Earnie Stewart to supervise U.S. Soccer's style of play vision

New U.S. men’s national team general manager Earnie Stewart is charged with leading the hiring process for a new head coach and instilling and supervising a style of play vision.

On choosing a new national team coach, Stewart said he’s looking for a “really good people manager.”

"There’s also the other part,” he said, “to make sure that our style of play, the way that we want to play during the game, the tactical principles that we have, that you see those on the field.

“The style of play will be evident for people that are close to the team. What's more important is that people on the outside know exactly what they see on the inside. You might not know anything about soccer, but there’s a certain way of playing that we want the national team to bring.”

Asked to describe the style of play, Stewart said:

“Once again, the pride and passion come to mind as important values that we spoke about in meetings. When our players step on the field, we want to make sure that people always see that.”

The 49-year-old Stewart, the son of a U.S. serviceman and a Dutch mother, was raised in the Netherlands and played in three World Cups (1994, 1998, 2002) for the USA during his 15 years in the Dutch league.

Asked how important U.S. Latino talent is to the future of the U.S. national team and to his vision of a style of play, Stewart said:

“What I can say is being a dual nationalist, I think it’s really simple, everybody who’s eligible to play for the U.S. national team and falls within those values that we deem important when they step on the field and represent us, they are eligible.

“I don’t look at where they came from and how they got there. It’s more important that they’re eligible, and they have those values and maybe even more importantly the technical ability to perform at a high level.”

On whether he likes the Latin style of play and believes it a formula to success:

“I like the Latin style of play. I think it’s a lot like the Dutch style of play, so it’s very much based on having the ball all the time. But at the same time, in international soccer there are different rules to the game to have success.

“I’m not in place yet to be very specific on the style of play because those are conversations that will be ongoing … Looking at Concacaf and qualifying, we will determine in the near future what that style of play will be.”

Asked about the under-representation of Latino coaches among U.S. Soccer’s Technical Advisors and USSF-licensed coaches, in a nation in which the Hispanics comprise 25 percent of the under-18 population, Stewart said:

“I’m not in place yet, so I have not had time to look at that data.”

Earnie Stewart's GM Responsibilities
(as outlined by U.S. Soccer)

Leading the search and hiring process for the head coach;
Creating the environment -- both day-to-day and long-term -- for the head coach and the men’s national team to succeed;
Ensuring that U.S. Soccer’s style of play, team tactical principles, and key qualities are being implemented within the men’s national team;
Creating a player profile for each position on the field based on the style of play, team tactical principles, and key qualities;
Working with the head coach to create positional depth charts based on the player profile, accounting for player’s current and potential ability to compete at the highest levels in the world;
Evaluating and monitoring players coming up through the youth national team programs and ensuring that the best talent is identified and cultivated;
Communicating and working with the Sport Development Departments to drive technical alignment and integration, including Coaching Education, Player Development, High Performance, Talent Identification and Youth National Teams.

Stewart scored the game-winning goal in the USA’s 2-1 win over Colombia that sent the USA to the second round of a World Cup for the first time since 1930. He was also part of the U.S. team that reached the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup.

After playing in the Dutch league from 1988 to 2003, he joined D.C. United and helped it lift the 2004 MLS Cup. Upon returning the Netherlands he served as technical director of VVV, NAC Breda and AZ Alkmaar, before becoming Sporting Director of Philadelphia Union in 2015.

He’ll remain with the Union until moving into the U.S. Soccer position on Aug. 1.

26 comments about "Earnie Stewart to supervise U.S. Soccer's style of play vision".
  1. frank schoon, June 6, 2018 at 8:19 p.m.

    Good interview,Mike, although I wish it gotten a little more specific. Here is what I got out of it. Looking at it logically, when it comes to style of play, we have to look at where Earney learned to play. He was brought up playing a dutch style, meaning ball possession, positional soccer, attacking soccer, etc. This style of soccer has  been successful with the most well known teams, Barcelona, Bayren, Man.City,etc ,in Europe , in the past decade.
    As far as choosing a coach, he should choose a coach that is likewise acquainted with the style that Earney was brought up to play. It just so  happens Louis van Gaal the great dutch coach ,a Cruyff adept, like Pep Guardiola, could possibly be hired to coach the US team, or there is another dutch coach Erwin Koeman ,the brother of Ronald Koeman. I don't know if they'll be asked or even accept this job. But scenario seems like a  logical conclusion when you take into account Earney Stewart's past. 
    Furthermore , Earney knows van Gaal and he is very familiar with van Gaal  and his capabilities. Van Gaal is an excellent coach that can work with young talented players, like he did with Ajax.
    Here is what is so important is  that we have a chance to hire a great coach, whose knowledge of the game is extremely good and follows  the philosophy of Cruyff. He's coached Barcelona and Gaurdiola who also learned from van Gaal. He is the right person to be able to finally initiate a definite style for US to play. We have a chance to have one of the best coaches in the world to help US soccer.  It is a wish but who knows, it would be very exciting if he comes for than we would benefit from a Cruyffian style of soccer, that Spain, Germany, and England( Man.City) is enjoying.
    As a result our concept of player selection and development would change thata currently has been in effect for the past 50years 

  2. Wooden Ships replied, June 6, 2018 at 8:32 p.m.

    I’m really happy with this hire and his background. Hooah, son of a serviceman too. 

  3. Bob Ashpole replied, June 6, 2018 at 10:32 p.m.

    I really didn't like the job description USSF released today and reported by SA. Leading a "hiring process" is not the same as making the hiring decision. Ensuring that US Soccer's "Style of Play" is being implemented is not the same as determining the MNT's "Style of Play". In fact it means that the GM cannot independently determine how the MNT will play. This looks very much like a job description for a middle manager where the organization makes decisions by committee, not an executive running a business segment. 

  4. Wooden Ships replied, June 6, 2018 at 11:14 p.m.

    I’m afraid you’re right Bob. If he runs into too much meddling he won’t stay long probably. 

  5. frank schoon replied, June 7, 2018 at 6:55 a.m.

    Guys, Ships , Bob, you could be right on the mark on this job description criticism. That means our developmental  process would take longer. But even so, if he chooses van Gaal and decides US soccer needs to follow a Dutch/Cruyffian style of soccer, I would consider it a step in the right direction of many steps. But who knows ,we’ll see. I do know if people think JK was too rough and realistic then get ready,for if van Gaal comes, for the Dutch nature of criticism and realism will be a shocker making JK just a piker.

  6. Terry Lynch, June 6, 2018 at 8:42 p.m.

    Please NOT van Gaal for the MNT coach!  Did you ever watch Man U during his two year reign?  Snooze!  Tons of possession.  No attack.  We can do better.

    PS--Really like the Ernie Stewart selection!  Good luck to him!

  7. frank schoon replied, June 6, 2018 at 9:43 p.m.

    Richard , I agree with you on Man. United, I didn’t like it either. I don’t know the underlying circumstances for United for during that time United had been going through a post Ferguson transition. But all the other teams he coached ,Bayern, Barcelona, Dutch team Wc14 did great.  

  8. John DiFiore, June 6, 2018 at 8:45 p.m.

    "Pride and Passion" are two excellent starting points! Let's hope he means American spirit. Players that had American spirit worked well for us - our team did well when proud and passionate.  I believe we lost that under JK.  

  9. John DiFiore replied, June 6, 2018 at 8:52 p.m.

    BTW, Good Luck Earnie!!  I think he's the right man for the job.

  10. frank schoon replied, June 6, 2018 at 9:45 p.m.

    Pride and Passion is good to have but teams need more than that to play good soccer

  11. Wooden Ships replied, June 6, 2018 at 11:20 p.m.

    John, I attribute the loss of pride and passion to some of the US based players and the Captain. JK, while tactically weak, finally brought in modern futbal professionalism. IMO, which is based on very good inside intel.

  12. frank schoon replied, June 7, 2018 at 6:40 a.m.

    Ships, I agree. We needed a JK to show what we had lacked. Jk was just one of  the steps of many we needed to further our development.

  13. Kevin Leahy, June 6, 2018 at 9:19 p.m.

    His coaching hire will tell the tale. Not overly impressed with The Union's coach. I personally prefer Tab Ramos unless Bocanegra wants to part with his coach.

  14. Bob Ashpole, June 6, 2018 at 10:40 p.m.

    My impression is that USSF's reorganization has taken an authoritative structure that was relatively agile when it comes to change and converted it to a committee run approach with shared responsibilities which is a type of organization very resistent to change.

    In my view the reorganization moved in the opposite direction of what is needed.

  15. frank schoon replied, June 7, 2018 at 10 a.m.

    Bob, They got what they voted for.....This whole process was decided in the backroom. This is how these Administrative types operate, types who don't know what the grass smells like.
    I remember after the election, I think, Cordeiro stated there were others who ran for the postion created conflict, Eric Wynalda ,etc. Yeah, that is  perhaps what we needed to have some sand kicked around in the Administrative types faces... Some criticized Wynalda and others for lack of a CEO backround or lacked experience on the Administrative side....Well, I prefer the latter knowing what is going on with the new leadership...

  16. Kevin Leahy, June 7, 2018 at 5:18 a.m.

    Since they gave JK too much power they, are afraid to give too much to anyone else. JK was a disaster. You can't be tactically weak and coach @that level. The team couldn't survive his lack of acumen & the lack of talent between the 23 & 27 year olds.

  17. Brian Cameron, June 7, 2018 at 11:18 a.m.

    Bob, excellent points. Hopefully he has more autonomy than the wording of the job description suggests.

  18. s fatschel, June 7, 2018 at 11:26 a.m.

    Interview on SiriusXM FC raised issue that Ramos not reporting under Stewart could be a problem. Hopefully that will be fixed to maximize effectiveness of youth development.

  19. Bob Ashpole, June 7, 2018 at 11:49 a.m.

    In the long view, our goal should be to raise the MNT level of play until it is able to dominate play against even the best opponents. That is what it takes to be world champion. Domination of play requires possession of the ball, i.e., superior tactics and technique. 

    To reach that goal coaches and staff have to change. They still are bringing in big strong players will inferior skills and tactics thinking that they will get better with experience. Fundamentals should be mastered by U16. Players still needing to learn fundamentals at age 23 shouldn't be in the national team pool. I am not blaming the players. Simply put, the senior MNT cannot dominate top teams with players that are still soccer age 16.

  20. frank schoon replied, June 7, 2018 at 11:56 a.m.

    Bob, exactly, the MNT should be our flagship for US soccer

  21. beautiful game, June 9, 2018 at 12:05 p.m.

    IMHO, the "style of play" depends on the quality of players. Getting the best coach in the world means nothing when players can't execute under various conditions. If the youth development process is not straightened, the end result is repeated.

  22. frank schoon replied, June 9, 2018 at 12:35 p.m.

    BG, No matter what the style, the better the players the better style... We have kids playing a flatback defense and we have the pros playing a flatback defense, the pros obviously play it better and carry it ot better. Just like in the days when all teams played with a libero at all levels....The better the  level of players the better and more efficient execution of the style...
    Why now do all teams play with wingers that cut inside instead of go down the wing to cross or beat 1v1 the defenders. Are you telling me that all of sudden teams that play with wingers that can't do but only cut in....

  23. Bob Ashpole replied, June 9, 2018 at 1:36 p.m.

    Does the chicken or the egg come first?

    My view of the sport is a participant's view, not a view from the stands. In my view the cabability of the players to play multiple styles of play defines their quality.

    I have seen a U10 boys team in a demonstration in LA perform with all the skills and positioning required to play a technical, position based game later when they are older. 

    Any failure in player development here in the US is a failure of execution. The best practices to develop players is something that hasn't been kept secret and hasn't changed significantly in 40 years that I know of. There are people in the US that have done it right in the past and are doing it right today. Collectively we focus on building and training teams to win competitions and win commercial success, instead of identifying and developing players.

  24. frank schoon replied, June 9, 2018 at 1:47 p.m.

    Bob. exactly, too much focus on building and training teams to win competitions. How many coaches are know for developing players instead they are known for their winning.
    Read this morning in the paper that van Gaal is seriously considering an offer to coach. If he doesn't take this last hurrah, he will retire. He won't say the offer, but he did state he had many offers from Italy and turned those down for he doesn't care for Italian soccer. I don't think it is a coaching job in Europe, Asia or South America. He did say he likes working with young players...He has never spend time in the US and it would be nice for him to try this venue. I would like for him to come for he is one of the best coaches in the world and it would be good for him to further his Cruyffian knowledge of the game to be applied here...we'll see.

  25. Bob Ashpole, June 10, 2018 at 2:22 p.m.

    I watched an interview of Earnie Stewart during the halftime show of the France-USA friendly. The interview reinforced my belief that the GM position is not really a GM position, but rather a middle manager with responsibilities for the long term performance of the MNT while the head coach position retains responsibility for the MNT short term performance.

    What is most worrisome to me is that no one in USSF including the new GM hire has said anything about GM authority, only responsibility. Stewart's statements are consistent with my earlier impression that the USSF board has not delegated any authority, making the GM a middle manager rather than a decision-making executive in charge of an organization segment. The USSF reorganization structures USSF like a partnership with the partners/board of directions making all the decisions with designated managers reporting to them.

    It is a very cumbersome and inefficient way to manage an organization. It also is inherently resistant to change. 

  26. frank schoon replied, June 10, 2018 at 3:44 p.m.


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