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USMNT interim boss B.J. Callaghan: Gregg Berhalter and I are always talking, but Gold Cup squad is separate

Gregg Berhalter USMNT 2022Getty Images
  • Berhalter and Callaghan constantly in communication
  • Returning USMNT boss away from Gold Cup squad
  • U.S. to face Jamaica on Saturday

WHAT HAPPENED? Berhalter recently returned as USMNT boss, as U.S. Soccer's six-month coaching search landed right back on the man that led them through the 2022 cycle. He won't truly begin until after the Gold Cup, though, as Berhalter is set to work with new sporting director Matt Crocker to develop a plan leading up to the World Cup in 2026.

Until then, Callaghan will remain in charge of the USMNT, having already led the U.S. to a Nations League title during his first two games in charge. Callaghan, who was an assistant under Berhalter for years, says he remains in constant contact with the incoming head coach, but Berhalter isn't meddling in any Gold Cup decisions as the team is solely under Callaghan's leadership.

WHAT THEY SAID: "Him and I do speak, in general," Callaghan said. "We spoke often when he wasn't named the coach. He's a friend. He's a mentor. He's someone that I worked with for over four and a half years, so I think it's just natural to have conversations and to bounce ideas off of each other in regards, specifically, to the messaging and things that go on.

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"In the Gold Cup, though, it's completely within our camp. It's completely within our staff as he and Matt continue to build towards the future and evolve this national team and as we sort of continue to embark on the goals for 2026."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Callaghan says he views the Gold Cup as, essentially, two separate tournaments that the U.S. must play: a group stage and a knockout round. In order to earn the right to play in the knockouts, the U.S. must first take control of the group stage, which begins on Saturday.

For the players, the Gold Cup is very much a chance to impress both Callaghan and Berhalter as the 2026 cycle truly gets underway, and Callaghan can't imagine a better way to start it than with a summer double.

"The message to everybody on the roster is that this is an opportunity for us to continue to challenge ourselves," he said. "In a group play model and then earning the right to go to a knockout model, you'll see what a World Cup will look like. We're challenging each player to accept that opportunity and, for us, it continues to battle test and prepare a deep player pool as we continue to find moments to do that, as we continue to march towards this 2026 World Cup that we get to host in our home country."


Gregg Berhalter USMNT 2022Getty ImagesCallaghan USMNT 2023GettyUSMNT Nations League trophy lfitGetty

WHAT NEXT FOR USMNT? The U.S. will face Jamaica in their first group stage game on Saturday at Soldier Field in Chicago.

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