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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Berhalter, a Vacancy, and Afghan Allegations

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A new USMNT coach, No new Pride coach, and alarming news about the Afghan Women’s National Team.

Afghan Women’s National Football Team Play A Match Against The ISAF Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty Images

Welcome back, Mane Landers! This off-season schedule of ours makes it seem like I hardly get to communicate with you folks. Yes, I know that I did Monday’s Lion Links, but it seems like longer for me. Regardless, here we are with the stuff I think is worth talking about in the world of soccer.

The Good

Since I’ve been harping on U.S. Soccer for taking their time to hire a new head coach for the USMNT, it would be impolite of me to not mention it once they did. As I’m sure you know, Gregg Berhalter is the new skipper for the men’s squad. Even if you don’t agree with the decision, it’s still a good thing that there’s someone in the position. There are also other positives with this hire, if you want to see them. Berhalter has head coach experience with Swedish club Hammarby IF, and in MLS with the Columbus Crew. He is a former USMNT player with World Cup experience, as well as playing time in some European leagues and MLS. He was greatly respected by the players on the Crew, and by the fan base in Columbus. Is he the right man for the job? Can he right the USS Yanks? I don’t know, but there could have been worse picks for the position.

The Bad

I evidently have coaches on my mind, because as soon as the USMNT finally gets a coach, I turn my attention to the Pride. Tom Sermanni was let go at the end of the NWSL season after leading the Pride for their first three seasons. That was mid-September for those that don’t remember, and that means we’re coming up on three months without a skipper. There are potentially major roster moves that need to be made for the Pride to right the ship, and there’s no one at the helm. With the news that Niki Budalic was fired and Luiz Muzzi may be hired soon as his replacement, there’s obviously more moves being made than just hiring the new Pride skipper. Regardless, the organization has a limited amount of time if the off-season is going to be a successful one. Here’s hoping it won’t be much longer.

The Ugly

There are allegations of sexual and physical abuse of players on the Afghan Women’s National Team. Both the Afghan government and FIFA are investigating the allegations involving male coaches and officials, including the head of the Afghan soccer federation. Danish sportswear company Hummel had been Afghan’s primary sponsor, but has withdrawn corporate support following the accusations. This type of thing is unfortunately all too common these days. Hopefully the allegations will be taken seriously, and if any are found to have committed such acts will face real and certain justice. That isn’t always the case nowadays, but one can hope.


That’s going to do it for today. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Go City!