A Breakdown of the Rigorous Process in the Search for the USMNT Head Coach

U.S. Soccer Crest
U.S. Soccer Crest

When the U.S. Soccer Federation hired Matt Crocker after years of service with English Football Association and Southampton in the English Premier League, he entered the soccer landscape in the United States with a fresh pair of eyes and a rigorous set of criteria for his primary responsibility at the outset of his tenure: identifying the best coach to lead the U.S. Men’s National Team.

As he set out to conduct a global search for candidates, he deployed a multifaceted evaluation mechanism divided into three categories:

Within these categories, he utilized advanced data analytics, sophisticated metrics, and cutting-edge hiring methods to profile and rank each candidate. During the course of several weeks, candidates were evaluated through all of these filters and went through a battery of practical and psychological testing. In the end, after a multitude of domestic and international coaches were considered, the choice, in the end, was clear and convincing.

“Historically in football, appointments have been made purely off gut feel by one single individual,” said Crocker. “What we’re able to do through this data collection process was identify the coaches that fit the style of play and direction that we want to go in as a team. We were then able to have a number of conversations to gauge interest and then sit down with those candidates and outline specifically the role and responsibilities and whether it fits that person as a coach.

"We ran a really robust assessment against a set of competencies that we felt were vital to the success of the team and the leadership of the team. By going through that process, it meant that when we sat down with the candidate I had confidence and faith that not only do I have a good gut feel, but I also had an evidence-based approach in place.”

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