaching the United States in the World Cup in 2026 at home.”
Even if the United States does well in Qatar, U.S. Soccer may determine that Berhalter’s four-year tenure at the head is sufficient. Few national team coaches return for a second World Cup cycle, and for a good reason: Those who do tend to have less success.
Consider England, an opponent for the United States in the group stage of Qatar 2022, and Iran and Wales. During the last World Cup, Gareth Southgate guided England to the quarterfinals before finishing as runner-up at the European Championship the following summer. It was the most successful period for England in over half a century.
The English national team fans are anxious that Southgate’s message has become stale after a poor showing in the UEFA Nations League in June. A generation earlier, the USMNT went through a similar situation with Bruce Arena, who was praised for leading the United States to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals. Four years later, the United States did not win a single game.
It’s reasonable to expect Berhalter to want to go on his own terms if the World Cup goes well and he can return to Europe. Nearly a decade after being fired from his first head-coaching position with Swedish club Hammarby, Berhalter may find it difficult to turn down an opportunity to work in the Bundesliga.
Therefore, the likelihood that the United States will have a new leader by next summer is at least even. Listed alphabetically below are five prospective candidates likely to be on USSF sporting director Earnie Stewart’s shortlist if Berhalter does not return.