Jim Curtin focused on Philadelphia Union, would be "honored" by USMNT chance

Jim Curtin USMNT

Jim Curtin, a two-time Sigi Schmid MLS Coach of the Year, has turned the Philadelphia Union from an Eastern Conference afterthought into an unquestioned member of the league's elite.

That success has caused pundits to theorize he could one day head overseas or even lead the US men's national team, which has a vacant managerial spot after Gregg Berhalter's contract expired following the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Asked on "The Crack" podcast whether he'd be interested in leading the USMNT at some point, Curtin didn't shoot down the notion. If it came to it, Curtin would even consider serving as a USMNT assistant coach should the federation hire recently-departed Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch, his close friend and former MLS teammate, or someone else.

"Of course I'd love to coach the national team if that's what you're asking," Curtin told co-hosts DaMarcus Beasley, Mabricio Wilson and Oguchi Onyewu.

"But I said this before and I mean what I say when I say it: Whoever they choose, if they choose Jose Mourinho, if they choose [Carlo] Ancelotti, if they choose Jesse Marsch, I would also be their assistant. You know what I mean? Like, that's how important I think this [upcoming] World Cup is."

Before anyone makes ironclad leaps, Curtin cautioned he has no burning inclination to leave the Union and help steer the USMNT into the 2026 World Cup on home soil. Philadelphia are coming off an MLS Cup 2022 runner-up season and boast one of the league's most stable rosters.

While new challenges are on Curtin's mind at some juncture, his primary objective is getting Philly an MLS Cup title.

"I do eventually want to test myself against the best in the world at some point. Do I think I'm ready for that right now? I don't," said Curtin, who took the Union's reins in 2014. "I don't think I'm ready. So, I still have work to do here in Philly. I really like this project here. We're close to MLS Cup, but I want to win an MLS Cup here in Philly."

"I'd be honored"

That said, Curtin acknowledged the 2026 World Cup that's co-hosted across the US, Canada and Mexico is a huge motivator. Whether that's as the head coach or an assistant for someone like Marsch, Curtin said he'd embrace being part of the milestone event in some capacity.

"I'd be honored to and I think I could share maybe some defensive ideas that I have that I think would be helpful," the 43-year-old said. "... If whoever's in charge decides we want to be a transition team, go out and hire whoever you think is the head coach, but get the best guy in the world right now at transition. You can't leave any stone unturned."

The USMNT are currently led by interim coach Anthony Hudson, possibly through the summer, while the federation is searching for a new sporting director after Earnie Stewart's departure for Eredivisie powerhouse side PSV Eindhoven. Whoever fills Stewart's shoes will be charged with hiring the new coach.

However that process unfolds, Curtin is bullish on the challenge that awaits a young, burgeoning player pool.

"I think if you do the right research and interview the right people, I think you could get a really good staff that could do some damage with the talent pool that we have," Curtin said.

He added: "I don't think maybe the outside realizes how important this World Cup is."