Last fall, in the wake of the US men’s national team’s failure to qualify for the World Cup, Columbus Crew SC head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter said he didn’t think he was quite ready to manage the US.
“I don’t think I’m ready, to be honest,” he told reporters in the wake of the USMNT’s loss at Trinidad & Tobago that kept them out of this summer’s tournament in Russia. “I think I’ve got a lot of coaching to do before I’m ready. As the national team coach, you don’t get much practice; you’re sitting idle for a long time.
“I think that you need someone with experience, you need someone that has coached a lot of reps.”
On Monday, Berhalter changed his tune – if only slightly.
“That’s a good question,” Berhalter told MLSsoccer.com, asked if he still felt he wasn’t yet ready to lead the USMNT. “I think that you put in a lot of work every single day and you work on improving and getting better, and what I’d say is that if I was to be interviewed, I would rely on the person making the decisions to determine that or not. I think that I’m a young coach and I think it’s a very serious job. In the end, you’d want the best person for the job and the person that the general manager’s most comfortable hiring.”
Berhalter is currently in his fifth season managing Columbus. Prior to taking charge of Crew SC, the 44-year-old former USMNT defender spent two years in charge of Swedish club Hammarby. Widely recognized as one of the top managers in MLS, he has an MLS regular season record of 60-51-42 and has made the playoffs in three of his four full seasons in Ohio. Despite having the fourth-lowest payroll in MLS, according to figures from the MLS Players Association, Columbus are currently in third in the East with a 7-4-6 record.
Berhalter, whose brother Jay is one of the top executives at US Soccer, indicated that he’d be interested in the USMNT job if approached about the position.
“I think it’s always a great honor to represent our country on the field as a player and I think it would be a great honor to represent our country as a coach,” he said. “I think it is an interesting job.”