America’s football crisis deepens as top team officials quit
The United States men’s national team, already without a permanent coach, was thrown into further turmoil Thursday when both the federation’s director of sports and the national team’s general manager quit their jobs.
Sporting director Earnie Stewart is leaving for Dutch club PSV Eindhoven and General Manager Brian McBride has resigned, according to US Soccer.
National coach Gregg Berhalter, who guided the team to the round of 16 at the World Cup in Qatar in December, is no longer under contract, no longer works for the team and his future remains uncertain.
Berhalter is facing an investigation by the federation into a domestic violence incident in 1991.
The incident came to light after the controversy surrounding Berhalter’s strained relationship with Borussia Dortmund player Gio Reyna during the World Cup in Qatar.
U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone told an online press conference that they had now hired a consulting firm to begin a complete overhaul of the organization’s sports department.
With vacancies in three top positions, Parlow Cone said they would take time to complete various reviews and make the new appointments.
“We’re not going to rush it,” she said.
“I know this moment feels a bit uncertain for you in the media, for our staff, for players. What it really is is a clean canvas,” she added.
US Soccer CEO JT Batson said the Berhalter saga had no bearing on Stewart and McBride’s decisions to leave the organization.
The United States, along with Mexico and Canada, will host the World Cup in 2026, but instead of building on the progress of the promising young team, the federation must now find key personnel and deal with the consequences of the Berhalter Reyna row.
Parlow Cone, who said she would like to have a new head coach “by the end of the summer,” said the departure allowed the federation to determine its direction.
– World Cup conflict –
“We didn’t plan it this way, but we’re in this position and we’re going to take the opportunity to really do a deep dive into our sporting side to make sure we’re as effective and efficient as possible because we have a grand vision of where we want to go sportingly and we want to make sure we are in the best position to achieve those goals,” she said.
The consultancy, Sportsology Group, will assist in the search for a new sporting director and provide a broader assessment.
Once appointed, a new athletic director will hire the team’s next head coach, though Sportsology will help analyze potential candidates ahead of time.
Stewart will remain in office until February 15 and said in a statement from the federation that he had full confidence in the organization.
“When the opportunity arose to return to the Netherlands to take on an exciting and challenging position close to my family, I couldn’t turn it down,” said Stewart.
“I am extremely proud of what our sports department has accomplished over the past four years. This is a critical time for sport in the United States and I have every confidence in US Soccer’s leadership as we move into 2026 and beyond,” he said . .
The conflict between Berhalter and Reyna took a dark turn in early January after US Soccer announced it had launched an investigation into decades-old domestic violence allegations by Berhalter.
Berhalter admitted in a statement on Twitter that he kicked the woman he would later marry during an argument in 1991.
It later transpired that US Soccer had been informed of the incident by Gio Reyna’s family. Father Claudio Reyna is a former American captain and teammate of Berhalter’s, while his wife Danielle was a college football teammate of Berhalter’s wife Rosalind.
Later on Thursday, Claudio Reyna announced that he was stepping down from his position as technical director of Major League Soccer club Austin FC. Reyna will take on an advisory role and said he was looking for “a less all-consuming role”.
The US team, currently coached on an interim basis by Anthony Hudson, lost 2-1 in a friendly against Serbia on Wednesday, in which both countries underperformed.