Earnie Stewart Departs U.S. Soccer Federation and Returns to Netherlands to Join PSV EindhovenBrian McBride Moves on from General Manager Position After Three Years; U.S. Soccer Has Started Search for Next Sporting Director and Strategic Review of Sporting Department
CHICAGO – (Jan. 26, 2023) – U.S. Soccer Federation Sporting Director Earnie Stewart is departing the organization and will return to the Netherlands to join legendary Eredivisie club PSV Eindhoven. Stewart will remain with U.S. Soccer until Feb. 15 to ensure a smooth transition as U.S. Soccer continues its search for its next Sporting Director.
Separately, U.S. Men’s National Team General Manager Brian McBride has also decided to move on after serving in the role for the past three years, effective Jan. 31. Before the 2022 FIFA World Cup, McBride informed U.S. Soccer of his decision.
Following the 2022 FIFA World Cup, U.S. Soccer initiated a top-down review of the Men’s National Team program, including the sporting structure and the roles and responsibilities of the staff. That process expanded to include a holistic review of U.S. Soccer’s entire sporting department in order to establish the operational roadmap and strategy that will guide U.S. Soccer as it looks ahead to competing in the 2023 Women’s World Cup, the 2024 Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in 2026.
U.S. Soccer has retained Sportsology Group to head the search for the organization’s next Sporting Director. Working with key U.S. Soccer leadership, Sportsology has also already begun a full review of U.S. Soccer’s sporting department. The group will also analyze head coach candidates to accelerate the Sporting Director’s hiring process.
During the search for a new Sporting Director, all sporting staff will report to U.S. Soccer CEO JT Batson. Once the Sporting Director is hired, that individual will oversee the process of hiring the new USMNT head coach. In the interim, Anthony Hudson will serve as the USMNT head coach until a permanent head coach is named.
“While we are sad to see Earnie go, he has helped lay a strong foundation and build a strong sporting staff to ensure that the future of U.S. Soccer is bright,” said U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone. “Today, we have a unique opportunity to bring in a new Sporting Director to build on this momentum. We are eager to engage new leaders who will match our ambitions and realize our vision for the future, taking our National Teams to the next level, including competing for a FIFA World Cup on home soil in 2026.
“Earnie has had an immense impact on our sporting department and on soccer in this country during the last several years and dating back to his playing days for the National Team, and we are incredibly grateful for his leadership in helping develop the next generation of players in the United States.”
“When the opportunity arose to return to the Netherlands to pursue an exciting and challenging role that was near my family, I could not turn it down,” said Stewart. “I am extremely proud of what our sporting department has accomplished over the past four years to advance the next generation of players and increase participation in the sport across the country. This is a pivotal time for the sport in the United States and I have full confidence in the leadership of U.S. Soccer heading into 2026 and beyond. It has been an honor to represent the U.S. Soccer Federation again in this capacity and I look forward to continuing to support U.S. Soccer in my next chapter and in the future.”
During his tenure as Sporting Director, Stewart helped elevate U.S. Soccer to new heights. Under Stewart’s leadership, the USMNT returned to the global stage with a successful showing at the 2022 FIFA World Cup and won two continental championships in the inaugural 2021 Concacaf Nations League and 2021 Gold Cup, all with one of the youngest player pools in program history. The USWNT maintained its place as the No. 1 team in the FIFA World Rankings while taking home Concacaf Olympic Qualifying and Concacaf W Championship titles and winning the bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The decisions of Stewart and McBride were made independently of each other and were not impacted by U.S. Soccer’s process for naming the next USMNT head coach or the ongoing investigation.
During his three years as General Manager, McBride worked closely with the USMNT staff to help build the culture within the team, oversee the development and management of the player pool and forge and foster important relationships both internationally and domestically. He was essential in courting dual nationals and working closely with our high performance and medical staff. He was also involved in the hiring of Youth National Team coaches.
“Brian was an integral part of the Federation and our team’s success in qualifying for the World Cup and competing with the best in the world in Qatar, while also helping us continue to develop and progress our full men’s program in all areas,” said Parlow Cone. “The decision was made before the World Cup, and we wish him all the best as he embarks on his next endeavor. Brian will always be part of our family and continue to be connected to U.S. Soccer.”
“First and foremost, I’m proud of accomplishing our goal of getting the USMNT back to the FIFA World Cup while also winning the Gold Cup and Nations League,” said McBride. “I’d like to thank the players and staff on the senior team as well as our Youth National Teams for their hard work to help us reach our goals, as well as Cindy Parlow Cone, JT Batson and Earnie Stewart for allowing me the opportunity to help lead the program. After careful consideration, this decision was made prior to the 2022 World Cup, but we collectively felt that any potential disruption to the team’s focus would have been a detriment at the time. I’m looking forward to the opportunities ahead.”
During the last several years, U.S. Soccer has taken numerous steps to position the Federation for success, including signing new collective bargaining agreements with the Men’s and Women’s National Teams, inking new media rights deals, bringing commercial rights in-house, making significant progress on issues of participant safety and moving past longstanding litigation. Building off these positive developments, U.S. Soccer is focused on further developing its sporting department and growing soccer at all levels across the country. U.S. Soccer’s next sporting director will be critical to those efforts as the Federation builds for the future.
The U.S. Men’s National Team kicked off the 2026 cycle with a match against Serbia yesterday at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles and will face Colombia on Saturday, Jan. 28 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. The two matches will be the first in the four-year run up to hosting the world’s biggest sporting event – the 2026 FIFA World Cup – alongside Canada and Mexico.
Question and Answer
Who is leading the search for a new sporting director?
U.S. Soccer has retained Sportsology Group to consult on the search for the organization’s next Sporting Director. Working with key U.S. Soccer leadership, Sportsology has also already begun a full review of U.S. Soccer’s sporting department.
What is Sportsology Group and what will they do?
Sportsology Group specializes in providing premium knowledge, insight, strategic advisory and operational support to franchise owners, global leagues and federations. Sportsology will work together with U.S. Soccer leadership to take a holistic look at U.S. Soccer’s entire sporting department. The goal is to make sure U.S. Soccer’s sporting department is well-positioned to realize its vision for the future and support its ambitions during this pivotal time for the sport in the United States.
Who is overseeing the Sporting Department without a Sporting Director?
Earnie Stewart will be staying on until Feb. 15 to ensure a smooth transition. After that time, the sporting leadership team will report directly to U.S. Soccer CEO JT Batson. Those individuals include:
- Kate Markgraf, USWNT General Manager
- Barry Pauwels, Senior Director of Technical Development
- Elaine Lemos, Director of Sporting Operations
- Tom King, Managing Director of Administration
- Rick Cost, Director of High Performance
- Dan Russell, Senior Director of Sport Development
- Dr. George Chiampas, Chief Medical Officer
- Frank Wijbenga, Director of Sporting Analytics
- Tony Lepore, Senior Director of Talent Identification
- Jim Moorhouse, Senior Director of Extended National Teams Operations
Who is handling the search for the next USMNT head coach?
The next U.S. Men’s National Team head coach will be hired by the new Sporting Director. While the process to select the next Sporting Director remains underway, U.S. Soccer will work with Sportsology to continue to move the head coach search along by analyzing the market of head coaching candidates so the new Sporting Director isn’t starting from scratch, and the process can be accelerated once that person is on board.
Who will be the interim USMNT head coach?
Anthony Hudson will continue to serve as the interim USMNT Head Coach until a new head coach is named.
What is the timeline for hiring a Sporting Director and then a USMNT head coach?
The search for the Sporting Director will take place first, but U.S. Soccer is running concurrent reviews of both the Sporting Department and the Men’s National Team program to help accelerate the selection of the next USMNT head coach. This holistic review of the sporting department is already in progress. Once it’s been determined what the department will look like moving forward and the qualifications that will be required to lead it, U.S. Soccer will determine the appropriate pool of candidates for the next Sporting Director.
The search for the next USMNT head coach started prior to this announcement, but the next USMNT head coach will be hired by the new Sporting Director.
While the process to select the next sporting director remains underway, U.S. Soccer will work with Sportsology to continue to move the head coach search along by analyzing the market of head coaching candidates so the new sporting director isn’t starting from scratch, and the process can be accelerated once that person is on board.