Jay Berhalter, the U.S. Soccer Federation's Chief Commercial and Strategy Officer, is leaving his position, effective at the end of February, the USSF announced on Thursday.
"Jay has played an invaluable role in the growth of our Federation and the evolution of the game in our country," said U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro. "His deep understanding of all the technical, commercial, and business aspects of the sport will have a lasting impact on the game across America."
The USSF, which has not yet announced a permanent replacement for now departed Secretary General/CEO Dan Flynn, said it will embark on a search for Berhalter's replacement immediately. Brian Remedi, who currently holds the interim title of chief administrative officer, has been filling in for Flynn. Staff were informed of Berhalter's decision shortly before the USSF made the announcement.
Berhalter spent nearly 15 years over two different periods with the USSF. He was the organization's COO from 2000-09, and is widely credited with turning around the USSF's financial health, doubling its annual revenue and building its operating reserves. He was also the COO of the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup organizing committee after the tournament was relocated to the U.S. from China.
After returning to the USSF in February of 2014 as Chief Commercial Officer, he was responsible for strategy of the organization and oversaw record growth across all commercial areas. He also served as CEO of the Copa America Centenario Local Organizing Committee, which broke previous records for attendance and television ratings. The 2016 event also ranks as the most profitable in U.S. Soccer history.
"Having been involved in the sport since the 1994 World Cup and the start of Major League Soccer, working towards the mission of making soccer the preeminent sport in the U.S. has been a fantastic opportunity throughout my career," said Berhalter. "I am fortunate to have worked with so many passionate teammates and proud of what we have been able to accomplish together at all levels of the game. My decision to leave U.S. Soccer was not an easy one to make, but it's the right one for my family and me at this time. Looking to the future, it is exciting to imagine the opportunities that lie ahead."
Berhalter had at one point been thought to be the frontrunner to replace Flynn as Secretary General and CEO. But in June, a series of scathing reviews from former and current USSF employees were posted on the web site Glassdoor, and cast both Berhalter and Flynn in an unflattering light, with posters alluding to a "toxic" work environment. Cordeiro decided back in May that he was not satisfied with the short list of candidates for CEO, and in September changed search firms as a result. Cordeiro announced last December that several candidates and been interviewed by the Board of Directors, including men and women as well as one person from abroad.
At that same Board of Governors meeting, Cordeiro announced steps to address the concerns expressed in the Glassdoor postings.
There had also been accusations of nepotism after Jay Berhalter's brother, Gregg, was named manager of the U.S. men's national team back in December of 2018. These took place even as the USSF insisted that Jay Berhalter played no part in his brother's hiring, and was instead done at the direction of sporting director Earnie Stewart.