Gregg Berhalter’s Former Coach: Steffen’s World Cup Exclusion Was a ‘Good Call’

Ahead of the World Cup, Rick Jacobs discussed USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter’s decision to leave goalkeeper Zack Steffen off his squad.

Matt Simeone
November 17, 2022

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Ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, SiriusXM FC host Glenn Crooks sat down with Rick Jacobs to discuss U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter’s decision to leave Middlesbrough goalkeeper Zack Steffen off his squad.

Jacobs, who coached Berhalter in high school, thinks Berhalter excluded Steffen from the roster due to his emphasis on “team unity” and made the correct decision. Watch the video here:

Related: 2022 World Cup on SiriusXM — Don’t Miss a Match

Berhalter and Steffen have a history together. Berhalter coached Steffen on the Columbus Crew SC, before calling on him to join the USMNT after being named head coach in 2018.

Steffen made 6 appearances in 2018 and then 11 more in 2019 becoming Berhalter’s top choice in goal.

It remained that way through 2022 World Cup qualifying. Steffen started the last three Concacaf qualifiers which included a clean sheet at Estadio Azteca against Mexico.

It was then perplexing that Steffen was left off the squad that is currently in Qatar preparing for their World Cup opener against Wales.

Berhalter offered a nebulous explanation, but Rick Jacobs said he understood.

Steffen has struggled in recent matches for Middlesbrough and Jacobs – Berhalter’s high school coach at St. Benedicts Prep in Newark, NJ – deduced that his former sweeper back made the difficult decision based on team culture from a recent episode of “The Coaching Academy.”

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