US Soccer director to begin ‘immediate’ hunt for coach

Incoming US Soccer sporting director Matt Crocker plans to make hiring a US men’s national team coach his priority after being confirmed in the role on Tuesday.

Crocker, who is currently employed as Southampton’s director of football until the end of the Premier League season, said finding a coach for the US men would be his “immediate focus” alongside preparing the US women’s team for this year’s World Cup.

“I am honored and excited to join US Soccer as the new Sporting Director,” Crocker said.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to build an elite program and to help raise the level of soccer in the United States.

“As sporting director, my immediate focus will be on supporting the women’s national team as they prepare for the upcoming World Cup and on hiring a head coach for the men’s national team.”

News of Crocker’s appointment following a two-month search leaked out on Sunday.

Crocker replaces Earnie Stewart, who stepped down from the job in February to join Dutch side PSV Eindhoven.

Crocker joins US Soccer following a period of turmoil in the men’s national team, which has been without a permanent head coach since last year’s World Cup finals in Qatar.

World Cup coach Gregg Berhalter’s contract expired after the tournament, but his future was thrown into question after an investigation into decades-old allegations of domestic violence.

Those allegations emerged in the wake of Berhalter’s treatment of Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna at the World Cup.

A subsequent US Soccer investigation cleared Berhalter to remain as a potential candidate for reappointment.

Crocker however would not be drawn on individual candidates when asked on Tuesday about Berhalter as he prepares to launch his search for a coach.

“It’s really difficult to be able to give you some definitive answers,” Crocker said.

“Right now we are working to make sure that we’ve got the right process to make sure that we can make the right hire as quickly as we possibly can. My biggest focus right now is not thinking about any individuals.

“It would be unprofessional of me right now to talk about individual names.”

Berhalter led the US into the last 16 at the World Cup after navigating a first round group that included England, Wales and Iran.

Crocker said US Soccer wanted a men’s coach who could build a lasting legacy as the team prepares for a 2026 World Cup on home soil.

The new coach would also be charged with developing a “forward-thinking, aggressive and fearless” playing style, Crocker added, building on the squad’s World Cup performances.

“The team have had some great experiences, and psychologically will be better prepared going into 2026,” Crocker said.

“So we are going to be a nation that is going to be feared, and a nation that wants to move forward into a home tournament that we can really attack.”

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