U.S. Soccer CCO Jay Berhalter to step down

The brother of U.S. men's national team coach Gregg Berhalter has spent nearly 15 years with the federation over two stints bit will be moving on

U.S. Soccer Chief Commercial and Strategy Officer Jay Berhalter is to step down from his role at the end of February.

Berhalter, brother of U.S. men's national team coach Gregg Berhalter, has been with U.S. Soccer for nearly 15 years as part of two separate stints.

"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 U.S. has been a fantastic opportunity throughout my career," said Berhalter. 

"I am fortunate to have worked with so many passionate team-mates and I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish together at all levels of the game.

"My decision to leave U.S. 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."

Berhalter originally joined U.S. Soccer as the federation's Chief Operating Officer and has been credited for turning around the USSF's financial status while playing a key role within the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup organizing committee.

After leaving the federation in 2009, Berhalter returned in 2014 as Chief Commercial Officer while also serving as CEO of the Copa America Centenario Local Organizing Committee, the most profitable event in U.S. Soccer history.

"Jay has played an invaluable role in the growth of our Federation and the evolution of the game in our country," said U.S. 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 appeared to be the frontrunner to replace CEO Dan Flynn, who announced last year that he would be leaving U.S. Soccer. However, Sports Illustrated reported last week that Berhalter would not be a candidate for the position, which remains open.

The report added that Berhalter did not receive backing in an anonymous survey of federation employees conducted by U.S. Soccer. That comes after the New York Times published alleged grievances from employees, past and present, in 2019 depicting the workplace at U.S. Soccer as "toxic", pointing the finger at Flynn and Berhalter.  

In addition to the reviews, Berhalter came under fire when U.S. Soccer hired his brother Gregg to take charge of the national team following a successful stint with the Columbus Crew. U.S. Soccer insisted that there was no nepotism involved with the hiring and that Jay Berhalter was not involved in the process that ended with his brother assuming the job.

U.S. Soccer is set to hold the federation's annual general meeting this week in Nashville.