Former defender Oguchi Onyewu was hired Wednesday by the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) as vice president of sporting, a newly created role the governing body said is not a replacement for departed men’s general manager Brian McBride.
The USSF said Onyewu will report to Matt Crocker, who starts as sporting director on Aug. 2, and will assist in the hiring of a men’s national team coach. Onyewu will work with men’s and women’s national teams at all levels and will help manage relationships with clubs and leagues.
Gregg Berhalter, whose contract expired Dec. 31, remains a candidate to stay on as men’s national team coach after a law firm hired by the USSF concluded he did not improperly withhold information of a 1992 domestic violence incident involving the woman who later became Berhalter’s wife. Anthony Hudson, one of Berhalter’s assistants, was hired as interim coach in January.
The USSF said Crocker will decide whether McBride’s position will be filled.
Onyewu, a 40-year-old from Olney, Maryland, had six goals in 69 appearances for the U.S. from 2004-14, starting three matches at the 2006 World Cup and two more in 2010. He was voted the USSF’s male player of the year in 2006.
Onyewu was elected to the USSF board of directors in 2021 and quit in the past week to take the staff position.
His club career spanned 2002-17 and included time with Standard Liege (2004-09) and limited appearances with Newcastle (2007), Sporting Lisbon (2011-13), Sheffield Wednesday (2014) and Charlton (2014-15). He last played with Philadelphia in 2017.
He transferred to AC Milan ahead of the 2009-10 season but played in just one match, 31 minutes against Zurich in the Champions League group stage on Sept. 30, 2009. He ruptured the patellar tendon in his left knee during a World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica that Oct. 14.
In November 2010, Onyewu made headlines when he got into a fight with star Zlatan Ibrahimovic during a Milan training session.
After retiring as a player, Onyewu became Orlando City B’s sporting director in 2018 and secretary general of Belgium’s Royal Excelsior Virton in 2020. He also has broadcast for CBS.
U.S. Soccer Federation names Onyewu as vice president of sporting