World Cup vet Josh Wolff will be Berhalter's top assistant with USMNT - sources

Yahoo Sports
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/soccer/teams/columbus-crew/" data-ylk="slk:Columbus Crew">Columbus Crew</a> assistant coach Josh Wolff will become Gregg Berhalter’s deputy with the United States men’s national team. (Fred Kfoury III/Getty)
Columbus Crew assistant coach Josh Wolff will become Gregg Berhalter’s deputy with the United States men’s national team. (Fred Kfoury III/Getty)

Former United States World Cup striker Josh Wolff will be named as new U.S. national team head coach Gregg Berhalter’s top assistant, multiple sources told Yahoo Sports.

A formal announcement is expected in the coming days. Wolff, 41, spent the last five seasons working under Berhalter with the Columbus Crew in MLS. Last October, he served as a guest assistant for interim U.S. boss Dave Sarachan for a pair of friendly matches against Colombia and Peru.

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Wolff made 52 international appearances as a player during a 15-year pro career. He was Berhalter’s teammate on the 2002 and 2006 World Cup squads, helping the Americans reach the quarterfinals of the former. Berhalter and Wolff also spent two years playing together at German club 1860 Munich, where Berhalter served as captain. Prior to arriving in Columbus, Wolff was an assistant coach at D.C. United from 2012-13.

Wolff, shown here battling Mexican great Rafa Marquez, played for the the U.S. at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups. (Michael Stahlschmidt/Getty)
Wolff, shown here battling Mexican great Rafa Marquez, played for the the U.S. at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups. (Michael Stahlschmidt/Getty)

One source indicated that in addition to his deputy role with the senior team, Wolff is also in contention to coach the U.S. under-23 squad that later this year will attempt to qualify  for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Wolff starred on the American side that finished fourth at the 2000 Games in Sydney. The U.S. men have not reached the Olympics since 2008.

Wolff isn’t the only one of Berhalter’s former Crew colleagues to follow him from Columbus to U.S. Soccer’s headquarters in Chicago. Late last month, federation president Carlos Cordeiro announced that Asher Mendelsohn, who had been the club’s former director of soccer operations, would replace Ryan Mooney as the USSF’s chief soccer officer, an administrative role. Mooney recently left U.S. Soccer to work for the Philadelphia Union’s majority owner.

Another source indicated that in addition to Wolff, fellow Crew assistant coach Nico Estevez will also join Berhalter’s technical staff with the USMNT. The 38-year-old Spaniard, who holds a UEFA pro license — the top qualification for coaches in Europe — previously worked with the Crew’s academy. Before that, Estevez spent eight years in various roles with Spanish La Liga club Valencia, including a spell as its caretaker manager in 2004.

It’s unclear whether or not Crew goalkeeper coach Pat Onstad, a former Canadian international, will fill a similar position with the USMNT.

Berhalter recently told reporters that in addition to making full-time hires, he would also rotate guest assistants into his staff, at least initially. “We want to take our time, evaluate and add as we see fit,” he said in a Dec. 20 conference call.

The first training camp under Berhalter, who took over as U.S. national team boss last month — more than a year after the Americans failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia — begins next week in Chula Vista, California. His debut match is a Jan. 27 exhibition against Panama in Glendale, Arizona.

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