US men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter penned a personal letter to the American Outlaws on Monday, the main supporters’ group of the USMNT, nearly two weeks after a 2-0 loss to Canada in Group A of Concacaf Nations League play. It was the first time Les Rogues won the fixture in 34 years.
Berhalter deemed that an apology, specifically for his failure to thank the traveling support, was warranted.
“Maybe it was anger after conceding the late goal or frustration regarding our performance; either way, no matter what I was feeling after the final whistle in Toronto, I should have walked over to thank our traveling supporters,” Berhalter wrote. “I screwed up and I apologize. You’ve been with this team through thick and thin, and you deserve nothing less than our appreciation. I hope you know that you have it – for every game.”
#USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter has written a personal message to fans to share his apologies from the Canada game, next steps, and his promise to fans as the team makes their push towards the 2022 World Cup. pic.twitter.com/i7PEtkFEd6— The American Outlaws (@AmericanOutlaws) October 28, 2019
As Berhalter’s tenure has wore on, he’s brought in several young players and been steadfast to a system that resembles his Columbus Crew SC days. That’s led to up-and-down results, such as back-to-back losses to Mexico (including in the Concacaf Gold Cup final) and defeat at Toronto FC's BMO Field..
It’ll take time, he insists, for a new USMNT generation to trend towards a positive note.
“When we began this new journey earlier this year, we established the mission of changing the way the world views American soccer,” Berhalter wrote. “We asked this group of players – many of whom are promising talents still developing and growing in their careers – to embrace this challenge and understanding that there would be highs and lows, that they would be placed in demanding situations knowing that the results might not always go our way.
“Of course we want to win, especially for our fans. We also know that as we work toward achieving our goals, progress won’t always be reflected on the scoreboard at the end of 90 minutes. Nonetheless, we remain focused, committed and determined to the process of building our team, playing bravely, and performing on the biggest stages.”
The next stage arrives Nov. 15 against Canada at Exploria Stadium, home of Orlando City. It’ll serve as a Concacaf Nations League rematch and chance for Berhalter to somewhat right the ship for a program still teetering after failing to make the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
To enable that, he’s turned to the fans for support.
“Like you’ve done so many times before," Berhalter began, "if you have our back at Exploria Stadium, we promise you that each and every player who steps on the field will put forth an effort that will make you proud to say ‘I believe’ and mark another step in the process as we move to 2022."