Pulisic pushes for quick appointment of US coach, says Reyna Row ‘childish’
Frustrated American winger Christian Pulisic wants US Soccer to speed up the appointment of a new national team coach, calling the row over team-mate Gio Reyna and World Cup coach Gregg Berhalter “childish”.
Berhalter’s contract has expired and the team is currently being led by interim coach Anthony Hudson, with a new coaching appointment possibly in six months.
The public spat between the coach and the Reyna family was followed by the resignations of sporting director Earnie Stewart and national team general manager Brian McBride.
US Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone said the organization doesn’t expect to appoint a new coach before “the end of summer,” but Pulisic doesn’t understand the delay.
“I think we should just wait and wait? I don’t think it’s necessary because we’re not in a phase like after not qualifying (for the 2018 World Cup) where we needed a complete rebuild,” Chelsea winger Pulisic told ESPN.
“We don’t need a bunch of new people coming in. I think we have a strong core – people saw that and we need to move on from that. It’s a difficult question for me because we should continue this as soon as we can and we’re building on this World Cup, which I think has had a lot of positive sides. We want to get started on that as soon as possible.”
Berhalter, who was leading the US team to the World Cup Round of 16 in Qatar, was gripped by a bitter feud with Reyna and his family.
The manager, who had publicly criticized Reyna’s attitude in Qatar, had to deal with allegations of an incident in 1991 when he kicked his then-girlfriend and future wife in an incident outside a bar.
It later emerged that US Soccer had been informed of the incident by Reyna’s father, former international Claudio, and his mother Daniela, who were also unhappy with their son’s lack of playing time.
While the federation investigated the incident, which Berhalter admitted, the manager’s contract expired, although he remains a possible candidate for reinstatement.
Pulisic expressed his condolences to the coach.
“First of all, everything that happened with Gregg was handled in an extremely childish way. I think we saw what was going on,” he said.
“I think it’s childish, it’s youth football, people complain about the playing time. I don’t want to go into too much detail but I think Gregg was extremely unfortunate to get into the position he is in now.”
Pulisic is part of the 24-man squad for the CONCACAF Nations League games in Grenada on March 24 and at home in El Salvador three days later.