KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The US men’s national team has had a rotating captain's armband since the start of 2019. According to manager Gregg Berhalter, it won't end any time soon.
On the eve of their final Group D match at the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup, the USMNT will potentially run our their eighth captain in nine matches this year. Berhalter has done plenty of tinkering with lineups, tactics, personnel and even positions as he tries to get a handle on what works best for the USMNT.
It’s no different when it comes to the captaincy.
“I think that when I look at the group, we see a nice diversity of leadership,” Berhalter said in Tuesday night’s press conference ahead of Wednesday's tilt against Panama (9pm ET | FS1, UniMas, UDN)
“We want to take advantage of that,” he continued. “I don’t think we’re at the stage yet where we’re saying, ‘OK, this is the person that’s going to lead us for the next four years.’”
The USMNT has employed a total of seven captains across their eight matches this year. The New York Red Bulls' Aaron Long held it twice to start the year, and then Tim Ream, DeAndre Yedlin, Matt Miazga, Wil Trapp, Michael Bradley and Zack Steffen have all held the armband.
As Berhalter searches for the right balance, the right leader, the right “everything” to lead them through the 2022 FIFA World Cup cycle, he has been pleased by the group's overall cohesion.
“I like the group,” he said. “I think the group is extremely close, and it’s nice to enable other people to be leaders and to step up in a leadership capacity.”
Ream, echoed that sentiment. Having held the arm-band himself this year, the defender emphasized the collective and how it’s important that there is a core group of leaders, not just one.
“I think that was the biggest question in the conversation that Gregg and I had,” Ream said. “There are so many guys on this team that have different styles, different ways of leading. As a group it’s not just one person, it’s not just four or five guys that have held the armband, It’s a collective. We all need to chip in and lead each other. I think that’s the biggest reasoning for so many guys getting the arm-band.”