U.S. Soccer's Gregg Berhalter on Rebuilding Trust in the Wake of Controversy 2022

January 18, 2023



Gregg Berhalter coached the U.S. men’s soccer team in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, where they achieved a memorable victory over Iran before losing to the Netherlands. Berhalter, who was a professional soccer player himself for 17 years, has coached in Europe and the U.S., and for the past four years, he’s been the head coach of the U.S. national team.

In the past couple of weeks, he’s been under another kind of spotlight. Berhalter’s decision to limit the playing time of one of his young players prompted the player’s parents to threaten to expose an incident from more than three decades ago in which Berhalter got into a physical fight with his girlfriend at the time, who later become his wife. Berhalter and his wife issued a statement in which he expressed his regret for his action at the time and his cooperation with a U.S. Soccer investigation into the matter.

Berhalter sat down with HBR editor in chief Adi Ignatius for our video series “The New World of Work.” In addition to the controversy, he discussed:
• Leadership lessons he’s learned through coaching teams of highly competitive individuals who may not be used to working together and who are vying for limited starting positions.
• How players can stay focused amidst the noise and distractions that come with playing sports at such a high level. (It starts by not looking for validation on social media.)
• The differences between talent and character—and how to capitalize on both.

This interview part of a series called “The New World of Work,” which explores how top-tier executives see the future and how their companies are trying to set themselves up for success. Each week, Adi will interview a leader on LinkedIn Live — and then share an inside look at those conversations and solicit questions for future discussions in a newsletter just for HBR subscribers. If you’re a subscriber, you can sign up for the newsletter here: https://hbr.org/my-library/preferences?movetile=newworldofwork.

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10 Comments
  1. That's true that this set of USMT isn't scared for huge stage at all and that's why USMT gona be a huge threat to good teams in 2026 world cup

  2. Gregg pressure so high right now cause he wana win so bad with this group..

  3. Mmmmmm gregg, now all eyes on u all over the world. Pls do everything u can to make this team better and bring them together to win 2026 world cup period

  4. Reply
    Coach Cameron Soccer Podcast January 18, 2023 at 2:36 pm

    Can we ask a question we are all wanting to know…How hard did you kick her? Was it a toe poke? Laces? Running start? Have you ever kicked a dog? These are the questions I want.

  5. I'll be happy to see Gregg come back, and not just to see heads explode on soccer twitter (but that will be an entertaining bonus).

  6. Harvard knows nothing about ball

  7. Couldn't have come at a better time

  8. geesh, didn't even bother to listen to the video as its trying to prove Beerholder is a leader when he is obviously not

  9. No one cares about this lame ass dooch of a coach.

  10. The moron told his best player, you are not going to play much before the first game. That’s poor man management. Not to mention how he setup the team against the Netherlands. The US team needs a better and more experienced coach.

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