Lalas: U.S. Soccer In A "Dark And Depressed" Place

Gregg Berhalter needs to make fans believe in U.S. Soccer again, Alexi Lalas says

The DA Show
December 07, 2018 - 12:56 pm

USA Today Images

Categories: 

The U.S. men’s national soccer team named Gregg Berhalter its new head coach, and while Alexi Lalas is fine with the end result, he had issues with the hiring process.

Mainly with how long it took.

“Time,” Lalas said on The DA Show. “There’s a lot of folks that have other problems with the process. I think for me – and I think the majority – believe that the time is the biggest problem. And look, you can talk to the United States Soccer Federation and they will give you valid points as to why it took so long. But we were given this strange . . . gift of time – something that national teams normally don’t have.”

Jurgen Klinsmann was fired last November after the U.S. failed to qualify for the World Cup. Thus, it took more than a year to find Klinsmann’s replacement.

“We had that incredible failure in the fall of 2017, when the men’s team failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia,” Lalas said. “We were given almost a year to kind of reassess and reboot and get a head start to make sure that it never happens again. And what did we do? We did well, basically, we did nothing. That, I think, is where a lot of the consternation comes from.”

Still, Lalas believes that Berhalter, who played for the national team from 1994 to 2006, is a solid hire.

“Agree or disagree (with the process), it ended up with Gregg Berhalter, who is eminently capable of coaching this team,” Lalas said. “He’s not a sexy name. He’s not a sexy hire. In that sense, he’s the anti-Jurgen Klinsmann. Maybe he’s not the person that a lot of people wanted, but maybe he’s the person that we need right now.”

Berhalter, 45, coached the Columbus Crew from 2013-18. He helped the U.S. to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup – its best finish since 1930.

“We need somebody to come in and bring this program back to the status that we need it to be and make people believe again,” Lalas said. “I have never been in a moment in U.S. Soccer where we are more dark and depressed and negative about our national team, and it’s seeping over into how we feel about soccer. That’s not a good place to be. Hopefully Gregg Berhalter can get the results. It’s the same in any sport – you got to get those results – and make us believe again that we are heading in the right direction.”