In a rather shocking turn of events, Gregg Berhalter is set to return as manager of the United States men’s national team. The news of Berhalter’s imminent return was first reported by The Athletic prior to the start of the team’s 3-0 win over Mexico in the CONCACAF Nation League semifinal on Thursday.
BREAKING: Gregg Berhalter is set to return as manager of the #USMNT, according to multiple sources briefed on the negotiations.
Deal still being finalized, but return is imminent.
— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) June 16, 2023
While the U.S. Soccer Federation hired an external search firm to find its next manager, following the expiration of Berhalter’s contract and his perceived exit, they’ve reportedly elected to bring back the coach with the highest winning percentage in USMNT history.
According to ESPN, the deal is close to being finalized and would run through the 2026 World Cup, which is being hosted in North America. As per multiple reports, an official announcement is expected Friday, though The Athletic states that Berhalter is “not expected to coach the U.S. in the Nations League final against Canada on Sunday.” Nor is it currently known whether he’ll be back at the helm for the start of the CONCACAF Gold Cup on June 24.
The decision to bring back Berhalter is a surprise to many considering the circumstances surrounding his exit. He previously led the Americans to 37 wins, 11 losses and 12 draws and qualified for last year’s World Cup with the youngest team in the world. The U.S. had strong showings in the group stage against Wales, Iran and England before being eliminated by the Netherlands in the round of 16.
Berhalter had been discussing a new contract with former USSF sporting director Earnie Stewart, but that was put on hold when the scandal involving him and Gio Reyna’s family was made public. Upset with their son’s perceived lack of playing time at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the Reynas contacted the USSF regarding allegations that involved Berhalter and a woman who later became his wife, dating back to 1992.
The USSF retained a legal firm, which concluded that retaining Berhalter would not cause any legal risks to the organization. And with the significant support of his players, who have endorsed him being retained on several occasions, the USMNT has elected to stay the course with Berhalter, for better or worse.
Those in the sports world reacted to the massive USMNT coaching news on social media. The response to Berhlater being retained was largely split between feelings of disappointment and contentment from a fanbase that was ready for a new era of U.S. Soccer.
I'm so happy we thrashed Mexico and the players deserve all our love but man US Soccer did us so dirty, not just by re-hiring Berhalter, but also the nefarious way they did it, just like last time.
There was no coaching search, just a sham.
— 11 Yanks (@11Yanks) June 16, 2023
Gregg Berhalter is the right coach for this group and he deserves credit for his numbers with this team! The team today plays the same game as they did under Gregg Berhalter—this is his impact.
— Jermaine Jones (@Jermainejunior) June 16, 2023
The USMNT are starting to build something here under B. J. Callaghan. Good thing Berhalter is coming back.
— Josh Deming (@tv_jjd) June 16, 2023
Clint Dempsey says he’s “confused” by Gregg Berhalter returning after he wasn’t immediately brought back.
Notes that the usmnt was “outcoached” at the World Cup
— MLS Buzz (@MLS_Buzz) June 16, 2023
it is extremely funny that gregg berhalter won the real househusbands of us soccer war with claudio reyna though
— Brian Floyd (@BrianMFloyd) June 16, 2023
Gregg Berhalter returning to the US National Team is everything that’s wrong with the US National Team
— Zealand (@theoldzealand) June 16, 2023
Berhalter is back. Honestly feel that it’s the wise #USMNT move, but one hell of a bridge is going to have to be built back to Gio.
— Rob Stone (@RobStoneONFOX) June 16, 2023
the thing about gregg berhalter is that i’m not even some huge fan — he’s just a guy who’s largely done fine at his job. but he makes the absolute dumbest people online upset so i gotta really lean in on the opposite side.
— maybe: xavier (@couldbexav) June 16, 2023
I'm fine with Berhalter coming back, but we really wasted a lot of time and money to get back to where we started.
Could be worse. Could've gone through September and then decided to keep Berhalter.
— Phillip Bupp (@phillipbupp) June 16, 2023
I don’t know what’s funnier: spending 13 months trying to find a national team manager only to wind up with Gregg Berhalter, or letting Berhalter walk, spending six months trying to find a national team manager, only to wind up with Berhalter again.
— Zach Lowy (@ZachLowy) June 16, 2023
Whatever your reaction to the news, if Berhalter is coming back, seems hard to avoid the conclusion that a lot of time was wasted
— Charles Boehm (@cboehm) June 16, 2023