Ex-United States soccer players want Gregg Berhalter's ouster: 'That's the sign that we need a new manager'

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A growing group of former players of the U.S. men’s national team have called for the U.S. Soccer Federation to part ways with head coach Gregg Berhalter following the team’s exit from the group stages of the Copa America, leading a chorus of voices around American soccer who increasingly feel the same way.

The U.S. lost 1-0 Uruguay on Monday, sealing their fate with a second defeat in the group stages. The damage was done, though, with last Thursday’s surprise loss 2-1 loss to Panama, which severely disadvantaged the USMNT before their most difficult game in Group C against Uruguay. The divisive Berhalter has been routinely criticized by certain sections of the fanbase since he returned to the job in September, but the Copa America failure means pressure has ramped up on the head coach. It has now come to the point where former members of the national team are openly calling for his dismissal, especially with the 2026 World Cup on home soil top of mind.

The chatter came as soon as the defeat to Uruguay was official, when Fox broadcaster Alexi Lalas argued the criticism was justified.

“I know the knives are out and they should be because this is not good enough from Gregg Berhalter,” he said on the broadcast. “You have to ask — with 2026 coming, barrelling down the pike, we can’t afford to waste it. We can’t afford to be embarrassed and we can’t afford to arrive in the summer of ’26 with a team that has not progressed, that has not evolved and has not improved.”

Charlie Davies was more blunt in a post-match reaction version of Call It What You Want, a CBS Sports Golazo Network podcast.

“If you don’t get out of the Copa America group at the very least — forget getting to a semifinal but getting out of the group — for me, that’s the sign that we need a new manager,” Davies said on Monday. “This has to be the grading system and if you don’t do it in the group stage here, what does that mean going forward? That doesn’t mean he can’t advance if he’s still the manager but in terms of holding people accountable to the expectations of the job, for me, that’s an issue.”

Herculez Gomez, a member of the 2010 World Cup team, said he called for Berhalter’s removal as early as March, when the U.S. squeaked by Jamaica and then beat an unimpressive Mexico team to win the Concacaf Nations League. He also heaped some criticism on the players, most of whom have worked with Berhalter since he was first hired to lead the team in 2019.

“I called for him to step aside, to be let go then,” Gomez said on ESPN. “Nothing has changed now because I don’t’ think anything’s going to change with these players and the worst part here, it’s the players who vouched for him. It’s the players who wanted Gregg Berhalter back. They feel comfortable with Gregg Berhalter. I’ll tell you what — it’s about time these players started feeling a bit uncomfortable. The rest of the world, that’s what it’s about. If this was a serious footballing nation, a serious federation, this question wouldn’t be a question. There would be immediate action.”

Stu Holden, another member of the 2010 team and a fellow Fox broadcaster, argued that the Nations League triumph papered over the cracks that began to show at the Copa America.

“Gregg Berhalter will wear the brunt of the responsibility, and he should,” he wrote on X. “The players need to take major accountability and if we truly analyze this pool, most have been underperforming for club/country since the World Cup. Nation’s league wins + Mexico has covered up the cracks.”

Some former players have also opted to recommend new people for Berhalter’s job. Tab Ramos, who went to three World Cups in the 1990s, recommended an “experienced international coach” rather than a pick from MLS, which Berhalter was.

USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard, who was in goal at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, went even bolder by suggestion Jurgen Klopp be the next head coach.

“If I was in charge of US Soccer right now, I’d be on my way to the airport,” he wrote in a column for the Daily Mail. “Why? Because I believe I could make a very compelling argument to Jurgen Klopp to take over the US Men’s National Team. … If [U.S. Soccer] decide that Gregg Berhalter cannot survive this Copa America campaign, if they decide another manager must lead the USMNT into a home World Cup in 2026, then they have to go for the jackpot.”

Klopp is out of work after leaving Liverpool in May, ending a nearly decade-long run of success in England. The UEFA Champions League winner, though, seems unlikely to accept an offer at this time — he  left Liverpool in search of some much-needed rest and has said he does not want to work for a year. It’s also unclear what move he would prefer to make post-sabbatical, especially since Klopp has no experience coaching national teams.

There is currently no timeline for a decision on Berhalter’s employment, one way or another. U.S. Soccer said it will undergo a review after the team’s Copa America disappointment, which the federation said “fell short of our expectations” in a post-match statement on Monday.

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