(Reuters) - The U.S. Soccer Federation on Wednesday appointed Earnie Stewart as the first general manager of the U.S. Men’s National Team, charged with helping to rebuild the side after their stunning failure to qualify for this year’s World Cup.
First up for the 49-year-old Stewart, who played in three World Cups for the U.S., will be hiring a coach to replace Bruce Arena, who resigned in October following a 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago that kept the U.S. out of the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
“Having played for the U.S. Men’s National Team, I’m honored by the opportunity to return to help lead this rebuilding phase,” Stewart said.
“We have a tremendous amount of young talent and passion in the U.S., and I’m ready to jump in, hire a new head coach and build a culture of success with the ultimate goal of the U.S. Men’s National Team becoming a world champion.”
He told reporters he had a wide list of potential candidates for the coaching position including people from the U.S. and overseas.
Stewart is especially looking forward to developing the next generation of U.S. talent.
“It’s underestimated what kind of talent we have in the United States,” he said.
“Seeing the player pool that we have with the U.S. Men’s National Team and these young, eager talents that are coming through, I can’t wait to get started.”
Stewart will assume the position in August and will be based in Chicago.
Reporting by Rory Carroll, editing by Ed Osmond