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Pulisic urges speedy appointment of US coach, says Reyna row ‘childish’

Frustrated American winger Christian Pulisic wants US Soccer to speed up the appointment of a new national team coach and labelled the row that surrounded teammate Gio Reyna and World Cup coach Gregg Berhalter as “childish.”

Berhalter’s contract has run out and the team is currently being led by interim coach Anthony Hudson, with a new coach appointment possibly six months away.

The public row between the coach and the Reyna family was followed by the resignation of sporting director Earnie Stewart and national team general manager Brian McBride.

US Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone has said the organization is not expecting to appoint a new coach until “the end of the summer” but Pulisic doesn’t understand the delay.

“Do I feel like we should just wait and wait? I don’t think it’s necessary, because we are not in a phase like we were after not qualifying (for the 2018 World Cup) where we needed a complete rebuild,” Chelsea winger Pulisic told ESPN.

“We don’t need a bunch of new guys coming in. We have a strong core in my opinion—people have seen that and we need to carry on with that. It’s a tough one for me because we should continue that as soon as we can and build off this World Cup, which I think had a lot of positives in it. We want to get going with that as soon as we can.”

Berhalter, who guided the US team to the World Cup last 16 in Qatar, was engulfed by an acrimonious feud with Reyna and his family.

The coach, who had publicly criticized Reyna’s attitude in Qatar, was forced to confront allegations of an incident in 1991 when he kicked his then-girlfriend and future wife in an incident outside a bar.

It later emerged that US Soccer had been informed of the incident by Reyna’s father, former international Claudio, and his mother Daniela, who had also been unhappy with the lack of playing time for their son.

While the federation investigated the incident, which Berhalter admitted had taken place, the coach’s contract ran out, although he remains a possible candidate to be re-hired.

Pulisic expressed sympathy for the coach.

“Everything that happened with Gregg, first of all, has been handled in an extremely childish manner. I think we’ve seen what has been going on,” he said.

“I think it’s childish, it’s youth soccer, people complaining about playing time. I don’t want to go too far into that, but I think Gregg has been extremely unfortunate to get into the position he’s in now.”

Pulisic is part of the 24-man roster for CONCACAF Nations League games away to Grenada on March 24 and at home to El Salvador three days later.

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