USA name Crocker as new sporting director ahead of women's World Cup

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USA name Crocker as new sporting director ahead of women's World Cup

The USA women's team is the world's number-one ranked side
The USA women's team is the world's number-one ranked sideReuters
US Soccer announced Matt Crocker as their new sporting director on Tuesday, tasking the former English Football Association head of development teams with supporting their Women's World Cup title defence.

Crocker, the director of football operations at Premier League side Southampton, will take the reins officially on August 2nd but will spend the weeks before supporting the women's national team in the leadup to the World Cup, which kicks off in Australia and New Zealand on July 20.

"Twelve of the last 13 years, the US women's national team has had an unbelievable record of being the number one team," Crocker told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday. "But that gap is getting closed all the time."

The United States are seeking an unprecedented third consecutive title and fifth overall.

"There's more professional leagues across Europe and the world now," said Crocker. "The players are fitter and stronger because they get to train every day in a professional environment... the chasing pack is, you know, is right on our heels."

His other primary objective will be identifying a new head coach for the men's national team, who reached the knockout stages of the World Cup in Qatar last year.

The team was embroiled in turmoil after the tournament when a bitter dispute broke out between former coach Gregg Berhalter, US midfielder Gio Reyna and his parents.

Berhalter's contract expired on December 31st but he is still in the frame to be rehired according to media reports.

"I guess what I see from the current team is an aggressive, a forward-thinking and a fearless team that went to the World Cup and did some great stuff," said Crocker, who declined to comment on individual candidates.

"I'm really, really keen to make sure that we produce a coach that can replicate and continue to drive forward some of those behaviours."

Crocker leaves Southampton after three years, where he led the club’s football operations across the men’s first team, academy programme and the girls' and women's programme. He exits the club with the senior men's side bottom of the English Premier League.

For the English FA, he oversaw the England youth teams from the under-15 to under-20 programmes.

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