Earnie Stewart has emerged as the favorite for the general manager position with the United States Soccer Federation, sources tell Metro.
Currently the sporting director with the MLS' Philadelphia Union, Stewart is a former United States international who played a pivotal role with three World Cup teams, including the group’s epic run to the quarterfinals in 2002. After spending time in Holland as an executive following his retirement from a successful playing career in Europe and MLS, Stewart now appears to be on the cusp of landing a new position with the USSF.
The source, speaking to Metro on the condition of anonymity, said that Stewart is believed to be the frontrunner and is in negotiations for the position following an impressive showing during the interview process.
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Before joining the Union in what is his current role, Stewart was technical director at NAC Breda. Now entering his second full season in Philadelphia, he has embraced the integration of the team’s academy system into the first team, playing a number of young players. He’s also had several shrewd, under-the-radar signings from Europe to help keep the Union competitive in an increasingly high-spending Eastern Conference.
The Union is coming off an impressive 4-1 win over Real Salt Lake this past weekend at Talen Energy Stadium, its second-straight win.
The club, when asked for a comment, told Metro that “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.”
The USSF declined to comment.
Several strong candidates have entered into the ring for the GM position with the USSF, a brand new title created following the failure of the men’s national team to qualify for the upcoming World Cup in Russia. Stewart was joined in interviewing for the position by names such as fellow United States international Claudio Reyna, currently sporting director for New York City FC.
In addition, former MLS player and executive Ali Curtis and former MLS head coach Curt Onalfo have all reportedly been interviewed for the job.
Whoever lands the position will be called upon to name the successor for interim head coach Dave Sarachan with the national team.
As a former international with the United States, Stewart certainly has the clout of 101 appearances with the national team to take into this role. He also has a unique blend of experience both as a player and an executive in Europe and MLS.