Sunday, July 14, 2024

Gregg Berhalter sacked as Jurgen Klopp tipped for sensational move to USA

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As the United States prepare to host the next men’s World Cup, on Thursday they moved one step closer to achieving a plan mapped out by goalkeeping great Tim Howard.

Gregg Berhalter’s ill-fated second spell in charge of the national team was ended with a short statement from the US Soccer Federation – the expected outcome following a history-making exit from the 2024 Copa America.

Jurgen Klopp is back in the news with a big job potentially opening in the USA

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Jurgen Klopp is back in the news with a big job potentially opening in the USACredit: Getty

While Man City’s Pep Guardiola would be the ultimate coup for a United States Men’s National Team that became the first host nation in Copa history to be eliminated at the group stage, another big name is already available on the open market.

Jurgen Klopp became a hero for Liverpool before walking away with Premier League and Champions League titles and Howard believes the former Dortmund manager should be the USSF’s priority target.

United States Soccer Federation sporting director, Matt Crocker, confirmed Berhalter’s exit and outlined the desire to appoint a serial-winning coach ahead of the 2026 World Cup on home soil.

“We are deeply grateful to Gregg for his commitment the past five years to the men’s national team and to US soccer,” a statement read.

“Gregg has earned the respect of everyone within our organisation and has played a pivotal role in bringing together a young team and moving the program forward.”

Crocker added: “We are looking for a serial winning coach and a coach that can also build on the work that has already been put in place.

“Clearly, there’s still a lot of potential in the group and we have to turn out the performance and results, so that’s what I’ll be looking for and that’ll be my absolute No. 1 priority.  All my energies and efforts will be going into that straight away.”

The search now begins for a successor, and Klopp has already teased fans with a 4th of July social media post remembering his trips to the United States with Liverpool.

The Independent’s Miguel Delaney reports that initial contact has already been made with Klopp to gauge his interest.

Howard, who won 121 caps for the USMNT and Manchester United, has vowed to do everything possible to convince Klopp that the USA is a perfect job after leaving Liverpool.

With frustrated USMNT fans and American soccer analysts getting their wish following the exit of Berhalter, Howard has his eye on a 57-year-old German who became more than a manager to passionate Liverpool supporters.

Tim Howard had prime USMNT and Manchester United experience in net

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Tim Howard had prime USMNT and Manchester United experience in netCredit: AFP or licensors
Berhalter was fired after the the United States' stunning Copa America loss

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Berhalter was fired after the the United States’ stunning Copa America lossCredit: Getty

“The money is certainly there,” Howard told the Daily Mail after the USMNT were eliminated earlier this month.

“My pitch would be simple: he has a young group of players who can play progressive, front-foot soccer – exactly like his Liverpool teams. And in two years’ time he can go to the biggest World Cup in history.”

“I am willing to help my country in any way I can,” Howard said. “Proud to serve. So if I was in charge of US Soccer right now, I’d be on my way to the airport.

“Why? Because I believe I could make a very compelling argument to Jurgen Klopp to take over the US Men’s National Team.

“After the disappointment of Copa America, after the United States lost to Uruguay and exited at the group stages, I will personally fly to Spain. I mean it.”

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Exiting fans shouted for immediate change following a 1-0 loss to Uruguay and were delighted with Howard’s call to arms.

“Former players need to step up big time,” one fan tweeted. “This is great to see because the federation is useless.”

“Let’s get it done,” a second fan posted.

“USMNT team can’t keep a coach to save their lives,” a third fan wrote.

The looming 2026 World Cup – hosted in the US, Canada and Mexico – will increase already lofty expectations, only draws more attention to a coaching spot that is now vacant

“With or without (Klopp), there’s a ceiling for USMNT,” a fan tweeted. “It’s good to be ambitious but take a step every time. Becoming Brazil, Argentina, France, whatever, isn’t simple.”

The USMNT is missing a real connection with its fans

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The USMNT is missing a real connection with its fansCredit: Getty

In theory Klopp could be the perfect manager to unite fans and players, all while raising the prestige of a sport in America that is still trying to step out of the NFL’s huge shadow.

It helps that he is out of contract and while admitting he needs a rest, leading a team into a home World Cup – even if he would face the prospect of taking on his homeland.

“I’m at a loss for words,” Clint Dempsey said. “It’s so frustrating to see. You have a team that you’re rooting on and you want to do well. And at the same time, where have we come since 2022?

“You qualify for the World Cup, you get out of the group. And then where have we progressed? And we haven’t.

“That’s the most frustrating part. This is our Golden Generation and it looks like we’re wasting it. With 2026 coming up, you’re never going to get this opportunity again. … When are you going to have a better chance to do something special in the World Cup?”.

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