USA’s Scally: Players were ‘overthinking’ under Berhalter

U.S. men’s national team defender Joe Scally has said that players were “overthinking things” on the field under former coach Gregg Berhalter and that he wants the next coach to simplify the tactics.

Berhlater’s contract with U.S. Soccer expired at the end of 2022 following a World Cup round-of-16 exit to the Netherlands in December. The USMNT remains under the charge of interim coach Anthony Hudson while the search continues for a successor.

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Speaking to Futbol Americas on ESPN+, Scally, who was part of Berhalter’s squad in Qatar but did not play a single minute at the tournament, was asked what he would like to see in the next coach.

“I think a coach that definitely understands we’re not a club team,” the Borussia Monchengladbach player said. “We need to just understand simple tactics, simple system that we can all apply that brings out the best in all the players. Not something to where it’s too complicated and you’re overthinking on the field.

“Beause you see videos of other teams — a national team brings the joy out of the game. You’re playing for your country, you’re just there and that extra fight knowing you have the crest on your chest should bring out everything you need in the game, not confusing tactics and all this.”

Asked if that was part of what took place under Berhlater, Scally responded: “I think Gregg definitely brought his ideas. I think his ideas were good, we definitely played well in the World Cup.

“But I think, yeah, as a player when you’re on the field and you’re overthinking things it leads to silly mistakes and silly things where you’re not yourself and you can’t express yourself. I think that was one of the things that didn’t work out.”

Other U.S. players have offered more positive assessments of Berhalter’s time as coach, including Christian Pulisic. The Chelsea forward told ESPN in March that Berhlater “did a good job of showing the team and helping everyone understand ‘look, this is how we’re gonna play in a short period of time.'”

He added that “the strides that we’ve taken in recent years with him in charge, have been evident. I think it’s quite clear.”

Following the World Cup, Berhalter was investigated by U.S. Soccer over three-decade-old domestic violence incident involving Berhalter and the woman who later became his wife. The incident was relayed to the USSF by the parents of USMNT star Giovanni Reyna after a dispute over the Borussia Dortmund player’s lack of playing time at the World Cup.

Following the investigation, which was completed back in March, USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone said that Berhalter remains eligible to be re-hired as coach.

Scally and Reyna, both 20, came up through New York City FC‘s academy at the same time and Scally said he stands by him.

“Gio’s one of my best friends and so I’m always going to stand behind him. He’s my friend, I’m never going to go against my friend. We’re all a team, everything was worked out within the team.”