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US Soccer CCO Berhalter to leave federation

Jay Berhalter (Credit: MLSsoccer.com)

Long-standing United States Soccer Federation senior executive Jay Berhalter has announced, in a surprise move, that he is leaving the governing body at the end of the month.

Berhalter, US Soccer’s chief commercial and strategy officer, had long been viewed as the natural successor to replace Dan Flynn as the organization’s chief executive.

But the appointment of his younger brother, Gregg Berhalter, as US men’s national team head coach in December 2018 raised concerns over a potential conflict of interest. The elder Berhalter also came under fire last year after a number of US Soccer employees posted a series of anonymous scathing reviews about the federation, which blamed him and Flynn for creating a “toxic” work culture.

It was reported earlier this week that Berhalter was going to be overlooked for US Soccer chief executive a role that has been left vacant since Flynn retired in September. US Soccer must now find a new CCO as well as a CEO.

“Jay has played an invaluable role in the growth of our federation and the evolution of the game in our country,” said US Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro. “His deep understanding of all the technical, commercial, and business aspects of the sport will have a lasting impact on the game across America.”

Berhalter worked for US Soccer for nearly 15 years in two spells, initially as chief operating officer. In his second stint as CCO, he oversaw the highly successful and highly profitable 2016 Copa America Centenario and also helped support the National Women’s Soccer League.

“Having been involved in the sport since the 1994 World Cup and the start of Major League Soccer, working towards the mission of making soccer the preeminent sport in the US has been a fantastic opportunity throughout my career,” Berhalter said in a statement. “I am fortunate to have worked with so many passionate teammates and proud of what we have been able to accomplish together at all levels of the game. My decision to leave US Soccer was not an easy one to make, but it’s the right one for my family and me at this time. Looking to the future, it is exciting to imagine the opportunities that lie ahead.”