9 Potential Replacements for Gregg Berhalter as USMNT Coach After Copa America Exit

After the United States was eliminated from the Copa América in the group stage, fans’ calls for manager Gregg Berhalter to resign were louder than ever. The U.S. failed to advance in a group that also included Uruguay, Panama and Bolivia, losing to both CONCACAF rivals Panama and Uruguay to exit the tournament with just three points.

Immediately after the match, sporting director Matt Crocker issued a statement saying that U.S. Soccer would “conduct a comprehensive evaluation of our performance in the Copa America and how we can best improve the team and results ahead of the 2026 World Cup.”

A report from Fox Sports suggests we’ll have more news sometime this week. If that plan does indeed involve parting ways with Berhalter, who also led the U.S. at the 2022 World Cup, who would take over?

Here we look at nine candidates. Some are realistic goals, some are dreams, and there are a few options in between.

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Former Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is the best currently unemployed manager in the world. He chose to leave the Premier League club because he “had no energy left”, a shocking statement from a manager whose battery never seemed to run out.

Klopp has since retreated to Mallorca, attended a tennis match last week and seems to have generally distanced himself from the football world.

So why would he take the job? If he were to run the US in 2026, he would be in charge of a rising country full of things to do and places to see.

Furthermore, an international job is less demanding from a daily perspective than working at a club, which allows for many more breaks. Klopp could even stay in Spain and still do his job well.

Would Klopp actually make the move? It would probably take some serious convincing and a lot of money, although Tim Howard personally offered to convince him.

Don’t expect too much, but it’s not completely impossible.

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Speaking of dreams, Pep Guardiola would not only need Klopp’s money and conviction, but he also has a prestigious job. The Catalan is manager of Manchester City and has a contract to stay in charge of the Sky Blues until 2025.

That would open up the possibility of him taking over a national team for the 2026 World Cup in particular. Why not take over for the United States?

Guardiola showed up to support the Boston Celtics during their successful quest for the NBA title this season. Many fans in New York City and Los Angeles still tell stories of Guardiola catching big games in the cities’ soccer bars during his 2012-13 sabbatical.

The issue remains one of timing. Perhaps the US can come up with some sort of plan involving an interim manager and Guardiola taking over the Gold Cup, but Brazil’s failed pursuit of Carlo Ancelotti offers a cautionary tale in that regard.

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If Klopp or Pep don’t show up, a handful of MLS managers will undoubtedly put their hands up to lead the national team. One of those in the mix is ​​LAFC boss Steve Cherundolo.

While his only first-team coaching experience comes in the U.S., first with LAFC affiliate Las Vegas Lights and then with the Black and Gold, he also has European experience that many other MLS prospects don’t have. After a long playing career in Hannover, Cherundolo worked in the German club’s academy and was an assistant there and at VfB Stuttgart.

Cherundolo won both the MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield in 2022 and, like Berhalter, had a long career as a player with the United States.

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Nancy is arguably the best manager in MLS right now, but he wouldn’t qualify as a domestic loanee. However, the French-born player knows North American football well, having worked at the Montreal Impact Academy and then as Thierry Henry’s assistant before taking over the first team.

Columbus brought him to Ohio to coach the Crew a year later, which proved to be a good decision. In his first year there, Nancy led the Crew to an MLS Cup title, even as the club parted ways with star player Lucas Zelarayan midway through the season.

In addition to winning the MLS Cup, Nancy also achieved results against Tigres and Monterrey in an attempt to reach the CONCACAF Champions Cup final. In the final at Estadio Hidalgo, she lost to Pachuca.

Nancy plays a specific style of play that may not be directly applicable to international football, but he has proven to be a good communicator who players trust.

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Somewhat forgotten in the current crop of MLS managers, Óscar Pareja is perhaps a familiar face. According to reports, US Soccer approached Pareja when there was a managerial vacancy last time around, and taking the job would be a dream come true for the former Colombia international, who has called the US home since moving to MLS as a midfielder in 1998.

After a brief stint in Tijuana to work in Liga MX, he has found a home in Orlando City, leading the club to its first trophy in the 2022 US Open Cup and some solid performances in the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

Bilingual and adaptable, Pareja brings many of the qualities the U.S. should be looking for in a men’s national team manager, but he lacks the international experience or global profile that many desire.

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Marsch is the ideal candidate in many ways. Firstly, he is American. He has experience, having worked as an assistant in the US before working at Red Bull Salzburg, RB Leipzig and Leeds United. He wanted the job too.

But pay close attention to the tense of that verb. Although Marsch had hoped to get the job in the US, the timing is no longer right. He is in the semi-finals of the Copa América with Canada, leading the Reds in their first major tournament.

Now that a deal has been struck with Canada, requiring the league to get creative and ask the country’s three MLS teams to chip in money to bring Marsch in, and an exciting project is already underway, he may not want to leave after all.

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Pérez is a rarity: a former US international with experience as a national coach thanks to his time with the El Salvador national team.

He took La Selecta to new heights and brought in a number of new players who are still part of the national team. Towards the end of his tenure, results were harder to come by and El Salvador moved on, although those who followed also failed to achieve victories.

He appeared to say in a social media post last week that he wasn’t interested in the U.S. job, saying he “didn’t believe in not letting a process go to completion.” But if the U.S. called, it’s hard to imagine Pérez not responding.

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Although they only met briefly at Southampton, it’s likely that US Soccer sporting director Matt Crocker and Mauricio Pochettino at least crossed paths.

Poch joined Tottenham Hotspur from Southampton, leading the North London club to a historic run to the UEFA Champions League final. He then moved to Paris Saint-Germain, where he won Ligue 1 but failed to replicate his Champions League feat, and most recently spent time at Chelsea.

Would he like to play the international game? Maybe. It’s also possible he has something else planned. After coaching the World XI at a Soccer Aid event, he posted a message on social media with an image that hinted at a return to the bench.


Although he has not yet managed in Europe, Gallardo is a sought-after coach due to the remarkable job he did at River Plate, leaving the Argentine club after winning two Copa Libertadores and reaching the final of another Copa, plus a number of domestic trophies.

His most recent stint at Saudi Arabian club Al-Ittihad didn’t go so well, but that gives him the freedom to sign with any team he wants. While Gallardo has long been expected to make the move to one of Europe’s top leagues, he may be drawn to the US job.

Gallardo has some connections to the US. He played briefly in Major League Soccer for DC United and his son, Matias, attends the academy in Atlanta, where the US Soccer Federation is moving its headquarters.

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