Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Case for Gregg Berhalter

By: Vidda Grubin

Gregg Berhalter is the right person for the job of United States Senior Men's Soccer Team Head Coach.

Berhalter has the proven ability to take average players and get them to play a style of soccer, possession oriented, which translates over time to consistent positive results. Point all you want to the lack of trophies as Columbus Crew coach; but remember, the Columbus Crew, with average to below average payroll, produced some of the most entertaining soccer in MLS over the last five years. They routinely punched above their perceived level. New strikers every year or two, revolving central defender pairings and a hot and cold midfield was turned into a team which, at times, could step onto the field of play and not only outplay teams with significantly better rosters top to bottom, but look classy and comfortable in the process.

Gregg Berhalter, I trust, has worked out a deal where he must have some control of youth team player choices and development strategy. Two years from now, there will be no average players on the National Team. He will find, with the help of coaches like Tab Ramos and others, the most technically gifted and tactically intelligent players residing in the United States, regardless of league affiliation, family heritage or color of skin. And, Gregg Berhalter will not abandon the long term expected value of requiring his players to embrace and become deadly efficient within his chosen style of play.

All that said, the US Men's National Team may not qualify for the 2022 World Cup. I will shed no tears if that happens. Qatar is an abomination. 2026 is certainly the target. Victory is assuredly the goal.

The pool of players between the ages of 12 and 22 in the states is talented, driven, deep and wide. Given enough control, time and the right support, Gregg Berhalter will put the US Men's National Team in position to win the 2026 World Cup.

Stick to your guns, Mr. Berhalter. Demand that your players and teams seek to dominate every technical, tactical and creative aspect of every training session and every game in which they participate. You have never relented to a player's immaturity, selfishness or fundamental weakness, don't start now. I have watched you, your players and teams, each and every one has bought-in and appreciated the fact that you expect nothing but the best from them. Never stop and best of luck.

PS--I hope Josh Wolff's car was in the spot I said it was at the restaurant on Main Street.  ; ) Valet is on me if you come back.

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