Crocker has a top agenda USMNT coach hire

British soccer executive Matt Crocker was appointed as the US Soccer Federation’s sporting director on Tuesday and will lead the search to coach the United States men’s national team, a job that was left in doubt when Greg Berhalter was removed during an investigation that grew out of a dispute. Rena with family.

Crocker will begin work on Aug. 2 but will begin the coach search process immediately, the USSF said.

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In introducing Crocker, USSF President Cindy Perlow said Cone “brings a wealth of knowledge from working in a variety of roles and at different levels of our sport. He will set the sports vision for USA Soccer and implement the expanded technical plan for the women’s men’s and youth nationals.” team

Crocker will provide support for the USWNT during the World Cup prior to its start date.

He added that Crocker, “is a great communicator as well as a team builder. He’s driven, he’s creative and he’s committed to building relationships at every level of the game. His passion for the game, his experience and his skills will make US Soccer better.”

“I’m really, really looking forward to building on the great work and foundation that’s already been laid and working with the staff on what’s a really exciting opportunity,” Crocker said.

The 48-year-old has been Southampton’s director of football since February 2020. Sport Republic, the London-based investment firm founded by Henrik Kraft and Rasmus Ankersen and backed by major investor Dragan Solak, bought control of the team in January 2022.

The club announced on 16 December that Crocker would leave at the end of the season.

The USMNT has been without a manager since Berhalter’s contract expired late last year, with assistant Anthony Hudson appointed as interim coach on January 4.

The USSF said it was investigating a three-decade-old domestic violence incident involving Berhalter and the woman who later became his wife — Danielle Egan Reiner’s college roommate.

Reyna is a former US women’s player who is the wife of former US captain Claudio Reyna and the mother of current American midfielder Giovanni Reyna.

After the investigation, which ended in March, Cone said Berhalter has a candidate.

Croker reportedly interviewed American Jesse Marsh to become the team’s manager in February before appointing Ruben Sels. Marsh is a former coach of New York Red Bulls, Red Bull Salzburg of Austria, RB Leipzig of Germany and Leeds of England.

But the new USSF sporting director declined to elaborate on potential candidates, including Berhalter.

“It would be unprofessional of me to talk about personal names right now,” he said. “[Berhalter] You have done a fantastic job and I would like to follow up with many candidates to begin to understand more internally and externally of the organization and also assist in my learning. And I will do it as soon as possible.”

Crocker added that he would not be rushed into an appointment.

He said he wanted a manager who would build on the USMNT’s performance at the last World Cup, who would be “aggressive” and “forward thinking” and develop the team’s style of play.

“We need the right leaders,” Crocker said. “We need the right head coach and ownership and responsibility to the players to build a really, really strong culture or continue to develop that really, really strong culture and coaching.”

Previously, Crocker was Cardiff’s Academy Director from 1999–2005, then Youth Development Minor in England’s Football League (second, third and fourth tier competitions) from May 2005 to May 2006.

He joined Southampton as academy manager from May 2007 to November 2013, then coached as head of development for the Football Association of England from November 2013 before returning to Southampton.

Crocker was replaced by Ernie Stewart, who recommended Barhalter’s appointment as general manager. He led the team to the second round of last year’s World Cup and hopes to stay through the 2026 tournament, which the United States will co-host.

Stewart was promoted to sporting director in August 2019 and left on 15 February to become PSV Eindhoven’s director of football.

The Reyna family brought the complaint to the USSF’s attention after Gio Reyna was used sparingly at the World Cup and Barhalter almost sent him home for not rushing through training.

Berhalter mentioned an issue with a player during a management conference without identifying Reyna, Berhalter felt it was not meant to be publicized, but they became public and the player’s identity was clear, angering the Reyna family.

Alston & Bird, the law firm hired by the USSF, said in March that Barhalter did not improperly withhold information about the domestic violence incident. USSF said Berhalter was a candidate for the coaching position.

This report uses information from The Associated Press.

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