U.S. Soccer's Earnie Stewart on men's national team: 'I'm a pleased man'

What's stake on Friday when the USA hosts Canada in Orlando in its third of four games in the new Concacaf Nations League?

The USA's 2-0 loss to Canada in Toronto last month makes the return match a "must-win" game if it wants to advance to the Concacaf Nations League's final four in June.

Almost two weeks after the defeat, U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter wrote that “only a win will suffice” in a letter to the American Outlaws, sparking speculation about what he meant and will happen if the USA doesn't win.

Will he quit? Will he be fired? Nothing?

Asked if Berhalter's job is safe, regardless of the results against Canada Friday and Cuba four days later in the Cayman Islands, U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart, Berhalter's boss, responded, "We're looking at the future, so yeah. When I evaluate Gregg and the coaching staff, and what I've seen today, I'm a pleased man. An individual result is not going to change that. I think that answers the question in itself."

Stewart was also asked if there were any level of results over the next 6-9 months that would cause him to make a coaching change before the Hexagonal starts.

"Results are part of it," he said, "but you have to look at that, but there are always certain variables within that that you have to evaluate." But he went on to say “I have no fear at all that we won’t qualify for the World Cup."

Stewart's belief is based on what he sees has been the progress made in the last year.

"I do think there's been progress, I really do," he said. "What we've seen in the Gold Cup is that in Concacaf we have a really good level, and that we can play the game we want to play. Getting to a place where we can do that over 90 minutes, that's the place we need to get to. That progression is there, except against teams like a very good team in Mexico and a very good team like Uruguay, that becomes a little bit more difficult. However, Uruguay game [1-1 tie] I thought the response was excellent. We didn't win that game, but the response of the team after the Mexico game [3-0 loss] was excellent. And the Canada game, it was simply a disappointing game."

Stewart cited the first 25 minutes of the Gold Cup final against Mexico as a game in which U.S. players have played at a high level. (It's was also a game that Tata Martino's El Tri dominated after it made some adjustments and won, 1-0.)

“There’s been some other games,” he added. “The question for us more is not ‘Can these players do that?’ because they’ve already shown that they can. However, what I would say is that we need to do that over 90 minutes. And that’s something that we’re constantly talking about.”

Stewart responded to reporters' questions, but he also went out of his way to address on his own what he described as the "banter" about the perception about who's in charge of technical decisions at U.S. Soccer.

“I just want to be really, really clear," he said, "that when it comes to the technical decisions within the federation, in the role that I have now as the sporting director, I want to be clear that I’m the one making the decisions. So all the conspiracy theories that are out there in my mind are very disrespectful to me, and I’ll just name them, to Jay Berhalterand Gregg Berhalter and to myself. When people insinuate these things, that kind of goes against my internal feelings that I have. I’ve worked a little bit too hard to be in the position that I am today to have people actually think that.”

Photo: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

19 comments about "U.S. Soccer's Earnie Stewart on men's national team: 'I'm a pleased man'".
  1. Wallace Wade, November 13, 2019 at 7:52 a.m.

    He's only pleased because he's collecting a paycheck 

  2. Ginger Peeler, November 13, 2019 at 8:23 a.m.

    Wow! I'm not sure what world Stewart is living in, but it sure isn't mine!

  3. Karl Schreiber replied, November 13, 2019 at 3:19 p.m.

    Same here!  Perhaps this is what they mean by "living in a parallel universe"?

  4. Stephen Hooks, November 13, 2019 at 9:20 a.m.

    That is a serious doubling down from him......

  5. Kevin Leahy, November 13, 2019 at 9:33 a.m.

    Thanks Ginger! Hit the nail on the head!!

  6. Ben Myers, November 13, 2019 at 10:05 a.m.

    Head in sand, like rest of USSF.

  7. Nick Gabris, November 13, 2019 at 10:47 a.m.

    E.S. just confirmed the Status Quo!



  8. Nick Gabris replied, November 13, 2019 at 10:49 a.m.

    We as fans of the MNT are NOT "pleased"!

  9. Goal Goal, November 13, 2019 at 11:05 a.m.

    It doesn’t take a lot to please some people and that is okay except when it affects others.  Such as representing the United States program.  I think Earnie May be dillusional at this point in time.  If he is the decision maker (which I have a hard time believing) it hasn’t worked.  Everyone has to answer to someone above them you have a very short time to continue to make bad decisions.  Makeing decisions are a very important component in managing.  In most places too many bad ones will send you on your way.

    This is another example of Rubber Stamp,

  10. frank schoon, November 13, 2019 at 11:34 a.m.

    Earnie's quote<So all the conspiracy theories that are out there in my mind are very disrespectful to me, and I’ll just name them, to Jay Berhalterand Gregg Berhalter and to myself"> tells me as you can read between the lines is called Earnie's CYA!! against those who wants to get rid of these 3....

    Nothing will happen to GB ofcourse. I'm not saying it should happen for I believe  this problem is deeper than Earnie and GB. It is over GB's head and Earnie is not qualified and if he is , he is making the wrong choices as far as  not bringing in 'REAL EXPERTISE' the kind of people that I've mentioned before to improve and develop our players to a higher level....

  11. beautiful game, November 13, 2019 at 1:13 p.m.

    Stewat's answer speaks for itself; tunnel vision culture as is the case in USSF for decades.

  12. Bob Ashpole, November 13, 2019 at 1:36 p.m.

    Stewart has confirmed my worst fears. As "the sporting director" he is making all the technical decisions for the world champion WNT. It was a job that he was appointed to without competition, without any apparent deliberation, and without anyone except the inner circle at USSF even knowing that the job existed.

    What qualification or experience does he have to micro manage the WNT program that Jay Berhalter or Carlos cordeiro doesn't have? Women are not men in a dress. Neither are they fragile porcelean dolls.

    Not general vision statements. Not goals and objectives. Every technical decision.

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, November 13, 2019 at 1:46 p.m.

    Oh heck, I will come out and say it. Earnie Stewart was "promoted" to be the supervisor of the WNT GM at the same time as USSF hired the WNT GM. 

    It stinks of organizational sexism, gender discrimination, and retaliation. Especially with the gender discrimation lawsuit not settling. You doubt it? Then why hasn't USSF even thought about filling Stewart's old position of MNT GM.

    Why did Stewart just now only mention Jay and Greg? No mention of a MNT GM at all. Everyone at USSF knows that Stewart is still the MNT GM, just with a new title and new duties supervising the WNT program.

  14. James Mcalister, November 13, 2019 at 2:03 p.m.

    I'm sure everyone is aware that results don't matter anymore. From the DA on up, its how we feel, and how many lines we break. Wins can give one a false sense of acomplishment. Trust Ernie we have made progress.

  15. R2 Dad, November 13, 2019 at 6:27 p.m.

    Earnie's new title is Consigliere.

  16. Goal Goal replied, November 13, 2019 at 10:24 p.m.

    Lol R2.  If I am pleased, everyone should be please.

  17. James Madison, November 13, 2019 at 6:41 p.m.

    Earnie is pleased?  He's a better player than that.

  18. Ric Fonseca, November 13, 2019 at 7:40 p.m.

    Did he take a "public speaking" or "introduction to public speaking class" in college or even in high school?  

  19. John DiFiore, November 13, 2019 at 9:48 p.m.

    What in God's name....?

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