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Who is new USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter?

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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.

U.S. Soccer announces Gregg Berhalter as USMNT boss

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It’s official: The United States men’s national team’s first new full-time manager since 2011 is Gregg Berhalter, the 44-times capped defender who’s coached Hammarby and the Columbus Crew.

U.S. Soccer general manager Earnie Stewart announced his choice on Sunday, months after Berhalter became the clear front-runner and 13-plus months since Bruce Arena stepped down from the post following the embarrassing World Cup qualifying failure in Couva.

Now, we can well and truly begin to move past that era. Berhalter will be introduced at a press conference in New York City on Tuesday at Noon ET.

[ MORE: Who is Gregg Berhalter? ]

General manager Earnie Stewart, the third man quoted in a press release from U.S. Soccer, says the controversial hiring process doesn’t leave any doubts in his mind. The USSF was said to have refused an interview with former Spanish boss Julen Lopetegui and formerly discussed the job with only four candidates including Berhalter.

“After a very thorough process, I am absolutely convinced Gregg is the right man to lead the National Team program moving forward,” Stewart said. “He ticks all the boxes with his background as a person, a successful coach and an accomplished former international player.”

Berhalter was chosen as MNT head coach after an extensive selection process led by Stewart, who worked alongside U.S. Soccer’s Chief Sport Development Officer Nico Romeijn and Chief Soccer Officer Ryan Mooney in developing the profile for the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team.

Interim manager Dave Sarachan did an admirable job while the USMNT navigated managerial purgatory, introducing all sorts of new blood, but Berhalter is tasked with inviting the right mix of veterans and new blood into the fold.

Will there be places for Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore? Will Berhalter want to see Geoff Cameron and Danny Williams? Or is the longtime MLS man going to begin with youth?

La Liga takes Spanish FA to court over game in U.S.

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La Liga president Javier Tebas is following through on threats that he’ll take legal action to force through a league match in the U.S.

The Spanish top flight confirmed to the BBC that it had filed a lawsuit in Madrid, effectively trying to use legal means to force through an approval from the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). “La Liga has taken a case to court in Madrid and expect a resolution in the coming days or weeks,” a league spokesperson said, via the BBC.

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After announcing a 15-year deal with U.S. based sports marketing giant Relevant Sports to promote La Liga in the U.S. and elsewhere outside of Spain, La Liga revealed its intention to play a league match outside its sovereign shores. Barcelona and Girona agreed to move the return fixture, originally set to be in Girona, to Miami on January 26.

However, both the RFEF and FIFA have announced that they won’t approve this match played outside of Spain. La Liga needs approval from the RFEF, FIFA and U.S. Soccer before it can actually stage the game, and with less than two months to go, La Liga needs a decision one way or another.

It’s a bit embarrassing that both La Liga and Relevant Sports didn’t do any politiking or sounding out the necessary federations to get approval before announcing the idea, making the league look like it lacks organization and a plan. Of course, what might work in La Liga’s favor is the upcoming Copa Libertadores Final, set to take place in Madrid on December 9. Although it was moved due to quite extraordinary circumstances, the fact that it’s set to take place outside of CONMEBOL’s jurisdiction could provide La Liga with the loophole to force a league match outside of its borders.

Report: USSF interviewed Pareja; FC Dallas could hire Ramos

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Yahoo Sports’ Doug McIntyre has added a second name to the list of people interviewed for the USMNT opening.

McIntyre reports that Oscar Pareja had an in-person interview with U.S. Soccer general manager Earnie Stewart, joining presumed favorite Gregg Berhalter in a fairly exclusive group of four.

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The post, which also says Berhalter has a lot of leverage in negotiations thanks to interest in LA and his current home of Columbus, has this to offer:

I’m hearing that Berhalter and Pareja were among four finalists identified by Stewart. I don’t know the identity of the others, at least not yet, but am told that the list included at least one international candidate from outside MLS.

So it’s going to end up being Berhalter, Pareja, David Moyes, and Tab Ramos, right?

Again, this process stinks, but it would be very wrong of USMNT supporters to grade Berhalter as anything other than a strong candidate. He’s succeeded with low resources, and respects the overseas standard of the game.

McIntyre also says Ramos is a prime candidate to take over for Pareja in FC Dallas, raising the question of whether the U.S. U-20 coach would be granted leave for the U-20 World Cup during Dallas’ season. It would be nice to see, but a lot of pro clubs wouldn’t risk showing their sides as anything but the only thing that matters to a coach. That said, the team could hold its pre-tournament in Dallas, and is likely to have at least two FCD youths (Brandon Servania, Paxton Pomykal) on the roster.

Pareja spent all but four of the past 20 years in Dallas, but left for Club Tijuana this month.

Report: USMNT turned down Lopetegui meeting request

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The United States men’s national team has been missing a full-time head coach for a long time, and is set to appoint a boss — probably Gregg Berhalter — within the next week or two.

But Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl dropped a bomb on a weary and leery U.S. fan base after FS1’s broadcast of the USMNT’s 1-0 loss to Italy in Belgium on Tuesday.

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Wahl says that former Spain and Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui recently approached U.S. Soccer about the vacancy, but was told the program was too far along in its process.

From Wahl on SI.com:

U.S. Soccer, the source said, replied that it was too far down the line in its process to entertain the interest of Lopetegui, who was undefeated in 20 matches (14-0-6) across two years as the Spain coach. U.S. Soccer offered no comment when asked for a response.

The report will only add more consternation as Berhalter, well-qualified in his own right, attempts to right the good ship USMNT.

How in the world, at any point in the process, a program like the USMNT refuses the chance to speak to Lopetegui would be hilarious most times, though it certainly is likely very late in the process (which has not been anywhere near transparent).

If Berhalter had been told he was hired, that’s about the only acceptable answer (and even if he was, some would still have wanted the U.S. to say ‘Tough break, Gregg. We owe the process this conversation’).

Also a former Porto boss, Lopetegui led Spain’s U-19 and U-21 sides to EURO titles. He was fired by Real on Oct. 29, which would’ve given the Yanks a chance to reach out to him.

Again, I think Berhalter has everything it takes to be a wildly successful USMNT boss, but this process has not been covered in glory.