After months of searching for a new head coach, the United States men’s national soccer team (USMNT) has put their faith in Gregg Berhalter.
The vacant position comes after a humiliating loss vs Trinidad and Tobago denying USMNT qualification into the 2018 World Cup.
In the United States, soccer is the fifth most popular sport and I understand why, we suck.
When the USMNT is competing in the World Cup there is a decent number of fans paying attention. Although, our fan base is next to nothing in comparison to other countries fan support. Not even being able to qualify for the 2018 World Cup has made the USMNT the laughing stock of the soccer world.
For Berhalter’s first match as head coach, the USMNT played CONCACAF rival Panama in a friendly Jan. 27 and although the U.S. men cruised to its first victory since September of last year, there were only 9,040 tickets sold for a 63,000 seat capacity State Farm Stadium in Arizona. It appeared as if less than that even showed up.
However, the recent appointment of the 45-year-old Berhalter could ignite the flame for a cast of young players and the public’s interest. Berhalter is no stranger to the USMNT, he played with the 2002 World Cup squad when they battled its way into the quarterfinals.
Fans are upset that the USMNT has again chosen a head coach domestically instead of searching internationally. The thought process being that the U.S. has never won a World Cup title so the coaches must not be as good. While this is so far true, I’m hopeful Berhalter and his rising stars can put up a good fight.
Accompanied by a roster full of great young potential, Berhalter is not alone in this up-hill battle.
Most notable of the rising stars is Tim Weah, an 18-year-old forward. While playing for the USMNT, Weah also plays for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), one of the best soccer clubs in Europe.
Another name worth mentioning is Christian Pulisic, 20-year-old American phenom midfielder who currently plays for a top German football club Borussia Dortmund.
Sometimes all a team needs a fresh start to lead to something great. I’m looking forward to following the USMNT and to see what fresh blood will bring to a once withering team.
The path to redemption and the Qatar World Cup in 2022 will be challenging, but experience is what this new team needs.
Experience will lead to wins and wins might attract more attention from the media and children admiring the USMNT.