Report: Union's Earnie Stewart 'in negotiations' to become national team GM

Union sporting director Earnie Stewart is the “frontrunner” and “likely favorite” to be hired as the U.S. men’s soccer team’s general manager, according to New York’s Metro newspaper.

Metro reported Stewart “is in negotiations for the position following an impressive showing during the interview process.” That interview was conducted in March, a fact that the Union confirmed in early April.

The Union gave this statement to the Inquirer and Daily News, the Metro and other outlets: “Since Earnie’s first interview with U.S. Soccer, we have respected their process, and as such, we will decline further comment until a final decision has been made.”

Coincidentally, the news comes while the U.S. national team is in Philadelphia, ahead of Monday’s game against Bolivia at Talen Energy Stadium.

Stewart has led the Union’s soccer operations since January 2016. Before coming here, he held top player personnel jobs with Dutch clubs NAC Breda and AZ Alkmaar. As a player, he earned over 100 caps for the U.S. national team and played in the 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cups.

The U.S. Soccer Federation announced plans to hire a GM for the men’s national team (and another for the women’s national team) after the men failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. New U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro affirmed his commitment to those hires when he was elected to the role in February.

One source said the list of candidates has been narrowed down, and U.S. Soccer hopes to have a decision finalized before the World Cup. Whoever gets the job will first be tasked with hiring a full-time head coach for the national team. Dave Sarachan has been the interim head coach since Bruce Arena resigned after the World Cup qualifying disaster.

The GM will ultimately report to U.S. Soccer chief executive officer Dan Flynn. He is part of a committee working on the GM hire. It also includes administrative coordinator Ryan Mooney (officially, his title is “Chief Soccer Officer); director of sporting development programs Nico Romeijn; chief commercial officer Jay Berhalter; and former national team players Carlos Bocanegra and Angela Hucles.

Bocanegra and Hucles both also serve on U.S. Soccer’s board of directors as representatives of its its athletes’ council, and Bocanegra is technical director of Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United.