More than seven months after the debacle of failing to qualify for the World Cup, U.S. Soccer is finally moving a step closer to selecting a new coach to take charge of its men's national team.
U.S. Soccer has hired Earnie Stewart as the general manager for the U.S. men's national team, as Goal reported earlier on Wednesday.
Stewart takes over a newly created position that will lead the search for the next U.S. coach. He will spearhead a committee that will evaluate candidates before hiring a new coach after the World Cup.
“With his breadth of experience as both a player and a technical director, Earnie is the ideal leader to guide the long-term success of our men’s national team program,” U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro said in a federation release.
Stewart will begin his new position on Aug. 1 after leaving his current role as Philadelphia Union sporting director, and will report to U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn.
“Having played for the U.S. men’s national team, I’m honored by the opportunity to return to help lead this rebuilding phase,” Stewart said.
“We have a tremendous amount of young talent and passion in the U.S., and I’m ready to jump in, hire a new head coach and build a culture of success, with the ultimate goal of the U.S. men’s national team becoming a world champion."
A standout with the U.S. national team, Stewart made 101 appearances for the United States, including playing in every U.S. match in the 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cups.
Born in the Netherlands, Stewart followed up his playing career by going into front office work, first as the technical director for Dutch club VVV Venlo, then moving on to similar positions at NAC Breda and then AZ.
Stewart spent almost a decade working in the Eredivisie before joining the Philadelphia Union as sporting director after the 2015 season.
The general manager position was created in the wake of the U.S. team's failure to qualify for the World Cup. The previous U.S. coaching searches were led almost exclusively by former U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, who was responsible for hiring Bruce Arena, Bob Bradley and Jurgen Klinsmann before turning back to Arena in a failed attempt to help the U.S. qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
Mexican national team coach Juan Carlos Osorio, Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter, New York Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch and Iran national team coach Carlos Quieroz are some of the names who have been mentioned as potential candidates to fill the U.S. head coach position, which has been vacant since Arena stepped down following the team's elimination from World Cup qualifying.
Dave Sarachan has held the position of caretaker coach since Arena's departure, and will be in charge of the team for Saturday's friendly against France, which is expected to be his final match in charge.