Southampton football director joining U.S. Soccer as its new sporting director: reports

Southampton director of football Matt Crocker has been hired by the U.S. Soccer as the organization's new sporting director, multiple U.S. media reported on Sunday.

Reports in The Athletic, Washington Post, ESPN and Philadelphia Inquirer said Crocker would be formally named to the role following a two-month search.

Crocker replaces Earnie Stewart, who stepped down from the job in February to join PSV Eindhoven.

Crocker announced in December he would step down from his Southampton role at the end of the Premier League season. He had been with the club since early 2020 after joining it from the English FA.

He had previously worked at Southampton as manager of the club's academy that produced talents such as Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Luke Shaw.

Crocker joins U.S. Soccer at a time of turmoil in the men's national team, which has been without a permanent head coach since last year's World Cup finals in Qatar.

World Cup coach Gregg Berhalter's contract expired after the tournament, but his future was thrown into question after an investigation into decades-old allegations of domestic violence.

Those allegations emerged in the wake of Berhalter's treatment of Borussia Dortmund's Gio Reyna at the World Cup.

U.S. Soccer have said there is no reason not to consider Berhalter for re-appointment, but Crocker will head the hunt for the U.S. national team head coach.

"U.S. Soccer's process for determining who will serve as sporting director is ongoing," the federation said in March.  "The Sporting Director will lead the process of determining who will serve as head coach of the men's national team."

Anthony Hudson has served as an interim head coach for the U.S. team.


© Agence France-Presse
28 comments about "Southampton football director joining U.S. Soccer as its new sporting director: reports".
  1. Perry McIntyre, April 24, 2023 at 8:01 a.m.

    What are the odds now (pick an EPL shirt sponsor) of the next USMNT coach being a Brit, because you know, England's never beaten the U.S. in a World Cup, but they know best.

  2. Chris Madden, April 24, 2023 at 9:06 a.m.

    Insanity is repeating the same action over and over again and expecting a different result. Just because we speak the same language is insufficient to continue this long slide down the soccer hill with the Brits. And when was the last time an English coach won the EPL title? 

  3. Wallace Wade, April 24, 2023 at 9:36 a.m.

    Jesse Marsch incoming to USMNT 

  4. Ben Myers replied, April 24, 2023 at 2:29 p.m.

    Help!  NOOOOOOOO!

  5. Santiago 1314 replied, April 24, 2023 at 4:22 p.m.

    I'm Torn on this one:
    Clearly, Jesse has "Something" ... Players seem to Like Playing for him.
    I think his Style of Coaching Suits the Starting XI that we would "Pencil" IN for 2026.
    His Behaviour on the Sidelines during his Last Couple of Games at Leeds was Alarming.
    Very Quirky.... Like he Couldn't Handle the Pressure.
    Seemed to me that the BOD at Leeds "Over-Reacted" out of Fear of his Sanity.
    Certainly the Results there have NOT Improved with the Coaching Changes.
    (and Now they are BORING TO WATCH; No Gracias to Coach Gracia.!!!)

    With Vermes Out, Hugo Perez would be my #1 Choice; but the Appointment of a "Brit" makes that even LESS Likely.
    I am Leaning towards; 1.Curtain, 2.Cherundolo, 3.Marsch
    As for Foreign Coaches; (Which I have Stated Previously,,, NOT for a World Cup in USA)
    (I don't want to see My National Team Coach, NOT be Able to put his Hand Over his Heart and  Sing the National Anthem at a World Cup being Staged in My own Country.!!!) 
    1.Lowe, 2.Klopp, 3.Mourinho 

  6. frank schoon replied, April 25, 2023 at 9:56 a.m.

    It is scary to think that Jesse Marsch would coach the USMNT...what a waste of soccer development for our guys for they won't learn a thing from this guy....

    The only coach Leeds could find that would coach Leeds after Bielsa was fired would have been a Jessy Marsch type to fit Leeds style of no brains, Turbo and fight, no sophistication of play, doesn't require much integral thinking of the game. Look at McKennie, he's come down in level of since playing for Leeds...

    Any self-respecting coach that would take Leeds  has to realize the cross roads he's facing. Continue to play this type of garbage or invest in real 'footballers' improving the game, an effort that will take a long run perspective. But at least  you can build on from that but not from the current situation of how Leeds play..

  7. Andrew Megas, April 24, 2023 at 10:35 a.m.

    Sometimes the acorn is found closest to the tree...
    Marsch turned down the Southampton offer from our new sporting director.
    So will we go forward with another Gegenpress type for USMNT? IMO, Mourinho time.

  8. Santiago 1314 replied, April 24, 2023 at 3:44 p.m.

    Not a bad idea... Mourinho, is More of a "Bus Builder" Counter-Attacker.
    Might suit us better.??? if we are going to go the "Tactical" Coach Route.

  9. Stephen Brookfield, April 24, 2023 at 11:22 a.m.

    I sincerely hope I'm wrong about this...but, as a Brit myself who became American 30 years ago, appointing the director of football of the club at the BOTTOM of the EFL & destined for relegation does NOT inspire confidence as being the best decision as to who is helping to guide the USMNT to 2026. We really need to move away from the Brit dominated thinking rampant across the US soccer scene and look for someone familiar with 'pickup' game culture in the immigrant & non-European communities across the country. On the other hand, Crocker won't have to help in negotiating Concacaf qualifying, so I can see an argument that someone who knows European and world football will be helpful.

  10. Santiago 1314 replied, April 24, 2023 at 3:54 p.m.

    I agree with you...
    It's a Strange Appointment.
    Matt Crocker seems like a "Overall" Director;
    In Charge of Player Development/Administration, for ALL 20+ US National Teams
    ... He does seem to have a Good CV for that.
    What Influence will he "Actually" have in the "Style" and Tactics of the Senior USXXT and USXYT.???
    Hopefully NONE, Hire a Coach,... Let them Coach...
    FIRE them EARLY and QUICKLY if the Results aren't Happening.

  11. Ric Fonseca replied, April 25, 2023 at 8:02 p.m.

    ... and to top things off, he appears to know next to little or nothing about the "developmetnal processes " of US Soccer!  So what he gonna do, set up anothe decade in the procedural process in the way the US Soccer wanna-be knowledgeable honchos?  

  12. humble 1, April 24, 2023 at 11:49 a.m.

    Given that the position is responsible for mens and womens - which I am not in alligment with - they significantly limit their field of candidates in quantity and this is where I am not in allignment - and quality. Given their billet, a look at Mr. Croker's background shows, he is one that has the qualifications.  For me, the country of origen is not a factor, even the language, a top candidate, can pick it up, this is about football background.  The finish of the season at South Hampton - we know that story well - Ernie Stewart had to finish his term at Philly, then GB had to finish his term at Columbus.  Yes, the men are qualified already, still, shows a lack of appreciation for the urgency of the matters facing USSF.    

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, April 24, 2023 at 12:33 p.m.

    He writes a good resume. Yes he has experience in this kind of management position in the UK. That, however, only explains why he was considered, not whether he is a good candidate. Notably missing is any indication that he can improve the performance of our USWNT and USMNT. Notably missing is any indication of his view of the senior game, of the players necessary to succeed at that game, and of how to identify and develop elite players.

    He is an outsider coming into a very insular organization. Two more things are clear. He has no knowledge of soccer in the US and of USSF. Hope he likes living in Chicago.

  14. Bob Ashpole replied, April 24, 2023 at 12:40 p.m.

    Just a reminder: we may be looking at hosting back to back world cup finals--mens in 2026 and womens in 2027. This is a critical point to implement changes. In fact reforms should have already been planned and implemented. We are already late, as usual.

  15. John Soares, April 24, 2023 at 12:52 p.m.

    Don't really see an upside here.
    Of all the great Soccer programs in the world.
    Is England the best example USA wants to follow?
    Nothing against the individual.... don't really know him,   BUT.   US Soccer couldn't find an individual that knows Soccer AND the American market, mentality, environment, needs....
    As has already been said.... haven't we been down this road before!?

  16. Santiago 1314 replied, April 24, 2023 at 4:01 p.m.

    Have we ever "Actually" had a Brit "In-Charge" at USSF.???
    I don't remember one.???
    I have Long "Dispised" the British Influence on Coaching in the USA, Especially in the Youth Level.
    It has Taken us A LONG time to get over that...
    So, Hopefully MC will be a "Southhampton" type of Brit, that Developes Players that are "Counter-Culture"
    As a "Seller Club" I am Not TOO Worried about Southampton getting Relegated.
    It's a Cyclical thing for them.

  17. Bob Ashpole replied, April 24, 2023 at 11:12 p.m.

    You made me curious Santi, so I checked. Back 50 years ago a Scot was president. I was surprised there wasn't more Brits involved.

  18. Kinsley Nyce, April 24, 2023 at 1:03 p.m.

    Mentioned In Email Release........ "Those allegations (against Greg) emerged in the wake of Berhalter's treatment of Borussia Dortmund's Gio Reyna at the World Cup". 

    Better stated were it to have been both factually and fairly stated, but was not: 

    Allegations that were raised by the parents of Gio Reyna who emerged the allegations solely in retribution for the US coach having determinined  that one of his players was not sufficiently committed to the personal & team efforts that were required to permit the Coach to grant Reyna as much game time as he and the parents wanted.  

    The mess is managerially created and continues to infect. 

    The USSF has lost bearing responsibility for the self and internally created positions that have now become serious obstacls to our programs.   


  19. Santiago 1314 replied, April 24, 2023 at 4:31 p.m.

    Humm.??? Syntax is Hard to Follow,,,
    But, If I catch the Gist of what you are Saying...
    Coach is at Fault for "Airing the Teams Dirty Laundry, Out of the Locker Room".!!!
    That is the Fact, of how the "Internal Matter" became Public, Causing Reyna Parents to React; "Parentely" for their "Grown" Man-Child.

  20. James Madison, April 24, 2023 at 2:19 p.m.

    Having been a "success" as sporting director of a club that likely is doomed to relegation, Crocker is a likely choice to lead the USMNT where?

  21. Santiago 1314 replied, April 24, 2023 at 4:38 p.m.

    He is NOT Going to Lead the USXYT;
    He is Going to Lead ALL USSF National Teams; u14 thru Senior Teams
    Both XX and XY... (Who knows, maybe a yet to be Formed XYt team)
    He is NOT going to have time to "Deal" with the USXYT on a "Influential" Level.
    That will probably be the Job of the "General Manager" of the USXYT.
    I think that Appointment will be VERY TELLING.!!!

  22. John Soares, April 24, 2023 at 5:35 p.m.

    Reading all the comments.... mostly negative, some not relevant ... or non sense!?
    Still looking  for positives... ?
    WHY!   (this particular choice)
    What/how will this particular individual enhance/improve/grow soccer in the USA.

  23. frank schoon, April 25, 2023 at 10:25 a.m.

    Crocker is going to lead all the USNTs...TO WHAT??? Like Ernie Stewart...what has he done or contribute other than pad his resume for his next job, or what has Cindy Parlow Cone done for our game? The only improvement I've seen at the USSF is on the Administrative side is more 'gender equality' on committees and new committees...WOW!!! 

    ...We have to realize they will have do nothing to improve our game, our numbing style of soccer.. 
    If we're going to ever improve our soccer is not to bring in some Brit but someone who has played at the highest level and KNOWS AND CAN READ THE GAME, who can criticize these coaches or can give a few tips ,added details of making their teams play better which is done by bringing in high level expertise to watch over these coaches of these teams.

    Winning these stupid tournaments by our younger age groups is meaningless for it is all about how they play and how they win in relation to their development...We have reached a glass ceiling as far as our player development goes. We need new input and that means bringing high-level expertise to begin to educate to improve the lackluster coaching,  and to improve our development in new ways...Currently we're on the same road and nothing has changed. Oh, I see, this Brit ,according to Rob Woollard, is credited with producing Gareth Bale, Luke Shaw, WOW!!! ,where are the other Gareth Bales, Luke Shaws who was benched at ManUtd for a while.  

  24. humble 1 replied, April 25, 2023 at 12:03 p.m.

    Sky is not falling.  5 years ago USSF was run by people that never played soccer and this position did not even exist.  5 years before that 10% Chuck Blazer was still a soccer power broker from his office and home in the Trump Tower.  We've come a long way in a short time.  We actually have bigger fish to fry.  We need (1) more and better youth coaches, (2) more and better youth referees and we need (3) to remove barriers to small community youth clubs set by the so called youth organizations running the largest and most expensive youth soccer platform platform in the world.  I don't care who does it - but they surely need a soccer background.  I say give Mr. Crocker have the job.  His qualifications are equal to or better than the prior holder of the position - so I don't see where the critics are coming from.      

  25. Bob Ashpole replied, April 26, 2023 at 1:51 a.m.

    Humble 1, What I see is people wondering why he was selected. There is no transparency here.

    I would sum up soccer in this country as a culture war. Latino vs British. This is a great over simplification, but I have seen this over the last 50 years. IMO the best teams were the hybrid teams that combined Latin short passing with the more direct play of the "British" style. It makes for a very unpredictable and versatile attack.

    Pay to play does not teach a technical style of play. They select the oldest kids and promote a physical style of play exploiting their temporary physical advantages.

    So leaving ethnicity out of it, we have a physical style vs a technical style. The problem is that in development if we don't teach a technical style, those players will never be able to recover from that decision. All those kids will eventually mature and anyone can get match fit in 6 months. That is easy. But you can't teach teens to master the ball in 6 months. So concentrating on ball skills first is the only rational approach. There are at least 2 other reasons to develop ball skills first but we don't need to discuss them. 

    What we get is pay to play wanting to develop winning teams so they cut short the time spent on fundamentals and jump ahead to teaching a style of play intended to win youth matches. No thought is given to developing future players for the senior game.

    What an unnecessary wasted opportunity. Nothing has changed in 50 years.

  26. frank schoon replied, April 26, 2023 at 10:04 a.m.

    Bob, lets face it, I like to know or rather who were the ones responsible for this choice. I don't care who is  picked, whether it be South American or European, all I want is someone that knows the game and  has a  great soccer backround. I can understand Ric's frustration ,for it seems like were going  back to lowest common denominator again. We couldn't get someone from South America .... it had to be someone from England.  It seems like those in control at USSF aren't creative enogh to think out of the box

  27. Ric Fonseca, April 25, 2023 at 7:54 p.m.

    Hoooo booooy!!!  Holy moly mackaroly, yet 'nuther Brit to supervise or is it, "run" the United States of Northamerica futbol-soccer scene!!!  And yet, after reading a Mike Woitalla article on this fella, MW asked him what he knows of the US Latino talent?  Aaaand, to my not so utter dismay, his reply was "nada" zilch, but he's willing to learn right away!  I've one preguntita (question) and that is what was the bunch at US soccer drinking or smokin when tey selected this caballero ingles (English gent)???
    Jesse Marsch incoming....  ye gads!  


  28. frank schoon replied, April 26, 2023 at 9:57 a.m.

    Ric, are you OK?  I can't figure this out either....another Brit!!!  WHOSE BRILLIANT IDEA WAS TO PICK HIM ? 

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