Gregg Berhalter and Groupthink on USMNT Twitter

It is no secret that the overwhelming majority of USMNT fans are displeased with Gregg Berhalter as manager. From roster choices, to match day tactics, there are certainly a plethora of things that Berhalter gets slandered about daily online. While criticism is okay, and even encouraged, all of the daily slander has had me thinking over the past few days. What if we are wrong about Gregg?

Groupthink is defined as “the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility.” The more Berhalter slander I see online, the more I think that we as fans of the National Team are succumbing to it.

Let’s think about it this way, you see a tweet blow up, that is absolutely hammering Berhalter. Because of the engagement of the tweet, one would likely come to the conclusion that the tweeter is correct in their opinion.

This leads to others following suit. For two reasons:
1: They want their own tweets to blow up, so they recycle others opinions lambasting Berhalter as a coach.

2: They genuinely believe the original opinion, and think Berhalter is a terrible coach.

Daily, I see this man labeled as: inept, incompetent, and foolish. Is that criticism? No. It’s bullying.

I’m not writing this to say that Gregg is the best coach in the world, but he’s far from a bad coach.

Eryk Williamson on Scuffed Podcast

The quote above from Portland Timbers player Eryk Williamson speaking on the Scuffed Podcast. This quote has been floating around USMNT twitter, and guess what the response to it has been?

Exactly. ‘Berhalter has no idea what he’s doing!’ ‘The system is too complex!’

In my opinion, Berhalter creating a complex system is a great thing. It puts responsibility on players to continue learning and growing as players and individuals. Pressing and counter pressing is inherently more difficult than sitting back in a low block and defending a 1-0 lead, or holding out for a draw.

Berhalter’s big idea is to change the way the world views American Soccer. That mean’s evolving play style to look like one of the best team’s in the world. If y’all want to be a defensive counter attacking team, fine. But for me personally, evolving to be the pressing, ball dominant team is how we move forward. Gregg is asking a lot of his players because he trusts and believes in their abilities. Is that not a comforting thought?

Again, there is still plenty of room for criticism towards Berhalter.

I don’t always love his lineups, and I don’t always love his roster selections. But he’s the coach, not any of us. It’s his job, not ours.

So, let’s give criticism when it’s due, but let’s be smart enough to be respectable of the man who led our National team to its most successful calendar year ever last year. 17 wins, two trophies, and in line to qualify for the World Cup. Yes there is still work to do in that regard, and there were games in qualifying in which we dropped points, but that is the nature of the beautiful game.

Italy missed the last World Cup, and they went on to win Euros last summer. It happens.

I’ve been to two USA qualifying games in the past 5 months, and I was absolutely blown away by the quality of our squad. Maybe, just maybe our manager has something to do with that.

Published by Footy Foster

26 years young. Located in San Diego. I coach high school soccer, sell solar panels, podcast, and blog. My interest and hobbies include listening to music - hip-hop, alternative, and classic rock, - playing and watching soccer, and skiing. I aspire to travel and live a truly free life. These will more often than not be the subject matter of my blogs, as well as an attempt at humor. We'll see about that last part. Enjoy.

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