Report: US Soccer Fired Gregg Berhalter After The USMNT Crashed And Burned At Copa America

The United States men’s national team will have a new manager leading them into the 2026 World Cup on home soil. According to Doug McIntyre of Fox Sports, U.S. Soccer made the decision to sack manager Gregg Berhalter just over one year after it announced that he would come back to lead the team following the expiration of his contract and a lengthy search for his replacement.

The decision was made after the USMNT flamed out of the group stage at Copa America, which was widely viewed as an opportunity to show that the team took a step forward following its elimination in the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Back then, Berhalter led the team through a tricky group before falling to European power The Netherlands.

This time around, the Americans fumbled their final opportunity to make any sort of major statement in a competitive international tournament ahead of 2026. The team started off group play with a 2-0 win against Bolivia that was defined by their inability to finish off chances and run up the score, before a shambolic game against Panama in which standout winger Timothy Weah received an inexplicable red card 18 minutes in. While Folarin Balogun was able to put them ahead despite being a man down not long after, the U.S. almost immediately conceded, then spent the entire second half letting Panama have the ball before José Fajardo scored with about 10 minutes left in the game.

It put the team in a situation where they needed to beat South American juggernaut Uruguay, one of the favorites to win the entire tournament, and hope Panama did not obliterate Bolivia if they were to go through to the knockout stage. Try as they might, the Americans could not break down the resilient Uruguayan defense, and thanks to a controversial goal on a free kick, Uruguay was able to secure a 1-0 win that sent the United States home.

The calls for Berhalter’s job began almost immediately. Whether it was the Fox Sports panel after the game, USMNT fans on Twitter who have been skeptical of Berhalter since the convoluted process that led to his initial hiring in 2018, or those in attendance in Kansas City who chanted “Fire Berhalter,” American fans wanted someone to take responsibility for this, and because you can’t trade out the players from the so-called “golden generation” who have struggled to live up to that reputation once they step outside of North American competition, the obvious choice was the manager whose stated goal from day one has been to change the way the world views American soccer.

In a way, that has happened during the Berhalter era, but not in the way he imagined. For years, the USMNT has been defined by a willingness to play as a collective, to run through a brick wall if it meant being the first player to get to the ball, in running fast and trying hard and white knuckling it against more talented teams that hammer you, but finding a way through sheer determination to get the goal(s) that you need to gut out a result. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing style of play in the world, and at some point their luck would run out and they’d get blitzed by Argentina or Belgium or someone, but you knew when the United States stepped onto the pitch, the other team was going to have to earn a result after 90 absolutely miserable minutes of being dragged into the mud.

Berhalter wanted the team to take a more progressive, front foot approach that resembles some of the top club teams in the world. He spoke frequently about the team’s system, which was designed to create chances by having players do their jobs, and if they managed to piece everything together within said system, opportunities to score goals would come. The games where this worked looked beautiful, but too often, the team would line up against top teams and come up short, and the benchmark for an international team — how you perform in major tournaments — looked pretty similar to how it’s always looked once the team got outside of CONCACAF if you just looked at the results. Much was made about the lack of a signature win against a team other than the least talented Mexico team in decades during Berhalter’s tenure.

There must, of course, be responsibility put on the players, and the necessary criticism that comes from, well, everything. The golden generation moniker has been thrown around for years, and while most of the players who make up said golden generation have yet to enter their primes, it’s nevertheless a collection of talented individuals who have spent years playing alongside one another in both the youth and senior national team set-ups. And yet, when the games kick off, the chemistry that you’d presume was built up for years over years never seems to be there.

The question is whether that is the fault of the players, the fault of Berhalter, the fault of their clubs, the fault of U.S. Soccer as an institution, the fault of the fans or the pundit class or god knows whomever else. Maybe it’s everyone and everything, all formed into one disgusting blob of hope and aspiration that ran into the harsh reality that men’s soccer in this country is not — and never will be, based on our current trajectory — as good as we’d like. Or maybe it was just because Gregg Berhalter wasn’t a good enough manager for a national team. At the very least, we’ll figure out if that was the singular thing holding the USMNT back. And if more went into it, well, maybe U.S. Soccer will spend the next two years before anything and everything it does gets put under the most intense microscope in the sport trying to fix those problems, too.