US Major League Soccer

Berhalter appointed United States head coach

Columbus Crew boss Gregg Berhalter has taken the reins as the United States' permanent head coach, leaving the MLS club after five years.

Gregg Berhalter has been appointed as the United States' new head coach after months of speculation.

USA had been without a permanent boss since October 2017 when Bruce Arena quit after failing to guide the team to the 2018 World Cup, the States missing the finals for the first time since 1986.

Dave Sarachan had taken charge of a series of friendlies in the meantime as US Soccer delayed making a decision on an appointment, with his contract up at the end of the year following friendly defeats to England and Italy last month.

And Berhalter has belatedly been confirmed as the new man, as expected, leaving Columbus Crew in MLS after five years.

He becomes the first USA coach to have represented the country as a player at a World Cup, collecting 44 caps as he played a prominent role at the 2002 finals in Japan and South Korea.

"This is a tremendous honour," said Berhalter. "Having played for the national team, I know what it means to represent our country.

"I believe in our players and our programme and, together, we will work to build something special and develop a team that will make our supporters proud."

US Soccer announced that the appointment was ratified by unanimous vote at a meeting on Saturday.

Berhalter has long been tipped for the role, having reached the MLS Cup final in 2015, where the Crew were beaten by the Portland Timbers.

Columbus' form faltered in 2018 as talk of Berhalter's impending departure grew, but the team recovered to upset DC United in the play-offs and reach the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Crew chairman Anthony Precourt said on Sunday: "On behalf of the club, I want to congratulate Gregg and thank him for his visionary leadership and commitment to establishing Columbus Crew SC as a consistently high-performing, playoff-calibre team."

Precourt drew criticism for his public attempts to move the Crew from Columbus to Austin during Berhalter's time at the club.