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Gregg Berhalter named USMNT head coach again

Joe Prince-Wright, Nick Mendola and Andy Edwards react to Folarin Balogun's decision to switch his international allegiance to the United States and discuss the 21-year-old striker's potential impact on the USMNT.

Gregg Berhalter is the head coach of the USMNT — again.

[ MORE: USMNT 3-0 Mexico, recap & highlights ]

U.S. Soccer announced Berhalter’s return on Friday, a day after the USMNT smashed bitter rivals Mexico in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Nations League.

Berhalter will begin his second stint as USMNT boss following the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup. His first major order of business will be Copa America 2024, to be played in the United States once again, with everything leading up to the 2026 World Cup in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Gregg Berhalter speaks after being named USMNT head coach (again)

New U.S. Soccer sporting director Matt Crocker, on the decision to re-hire Berhalter:

“When I started this search, my focus was on finding someone with the right vision to take this program to new heights in 2026. Gregg has that vision, as well as the experience and growth mindset on and off the field to move this team forward. Appointing the right head coach for a National Team is a crucial decision that reflects U.S. Soccer’s identity and lays the foundation to grow soccer across the country for years to come. I am confident that Gregg is the right person for the job and looking forward to working in partnership with him.”

USMNT players react to Gregg Berhalter’s return

Christian Pulisic, who scored twice in the USMNT’s 3-0 victory over Mexico on Thursday, was a vocal supporter of Berhalter when he was the coach and throughout the entire coaching search — quotes via The Athletic:

"(The win over Mexico) is a testament of the work that (Berhalter) put into this team. If that’s not enough evidence, then that’s all right. People are gonna hate no matter what.”

Last week, Pulisic — the de facto spokesman of the USMNT — spoke not only for himself, but “a lot of guys on the team,” as he stopped just short of campaigning for Berhalter to be re-hired.

“I think he should be considered. I think he did a great job with the team. He brought us a long way. I think a lot of people, a lot of guys on the team especially, would agree with that.”

Berhalter led the USMNT to the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar before his contract expired at the end of the calendar year. There were, of course, extenuating circumstances around U.S. Soccer’s decision to allow his deal to expire — namely, his dealings with Gio Reyna after the 20-year-old winger was nearly sent home from USMNT camp; which then resulted in the airing, by Reyna’s parents (longtime friends of Berhalter, namely USMNT legend Claudio Reyna), of an incident which occurred 30 years earlier between Berhalter and his wife, Rosalind.

U.S. Soccer conducted an investigation which cleared Gregg Berhalter to be considered for employment once again. First, though, Matt Crocker was hired as the federation’s new sporting director, and it was his first major order of business to hire Berhalter’s successor — or, Berhalter, as it was.

[ MORE: USMNT upcoming schedule – Nations League, friendlies, Gold Cup ]

During his first stint as USMNT head coach, Berhalter guided the Yanks to the 2021 Nations League title, the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup and qualification for the 2022 World Cup, where the youngest team at the tournament advanced from a group alongside England, Wales and Iran.

Former Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch was reportedly also a top candidate for the job, as were legendary French superstars Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira.

Follow @AndyEdMLS