Gregg Berhalter answers: 'Does the success of the USMNT at Copa América put his job on the line?'

The United States’ hosting of the Copa América 2024 is just around the corner. The USMNT are looking to prove themselves on the international stage ahead of the World Cup, many consider their success in the tournament a do-or-die scenario for whoever is leading the team from the bench… and then there's Gregg Berhalter.

USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter joined Alexi Lalas for a sit-down interview on his State of the Union Podcast to talk about all things USMNT heading into one of the most important summer’s for the national team in recent years.

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Nations League title defense, the return to the Summer Olympics and hosting of the Copa América all in the span of three months.

Gregg Berhalter on whether or not USMNT manager job is on the line with Copa América 2024

At the start of the interview and in pure Alexi fashion, before Berhalter was able to put any thoughts together for the show, the former USMNT defender hit the manager with the question millions of American soccer fans would like to know: "Does Gregg Berhalter’s job as the USMNT coach depend on the success of Copa América this summer?"

Well, in pure Berhalter fashion, he answered. This before going on a classic Berhalter tangent.

“Alexi… I just flew from Chicago four-hour flight and that’s the first question that you ask me?” Berhalter said jokingly.

“You know for us to achieve our goals and what we wanna do, the Copa America is very important,” said the USMNT manager. “We have to do two things: We have to learn how to beat the best in the world and we have to learn how to thrive in knockout competition and Copa América is going to be big for that,” he added.

Now, when it came to answering Alexi’s million-dollar question, Berhalter felt to explain the role he takes on as the U.S. head coach and all the pressures that come it with. Pressures that, more often than not, he doesn’t already put on himself.

“Regarding myself and the job, one thing I’ve learned with the national team job: it’s one of one. You’re always under pressure, you’re always accountable for results,” said the former Columbus Crew manager.

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“This is part of it. Learn to live with the pressure. I don’t think there’s any pressure that the outside can put on us or me personally that I don’t put on myself. We’re very focused on achieving our goals and doing well in Copa América,” he added.

Berhalter, who was re-appointed as USMNT coach in 2023 after four years with the team, is on track to become the manager with the most years spent consecutively as head coach of the national team. 

After a mentally excrutiating 2022 World Cup amidst the Gio Reyna scandal mid-tournament and the USMNT's lackluster participation in the tournament after an eight-year absence, he will now have the whole summer to prove that his ‘return’ to the international seat was no mistake. 

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