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US Soccer’s new sporting director tells CNN Gregg Berhalter is a candidate for the USMNT opening

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By Jill Martin, CNN

Matt Crocker, a day after he was unveiled by the US Soccer Federation as sporting director, told “CNN This Morning” on Wednesday that Gregg Berhalter, who coached the US Men’s National Team (USMNT) at last year’s FIFA World Cup, is a candidate to be re-hired as the team’s head coach.

“Yes, of course,” Crocker said regarding Berhalter’s status as a candidate. “We want to make sure we identify the right candidate to take us forward into 2026. My job is to make sure we have a really robust process to choose the right head coach going forward.”

Last month, Berhalter was cleared by US Soccer following the completion of an independent investigation into allegations of misconduct against former men’s coach and is eligible to be hired again. His contract expired in December after the tournament.

The investigation acknowledged an incident of domestic violence between Berhalter and his then girlfriend (now wife) Rosalind in 1992 while they were both freshmen at the University of North Carolina, an episode Berhalter previously acknowledged.

However, it was determined by investigators that the incident was an isolated event with no evidence of similar conduct since. The investigation concluded that the details of the 1992 incident do not create legal risks that would prevent an employer from hiring Berhalter.

The investigation, conducted by lawyers from Alston & Bird LLP, also concluded that the parents of USMNT player Gio Reyna displayed a pattern of outreach to US Soccer officials to complain and comment about perceived treatment of their children, primarily Gio.

Claudio Reyna, Gio’s father and a longtime member of the USMNT himself, was found to have engaged in periodic outreach to US Soccer over a six-year span attempting to “influence decisions by officials and staff concerning his children on issues ranging from travel arrangements to the impact of on-pitch refereeing decisions,” per the investigation.

On Wednesday, Crocker also discussed with CNN the challenges for the US Women’s National Team (USWNT) ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

“The difficulty is the chasing pack is coming quick,” Crocker said as the USWNT prepares to defend its World Cup title. “A lot of Europe now, there has been a huge amount of investment in women’s soccer across the board, and more professional teams in Europe. There’s more leagues, which means that the women are fitter, stronger, training full time.

“They are more tactically and technically aware, and the gap between the world’s best, they’re chasing hard. We have got a real challenge to stay on top, but we think we know where the competitive advantages are, and we are working hard behind the scenes to make sure we stay on top.”

Crocker formerly was the English Football Association’s head of development teams and Southampton’s director of football operations as he transitions to his new role. He starts full time August 2. As sporting director, Crocker will oversee US Soccer’s sporting department, which includes focusing on the men’s and women’s national team programs.

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