The United States Soccer Federation has announced that both Earnie Stewart and Brian McBride will step down from their positions in a statement released on Thursday.
Stewart, who has been the organization’s sporting director, will return to the Netherlands to take up a position with Eredivisie giants PSV Eindhoven. Meanwhile, McBride will step away from his role as general manager of the U.S. men’s national team which he held for three years.
The 53-year-old Stewart will officially leave his job on Feb. 15, while McBride will wrap up his duties on Jan. 31.
The news comes as U.S. Soccer has undergone an assessment of the men’s program following their participation in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. They are also setting an overall strategy they prepare for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, the 2024 Paris Olympics, and the 2026 World Cup.
While we are sad to see Earnie go, he has helped lay a strong foundation and build a strong sporting staff to ensure that the future of U.S. Soccer is bright,” said U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone in a statement. “Today, we have a unique opportunity to bring in a new Sporting Director to build on this momentum. We are eager to engage new leaders who will match our ambitions and realize our vision for the future, taking our National Teams to the next level, including competing for a FIFA World Cup on home soil in 2026.
“Earnie has had an immense impact on our sporting department and on soccer in this country during the last several years and dating back to his playing days for the National Team, and we are incredibly grateful for his leadership in helping develop the next generation of players in the United States.”
Prior to taking up the sporting director job at U.S. Soccer, Stewart spent time in front office roles for NAC Breda and AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands. He also moved stateside to become sporting director for the Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer.
“When the opportunity arose to return to the Netherlands to pursue an exciting and challenging role that was near my family, I could not turn it down,” said Stewart. “I am extremely proud of what our sporting department has accomplished over the past four years to advance the next generation of players and increase participation in the sport across the country. This is a pivotal time for the sport in the United States and I have full confidence in the leadership of U.S. Soccer heading into 2026 and beyond. It has been an honor to represent the U.S. Soccer Federation again in this capacity and I look forward to continuing to support U.S. Soccer in my next chapter and in the future.”
For McBride, officials credited him for overseeing the development and management of the player pool and forging and fostering important relationships both internationally and domestically. He also played an important role in courting dual nationals, working closely with the high-performance and medical staff as well as contributing in the hiring of youth national team coaches.
“Brian was an integral part of the Federation and our team’s success in qualifying for the World Cup and competing with the best in the world in Qatar, while also helping us continue to develop and progress our full men’s program in all areas,” said Parlow Cone. “The decision was made before the World Cup, and we wish him all the best as he embarks on his next endeavor. Brian will always be part of our family and continue to be connected to U.S. Soccer.”
“First and foremost, I’m proud of accomplishing our goal of getting the USMNT back to the FIFA World Cup while also winning the Gold Cup and Nations League,” said McBride. “I’d like to thank the players and staff on the senior team as well as our Youth National Teams for their hard work to help us reach our goals, as well as Cindy Parlow Cone, JT Batson and Earnie Stewart for allowing me the opportunity to help lead the program. After careful consideration, this decision was made prior to the 2022 World Cup, but we collectively felt that any potential disruption to the team’s focus would have been a detriment at the time. I’m looking forward to the opportunities ahead.”
U.S. Soccer emphasized that the decisions of Stewart and McBride were made independently and were not impacted by their process for naming the next USMNT head coach or the ongoing investigation involving Gregg Berhalter.
The organization said in the statement that it has retained Sportsology Group to head the search for the next sporting director. The company will also analyze head coach candidates to accelerate the sporting director’s hiring process.