July 16, 2024

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US Soccer conducts ‘comprehensive review’ after Copa America exit

US Soccer conducts ‘comprehensive review’ after Copa America exit

The United States Soccer Federation will conduct a comprehensive review after a disappointing Copa America tournament on home soil that “did not live up to expectations.”

The U.S. men’s national team beat Bolivia 2-0 in its opening match, but then lost 2-1 to Panama and suffered a 1-0 defeat to Uruguay as it struggled to stay in the competition.

This result, along with Panama’s win over Bolivia, caused them to exit the group stage.

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With the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico just two years away, Gregg Berhalter’s position as head coach is now under significant pressure.

“Our performance in the tournament fell short of our expectations,” the NFL said in a statement. “We have to do better.”

“We will conduct a comprehensive review of our performance in the Copa America and how best to improve the team and results as we look ahead to the 2026 World Cup.”

“We know we can do more and in this tournament we didn’t show that, it’s that simple. We look at the stage with the fans and the high level of competition and we should have done better. We will review and find out what went wrong but it’s an empty feeling now for sure,” Berhalter said after his team’s exit.

Asked by The athlete If he still believed he was the right man and voice to lead the group, Berhalter replied: “Yes.”

Berhalter, 50, led the United States to the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar but his contract expired at the end of that year, in part due to his interactions with winger Gio Reyna.

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Reyna was nearly thrown out of the World Cup for his behavior after being told he would not be a starter for the U.S. in their opening match against Wales. Reyna’s lack of effort in subsequent training sessions led to his expulsion from the squad, but Berhalter opted to keep Reyna in Qatar.

The relationship between Berhalter and Reyna was explored in the post-World Cup review (Ersin Erturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

After the tournament, the coach spoke about these issues without mentioning Reina’s name during the question-and-answer portion of the leadership conference, which was run under Chatham House rules, which usually means any comments were off the record. However, those comments were made public, The athlete Reyna is reportedly the player Berhalter was talking about.

After those stories, Reyna’s parents — former U.S. national team players Claudio and Danielle Reyna, and longtime friends of Berhalter and his wife, Rosalind Berhalter — reported an incident in 1992 to former U.S. Soccer Director of Athletics Ernie Stewart in which Berhalter kicked Rosalind during a fight when the two were freshmen at the University of North Carolina.

This led to an investigation by the US Soccer Federation, which ultimately concluded that Berhalter had been given the green light to be rehired.

Captain Christian Pulisic, who scored in the opening win over Bolivia but was unable to help in the two inconsistent performances that followed, lamented his inability to find a “solution” in the final third against Uruguay.

“We started the game well and put in a lot of effort, but at the end of the game we were not at the level we needed to be at. I felt we gave our best, but we couldn’t find the solutions to score,” Pulisic said.

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Asked where the team goes from here, he said: “It’s about getting some rest, regrouping and finding an identity again.”

Pulisic was unable to help the United States advance (Michael Reeves/Getty Images)

Goalkeeper Matt Turner expressed his support for Berhalter and the current staff to get things right.

“I don’t see any problem with the direction we’re going in,” Turner said. “When there’s a fight like that on the pitch in every game we play in this tournament, it speaks volumes about how the manager has prepared us.”

Defender Chris Richards speaks to The athleteIt is also believed that progress is being made.

“Every game is a step forward regardless of the result. You can learn a lot from every game. I think people like to criticise us a lot because of our identity, and we accept that and keep moving forward,” he said.

“We try not to listen too much to the outside noise. They can say what they want, but every game and every training session is a step forward regardless of the result.”

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Midfielder Weston McKennie is open about next steps but would be happy to continue playing under Berhalter if that is the direction taken.

“I think we all feel comfortable with Greg and we all understand him and he’s been with us for a long time,” he said. The athlete“He has taken the team to a very advanced stage from where we started four or five years ago.

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“I think the relationship we have with him is the most important, having a coach who can challenge everything for him, who listens to his advice. So I think whatever happens will happen, but if he is the coach, we will all be happy, we will get up, dust ourselves off, learn and keep moving forward. That is the only thing we can do now.

“You can’t really try to live in the past, not think about the distant future, just try to live in the present and get better little by little and see where that takes us.”

The US national soccer team is scheduled to play two friendlies in September, against Canada in Kansas City on September 7 before meeting New Zealand in Cincinnati three days later.

(Top photo: John Dorton/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)