Fox Sports’ Stu Holden reveals ‘doomsday’ summer scenario where Gregg Berhalter could be out as coach

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The 2026 World Cup is bound to be an exciting time for the United States, as it plays host along with Canada and Mexico, to the countries all vying to sit atop soccer’s global throne. 

For the United States, a strong performance as a host country would be ideal, but it is still two years away, which is why Fox Sports soccer analyst and former United States men’s national soccer team (USMNT) member Stu Holden believes this summer is a critical time for this group. 

That especially goes for head coach Gregg Berhalter. 

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Gregg Berhalter looks on pitch

Gregg Berhalter of the United States looks downfield before the Concacaf Nations League final match between Mexico and USMNT at AT&T Stadium on March 24, 2024 in Arlington, Texas. (Stephen Nadler/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

“I think this is a huge summer for Gregg Berhalter,” Holden told Fox News Digital while discussing why he loves wearing Lotto, Italy’s premier sports and lifestyle brand, even after his playing days have come to an end. 

The USMNT is set to not only play in the 2024 Summer Olympics, but perhaps more important, is their Copa America schedule before that. 

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“You’re going to have the Gold Cup in ’25, but this is going to be the biggest test this team will face ahead of the ’26 World Cup,” Holden explained. “Because you’re going to play Uruguay [in Copa America]. If the U.S. can make it out of the group stage, they’re going to probably get Brazil or Colombia in a quarterfinal. That’s awesome. 

“That game if they should get there, which they should. If they don’t, you and I are having a different conversation in a couple months about doomsday for the U.S. men’s program again.”

Berhalter has been in place as the USMNT head coach since 2018. His contract expired at the end of 2022, but as Holden pointed out, the team captains and new sporting director Matt Crocker showed their faith in Berhalter to continue leading the team through the 2026 World Cup. 

Former U.S. men's national team member Stu Holden looks into camera

Former U.S. men’s national team member and current Fox Sports analyst Stu Holden discusses the women’s national team ahead of the Olympics. (LOTTO)

“I think that Gregg has the trust of the team, which is a very important part of being a national team coach,” Holden said. “He gained that over a number of years, especially from his captions. And by all accounts, they were the ones who wanted to bring Gregg Berhalter back to the U.S. men’s national team. Matt Crocker, the new sporting director, he had every opportunity to say, ‘Hey, that page is closed. We’re done with that. Let’s start fresh. This is my start.’ He truly felt after all that that Gregg is the best man for the job.”

However, Holden believes that could change depending on the results of this summer.

“I’m starting to get into the camp of some doubt of whether he is the right guy for 2026,” Holden admitted. “Yet, in the real games he’d had to prove that again, they smash Mexico in the final of the Nations League. 

“I have confidence he can put this team in the best position to succeed in 2026, yet 2024 this Copa America becomes that really important litmus test that we’ll really have the best sense of if he can.”

Christian Pulisic celebrating

Christian Pulisic of the United States celebrates after scoring against Mexico during the first half of a Concacaf Nations League semifinal soccer match on Thursday, June 15, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Berhalter will be without one of his key players on the pitch, as Sergiño Dest won’t be available due to a torn ACL. Holden, who tore his ACL four times during his playing career, certainly feels for him there. However, he knows Berhalter will need to find another man to fill that spot and potentially work out different formations to get the best out of his squad. 

Berhalter still has a plethora of talent, including Tyler Adams, Christian Pulisic and Gio Reyna, among others, who are looking to cement their names in USMNT history. Holden pointed to how talented this generation of soccer players are, but they have yet to prove why many predicted they’d turn U.S. soccer around. 

The 2026 World Cup would certainly be the place to prove your worth, but Holden the foundation will be built this summer. 

Gregg Berhalter looks on pitch

Head coach of United States Gregg Berhalter looks on during Final – Concacaf Nations League match between Mexico and United States at AT&T Stadium on March 24, 2024 in Arlington, Texas. (Omar Vega/Getty Images)

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If not, questions about whether the team is going in the right direction will surface. 

“I’ve always said, talent is all great and well, and we can talk about how talented this generation is. But they’ve yet to achieve anything of note that no other generation has done in the past,” Holden said. 

The United States begins their Copa America group stage matches on June 23 against Bolivia. 

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