Former U.S. men’s national team and English Premier League striker Brian McBride has been hired as the new general manager of the USMNT, U.S. Soccer announced on Friday.
McBride replaces Earnie Stewart, who left the role in August after just one year on the job when he was named the federation’s sporting director, overseeing both the men’s and world champion women’s national teams. The post has been vacant since then.
McBride, who played in three World Cups and scored 30 goals for the U.S., will report to Stewart, his former teammate on the 1998 and 2002 World Cup squads. He will also be reunited with USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter, with whom he played at the 2002 and 2006 events.
“We are thrilled to have Brian McBride assume the role,” Stewart said in a statement. “Through his impressive career as a three-time World Cup veteran and at clubs in England, Germany and the United States, he has earned the respect of his peers around the world. The hard-earned reputation will allow him to forge important relationships both internationally and here at home, and his understanding of the game and what it takes to succeed at the highest levels will be invaluable to our player pool and our staff.”
U.S. Soccer said that McBride was chosen from among 20 domestic and foreign candidates. Stewart and USWNT GM Kate Markgraf “conducted interviews with multiple candidates” before settling on McBride, who has no formal management experience within professional or international soccer but holds a USSF “B” coaching license and a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Saint Louis University, where he starred on the field.
Last month, Stewart told Yahoo Sports’ Henry Bushnell that the next men’s GM would have different responsibilities than he did, as the youth setup on the boys/men’s side would fall under the new hire’s purview.
In its release announcing the news, the federation said that McBride will “oversee the development and management of the player pool and guide the culture within the men’s national team environment, manage relationships with clubs and represent the USMNT on the global stage.”
The well-liked Chicago area native, 47, began his decorated 17-year professional playing career in 1994 with now-defunct lower division club Milwaukee Rampage. He then moved to German side Wolfsburg before returning for the launch of Major League Soccer in 1996. McBride was the first player taken, by the Columbus Crew, in the inaugural MLS draft. He went on to net 62 goals over eight seasons in Columbus.
After scoring twice in five games at the 2002 World Cup in South Korea, the Crew loaned McBride to Premier League side Everton, where he scored four times in eight EPL appearances during the second half 2002-03 season. He was permanently transferred to Prem side Fulham in January 2004, making more than 150 appearances for the Cottagers and establishing himself as a club favorite before returning to MLS with his hometown Chicago Fire in 2008. A bar inside Craven Cottage, Fulham’s home stadium, still bears his name.
“I am incredibly honored to once again represent the national team,” said, McBride, who has dabbled in television work since his retirement. “It’s critically important for everyone to understand the privilege and pride that goes with wearing the jersey, and I’m excited about the opportunity to build relationships with players and clubs that align with the philosophy and values of U.S. Soccer. In this position, part of my job is to work alongside Gregg and his staff in fostering a growth mentality for the USMNT and to help Earnie ensure that this mindset is present in all of our youth national teams. I look forward to working with Earnie and Kate to continue the progress we have made in the last two decades.”
McBride remains the fifth-leading scorer for the USMNT, behind co-leaders Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan, as well as Jozy Altidore and Eric Wynalda.
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