CHICAGO (Jan. 16, 2019) – U.S. Soccer announced the newest appointments to the U.S. Men’s National Team technical staff, fulfilling the goals of finding coaches who bring a wealth and variety of experience both domestically and abroad.
Former U.S. international Josh Wolff joins as an assistant coach, B.J. Callaghan as Strategy Analyst and Assistant Coach, Steve Tashjian as Head Performance Expert and Darcy Norman as Movement and Conditioning Coach.
Wolff and Tashjian previously worked under MNT head coach Gregg Berhalter in the same roles with Columbus Crew SC. Callaghan joins the MNT staff after serving as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Union, while Norman most recently worked as the Performance Data Analyst and Fitness Rehab Coach with the German Men’s National Team.
“In putting together the staff, we looked for coaches with considerable backgrounds in four different areas: World Cups, Concacaf, MLS and Europe,” Berhalter said. “This group checks those boxes, and we are confident their wealth of experiences will be beneficial to the players and for the development of our program.”
“From the outset, we searched for coaches that have complimentary skillsets and varied career paths,” U.S. MNT general manager Earnie Stewart added. “Starting with Gregg and with these additions to the staff, we have assembled a strong group that can now begin to implement the culture, style of play and identity we envision for the National Team moving forward.”
In addition, Nico Estevez, who worked closely with Berhalter at Columbus Crew SC, will join the MNT staff as an assistant coach pending approval of his U.S. work permit. A native of Spain, he holds a UEFA Pro License and has more than 15 years of experience coaching at the highest professional levels in Spain and the United States, including stints at Columbus and La Liga’s Valencia.
Oregon State University Men’s head coach Terry Boss is currently serving as goalkeeper coach for Berhalter during the January Camp.
Josh Wolff – Assistant Coach
A teammate of Berhalter’s with the U.S. Men’s National Team and German club 1860 Munich, Wolff returns to the MNT after working seven seasons as an assistant coach in Major League Soccer the past five of which came under Berhalter at Columbus Crew SC. There, Wolff helped the club to an appearance in the 2015 MLS Cup Final and playoff berths in four out of five seasons. Prior to joining Columbus, Wolff served as an assistant coach from 2012-2013 with D.C. United. He is a holder of U.S. Soccer’s “PRO” and “A” coaching licenses.
The Stone Mountain, Ga., product scored nine goals in 52 caps for the MNT from 1999-2008, an international career which saw the striker take part in the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups, help the USA to the 2002 and 2005 Concacaf Gold Cup and a fourth-place finish at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. During 15-year professional career, Wolff featured for Chicago Fire, Kansas City Wizards and D.C. United, as well as German side 1860 Munich. During that time, Wolff won three trophies with Chicago – the 1998 MLS Cup and 1998 and 2000 U.S. Open Cups – as well as the 2004 U.S. Open Cup title with Kansas City.
B.J. Callaghan – Strategy Analyst / Assistant Coach
Callaghan comes to the U.S. Men’s National Team after spending the last seven years with the Philadelphia Union. For the past five seasons, Callaghan worked as an assistant coach under Jim Curtin, focusing on team defending, opponent analysis, set-piece design, player development and scouting. During this time, he helped the Union to appearances in the 2014, 2015 and 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Finals as well as postseason berths in 2016 and 2018. Prior to his involvement with the first team, he spent the previous two years working with the Philadelphia Union/YSC Academy.
Callaghan spent six years with Villanova University, rising to the level of Associate Head Coach and previously held many coaching positions with Philadelphia-area clubs FC Delco, Montgomery Soccer Club and the EPYSA/Region I ODP program. He holds the U.S. Soccer “PRO” and “A” coaching licenses.
Steve Tashjian – Head Performance Expert
Steve Tashjian joins the U.S. Men’s National Team staff after spending the past five years with Columbus Crew SC, where he worked alongside Gregg Berhalter as the club’s High Performance Director. A licensed physical therapist and respected performance specialist, Tashjian is renowned for being the lone American in the same role in the English Premier League for half a decade. With Columbus, Tashjian was tasked with continuing to develop data driven performance platforms in the areas of health and wellness, sports medicine, sport science, strength and conditioning and recovery.
Tashjian joined Crew SC from English Premier League side Everton, where he served for five years as the Head of Sports Science and Conditioning and Director of End Stage Rehabilitation. During his time at Everton, Tashjian became well known for his innovative approach to player monitoring and performance development.
From 2007 to 2009, Tashjian served as Assistant Coach and Head of Fitness, Director of End Stage Rehabilitation and Reconditioning with Columbus. He was a part of the late Sigi Schmid’s staff that led the Black & Gold to the 2008 MLS Cup, and was a part of back-to-back Supporters’ Shield wins in 2008 and 2009. As an Assistant Coach, Head of Fitness and later a consultant for Azusa Pacific University from 2006-2008, he helped the university to a 2007 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship as well as runner-up honors with the women in 2007 and the men in 2006.
Darcy Norman – Movement & Conditioning Coach
Darcy Norman brings 20 years of experience in the human performance industry to the U.S. Men’s National Team. For the past 10 years, his work has primarily focused on creating and implementing methodologies, applied data and building strategic relations, as well as managing medical, rehab, fitness, nutrition, psychology and sport science staff at the highest level. Norman’s soccer-specific experience includes time as Performance Data Analyst and Fitness Rehab Coach with the German Men’s National Team from 2012-2018, helping Die Mannschaft to the 2014 FIFA World Cup title and third-place finish at Euro 2016. From 2015-2018, Norman also worked as the Director of Performance with Italian club AS Roma, helping the side to a semifinal appearance in 2017-18 UEFA Champions League. Prior to those positions, he worked as the Strength Coach and Rehab Specialist for Bayern Munich, helping the German club to the 2009-10 Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal Championship and the Final of that season’s UEFA Champions League.
A licensed therapist and certified strength and conditioning specialist, Norman also served as the Director of Performance Innovation at EXOS and as a Physical Therapist and Performance Coach at Athletes’ Performance.Read more
When U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter unveiled his January Camp roster last month, he outlined the three pillars that would form the foundation of this first camp: building a team culture, instilling a style of play and competing in everything.
That last piece has manifested itself in daily training competitions during the month-long camp in Chula Vista, Calif. At the beginning of every session, Berhalter and his staff lay out the plan and point out which exercise will count for “competition points”.
Those exercises – chosen with the purpose of the players continuing to learn a new style of play - have ranged from 8v8 full-field matches, possession games and finishing drills, among others. Players are divided up differently every session and those on the winning team during the exercise gain points in the overall camp standings.
- READ: New Beginning, Same Opportunity for MNT Players in January Camp
- READ: Team Culture a Pillar for New Foundation of MNT
“We want an element of training every single day where you can win,” Berhalter explained to ussoccer.com. “We divide the teams up and let them compete for victory on that given day. It’s a balance between having the tactical objectives of the training session but also letting them compete.”
A month-long camp that features multiple two-a-days is understandably tiring for players. While being a part of the National Team is incentive enough, the prevailing sentiment among the group is that the competition adds a little bit more motivation throughout the month.
“It keeps things a little more interesting and makes us want to compete and win more,” said MNT defender Reggie Cannon. “It’s more fun and enjoyable and I think that’s something that’s going to help not only with Gregg’s style of play, but training in general. We’re getting after it and training is more lively.”
On January 9, reigning MLS Defender of the Year Aaron Long was on the winning team for the “three-gate” exercise, which tasked teams with connecting 15 passes to gain a point, or eight before passing through one of three gates set up on the field to score a goal.
“Points are being posted on the board every day. You want to be on the top of that board to prove it to yourself and to your teammates that you’re the player they want to play with,” Long said. “When teams get made every session, you want to be the guy who others want on their side.”
Updated standings get set around to the team every night, allowing players to keep track. While the ultimate purpose of the camp is to build the team for matches at the end of the month and going forward, Cannon thinks the competition component plays hand-in-hand with instilling the new style of play.
“Gregg’s style is one where you’re really playing – getting guys touches on the ball and pinging it around,” Cannon said. “The way it’s setting up, the competition aspect is going to help guys be more composed on the ball and give us more confidence when it comes to game situations.”
“It sets a certain mentality in that everything we do -- that there’s a result at the end of it,” Berhalter added. “We want to have a clear identity on the field and we want to have a great culture amongst the team, but in the end ultimately we need to compete. Getting that mindset right early is important.”Read more
Ten Coaches from MLS, USL and U.S. National Teams Set to Begin Fourth U.S. Soccer Pro License Course
CHICAGO (Jan. 14, 2019) – Ten coaches working across Major League Soccer, the United Soccer League Championship and U.S. Soccer kick off the fourth U.S. Soccer Pro License Course this week at the National Development Center in Kansas City, Kansas. The first meeting begins a year-long journey for the 10 candidates towards earning the highest soccer license recognized in North America. The Pro License completes the U.S. Soccer coaching education pathway that begins at the grassroots level.
2019 Pro Course Participants
- Dave van den Bergh – (U.S. Under-19 Men’s National Team head coach)
- Simon Elliott – (Head coach, Sacramento Republic FC, USL Championship)
- Cameron Knowles – (Head coach, Portland Timbers 2, USL Championship)
- Mike Petke (Head coach, Real Salt Lake, MLS)
- Ante Razov – (Assistant coach, Los Angeles Football Club, MLS)
- Martin Rennie – (Head coach, Indy Eleven, USL Championship)
- Giovanni Savarese – (Head coach, Portland Timbers, MLS)
- Marcelo Serrano (Head coach, Austin Bold FC, USL Championship)
- Nolan Sheldon – (Assistant coach, D.C. United, MLS)
- Mark Watson – (Assistant coach, Minnesota United, MLS)
This year marks the fourth edition of the Pro License course, designed for coaches to further develop the skills and competencies necessary to work as a professional coach in a professional environment. Based on their individual needs, each candidate will go through a tailored program designed to bolster their efforts to create a winning culture/team, develop a style of play, implement sport science initiatives at their clubs, reflect on their growth as a coach and serve as leaders in their organizations.
The course combines theoretical and practical components to help coaches reach their full potential. A year-long journey, it features in-person instruction, visits by coach educators to candidates’ home club environments, expert guest speakers, webinars and a final assessment. U.S. Soccer coach educator Wim Van Zwam and U.S. Soccer Director of Coach Education Barry Pauwels will serve as instructors for the course.
All applicants for the Pro License course must hold a U.S. Soccer A License and currently coach with an MLS, NWSL, USL or U.S. National Team. Five of this year’s candidates come from MLS, four from the USL Championship and one from the U.S. National Teams: U-19 MNT head coach Dave van den Bergh.
The current class of 10 candidates will seek to join the 42 coaches who have earned the Pro License over the first three editions of the course. Last month, 12 coaches completed the 2018 Pro License course in Chicago.
- READ: Seventeen Coaches from U.S. National Teams and Professional Leagues Complete Second U.S. Soccer Pro Course
- READ: U.S. Soccer Completes First Pro License Course
The 2019 Pro License course begins with a week-long meeting at the National Development Center from Jan. 14-18. In the following months, U.S. Soccer coach educators will visit each candidate in his home club environment to observe how they begin to apply the course’s theoretical components as they coach games, lead training sessions and analyze performance. All 10 candidates will gather again in Kansas City in June for the second meeting, followed by another visit to each candidates’ home environment before the final course meeting in November in Chicago.
Meetings will also include visits from guest speakers that are experts in coaching, leadership, teaching and more. At the course’s first meeting this week, the candidates will hear from Arne Barez (former Budnesliga player, UEFA Pro License), James Bunce (U.S. Soccer Director of High Performance), Yannick Ferrara (former manager, Belgian First Division A), Wade Gilbert (Professor of Kinesiology, Fresno State University), Doug Lemov (managing director, Uncommon Schools), Gautam Mukunda (Professor, Harvard University Kennedy School) and James O’Connor (head coach, Orlando City SC) as well as presenters from U.S. Soccer’s analytics department.
The formal meetings and individual visits will be complemented by individual assignments and research, self-reflection as well as a series of webinars. The curriculum is customized to each candidate to best fit the course to their specific needs.
U.S. Soccer stands as the only organization able to license coaches domestically under FIFA standards. The Pro License seeks to raise the minimum standard for an individual seeking to become a professional coach in MLS, the NWSL or USL. U.S. Soccer strives to develop world class players, coaches and referees.Read more
New Partnership Between U.S. Soccer and Volkswagen Is Major Step in Continuing to Drive the Game Forward
Today marks a momentous day in the history of the U.S. Soccer Federation on the road to fulfilling its mission of making soccer the preeminent sport in the United States.
The announcement at the Detroit Auto Show that Volkswagen and U.S. Soccer have agreed to a unique multi-year presenting partnership – the iconic Volkswagen logo will be seen on the front of every training jersey worn by all the Senior National Teams, Youth National Teams and Extended National Teams – gives the Federation new platforms to continue to weave soccer deeply into the American culture.
Several key aspects of accomplishing these lofty goals are partnering with organizations that can reach a wide range of Americans while providing the financial resources to institute programs that continue to push the game forward.
A significant part of the new resources afforded to U.S. Soccer by Volkswagen will go towards helping to educate coaches, especially female coaches, at various levels of the coaching certification process. With more programs and more resources, U.S. Soccer can accelerate implementation and impact more people who can make positive contributions to the overall development of the game.
In addition, the promotional partnerships and dealer network that Volkswagen brings will allow U.S. Soccer to expand its overall reach and continue to be a driver for the sport, increasing the ability to assist in the development of players, coaches, referees and administrators, as more and more fans become engaged in the world’s sport. Reaching more devoted fans and stirring the passion of new ones while growing the game together are all important aspects of what this partnership will help provide.
Volkswagen will be one of the most active – and visible – partners U.S. Soccer has ever had, increasing the ability to reach the grassroots customer directly while fostering excitement of what’s to come for soccer in the USA.
“We are extremely excited to work together with Volkswagen to help us continue to grow soccer in the United States,” said U.S. Soccer CEO and Secretary General Dan Flynn. “Volkswagen will be one of the most active and visible partners U.S. Soccer has ever had, providing us with additional resources for more programs that can impact and help develop the sport, while also allowing us to reach more fans of the game across the country. We look forward to the next four years together as we drive towards our mission of becoming the preeminent sport in the United States.”
The Volkswagen logo appearing on the front of the training jerseys provides a unique asset that will be especially conspicuous over the next few years with the U.S. Women embarking on the 10-game “Countdown to the Cup” before participating in the World Cup this summer and then attempting to qualify for the Olympics in 2020. The U.S. Men will be racing towards another Concacaf Gold Cup crown in June before entering its first Concacaf Nations League competition in the fall, and then of course, there will be the quest to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.
The historic eight-figure deal, the largest for U.S. Soccer aside from its partnership with Nike, will also feature Volkswagen becoming the title sponsor for the Tournament of Nations, the elite four-team summer tournament for the U.S. Women’s National Team that will return in 2021 and 2022.
The journey of soccer in the United States has been a long one, but with the new presenting partnership with Volkswagen, U.S. Soccer is now better equipped to shift into high gear on a road to soccer preeminence that just became smoother and certainly more fun to navigate.Read more