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USMNT

USMNT’s Gregg Berhalter on MLS players making the switch to Europe too early

The coach of the United States men’s national team believes that some recent transfers from MLS came too early and it affects the level of the team.

Update:
USA's head coach Gregg Berhalter gestures during their Concacaf Nations League football match against El Salvador at the Cuscatlan Stadium, in San Salvador, on June 14, 2022. (Photo by MARVIN RECINOS / AFP)
MARVIN RECINOSAFP

The United States men’s national team didn’t have much problems in qualifying to the 2022 FIFA World Cup after failing to do so four years ago. The USMNT has a ‘golden generation’ because the majority of players that are called up come from Europe’s top tier.

Players like Gio Reyna, Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie, amongst others, had breakout seasons with their respective clubs. The majority of the players in Europe have helped the USMNT to become a better team prior to making the trip to Qatar in November.

MLS players going to Europe too early

While those players mentioned before are shining in their clubs, the coach of the United States, Gregg Berhalter, is not too happy with those that are making the switch to Europe too early and lacking minutes because it affects the performance of the team.

“I think it’s important to note that some recent transfers from MLS came too early. Think about Bryan Reynolds, who went to Roma. Or George Bello, there’s an argument to be made that he could have stayed in MLS and dominated the league and then moved. So there’s a number of guys who I’m concerned are leaving too early,” said Berhalter during the Gab and Juls Meets podcast.

MLS is an opportunity for young players to be on the field. And that’s valuable. And when they’re dominant, when MLS is no longer a challenge, then they can move on. It’s no different than Europe. If you’re in France and you’re killing the French league, you move to the Premier League. It’s normal, like a food chain, right?” added Berhalter.

Berhalter on Ricardo Pepi

The former FC Dallas striker left MLS during the winter transfer window to sign with Augsburg for a league-record $20 million transfer fee. Unfortunately, things haven’t worked out as expected for the 19-year-old because he made 11 appearances, seven of them as a substitute, and failed to score. The last time Pepi scored a goal was in October of last year for club and country.

“When he moved, I told him Augsburg is a stable club and that stability is going to help; it’s not like Bayern Munich, where there’s a ton of pressure. But now, he’s there and he either plays or doesn’t play, because the reserve option isn’t so strong in Germany, they’re like in the fourth division. So that’s an issue there, because he needs to look at how he’s going to keep developing if he’s not on the pitch every day,” said Berhalter.

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