So you want to be a fan of the hiring of new USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter but just don’t know enough about the guy?
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Maybe you don’t watch MLS, don’t have a decades-long history with the USMNT, and your starting point has been the endless banter about how his brother Jay is a higher-up at the federation, and you just want to feel better about the red, white, and blue post-Bruce Arena.
Well fear not, here are some notes about Gregg Berhalter, starting with the fact that his parents included two g’s at the end of the first name in the hopes he would marshal a Golden Generation of American footballers to victory.
Okay, that’s not true, but here are some facts:
— The New Jersey-born 45-year-old went to North Carolina for school before embarking on a 17-year career spent mostly in Europe.
— He was a high school teammate of Claudio Reyna, and went on to make 44 appearances for the USMNT as a defender.
— His professional playing career started in the Eredivisie with Zwolle (1994-96) and continued with stops at Sparta Rotterdam (1996-1998), Cambuur Leeuwarden (1998-2000), Crystal Palace (2001-02), Energie Cottbus (2002-06), 1860 Munich (2006-09), and the LA Galaxy (2009-11).
— Berhalter was a member of the USMNT’s squads at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.
— He went into management under Bruce Arena for a season before taking a job with Hammarby in Sweden from 2011-13. Berhalter returned home to work at Columbus, and has wildly over-performed in terms of salary and outlay by the stingy Crew.
— Berhalter was the first American to manage a team in Europe, and he also captained Energie Cottbus in the 2.Bundesliga.
— As Crew manager he out-performed his club’s miserly spending in almost every season.
— Berhalter’s Godfather is Boston Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski.
All-in-all, the USMNT could’ve done much worse in choosing its next boss, who’s worn the colors of the club and earned respect as a player and manager on multiple continents.