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“It’s Not an Insult…It’s a Compliment”: USMNT Boss Gregg Berhalter on MLS Players Leaving for Europe

Published Feb 22, 2024 | 1:17 PM EST

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Alphonso Davies, Tyler Adams, and Miguel Almiron exemplify a cadre of players who have successfully transitioned from Major League Soccer (MLS) to European Leagues. Many believe this trend of young talents leaving the MLS to play overseas negatively impacts the league’s popularity. However, Gregg Berhalter, the head coach of the USMNT, holds a contrasting view and sees it as a positive compliment to the league.

The MLS has undergone significant expansion in recent years, as numerous esteemed European stars have opted for participation in the American League. The noteworthy pull of Inter Miami over recent months epitomizes this trend. And Berhalter’s optimistic outlook regarding future growth within US soccer.

Gregg Berhalter sees MLS as a ‘selling league’ like the others

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The 50-year-old recently participated in a thought-provoking discussion on the Alexi Lalas podcast. Here, he underscored the pivotal role that MLS has played in bolstering US soccer. According to him, “MLS has grown tremendously over these last 25 years, and I think that when a player plays in MLS, particularly young player, and then goes to Europe, it’s not an insult to the league.” The manager elaborated further, “I think it’s a compliment to the league.” 

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Also, to support his viewpoint, Gregg Berhalter added, “A compliment to what this league is able to develop. Almost every league in the world is a selling league. So it’s common for players to move on and go to different levels.” His analysis was rounded off with an assertive conclusion: “And I think that MLS is instrumental in helping a lot of our players get a good start.”

There exists no denial concerning the progressive trajectory of the MLS. While the league has its sights set on matching strides with Europe’s top 5 leagues, its growth phase remains dynamic. However, the league is actively seizing expansion opportunities, particularly Inter Miami, which has already set its sights on signing two more top stars, Luka Modric and Neymar.

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MLS can receive a further boost with two top European superstars

MLS has already experienced a significant increase in viewership following Lionel Messi‘s arrival at Inter Miami. Subsequently, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, and Luis Suarez also joined. Yet it appears that the Herons recruitment strategy remains far from complete. Reports suggest that Inter Miami is keen on acquiring Luka Modric, whose contract with Real Madrid ends in the summer.

Read More: “For Gio, It’s No Different”- Gregg Berhalter Discuss ‘Out of Favor’ Giovanni Reyna’s Copa America Chances

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Indeed, reinforcing this trend further was some recent communication between Messi and Neymar. La Pulga reportedly reached the Brazilian winger, urging him to consider joining Inter Miami. While Gregg Berhalter believes that MLS excels in providing players with a solid foundation, it appears that a new trend is emerging, with several experienced players potentially entering the league.

Read More: Inter Miami Boss Talks About Lionel Messi & Luis Suarez’s Rekindled FC Barcelona ‘Rythym’ After MLS Opener Win

Written by:

Saransh Chauhan

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Saransh Chauhan is a Senior Soccer Writer at EssentiallySports. From dissecting the latest developments in soccer leagues to delving into off-court and entertainment topics, Saransh has cemented his reputation as a true all-rounder. His coverage leans towards players with exceptional dribbling skills and playmaking abilities; Ozil, Xavi, Iniesta, and Neymar for example.
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Edited by:

Jacob Gijy