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Earnie Stewart set to leave Union, become U.S. men’s national team general manager

Aug 20, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Union sporting director Earnie Stewart stands on the sidelines prior to a game against the Toronto FC at Talen Energy Stadium. (Derik Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports)

Philadelphia Union sporting director Earnie Stewart is expected to be announced Wednesday afternoon as the U.S. men’s soccer team’s first general manager.

The U.S. Soccer Federation issued an advisory Wednesday morning for a 2 p.m. unveiling of the GM hire. Multiple sources said the announcement will be about Stewart.

Federation president Carlos Cordeiro and CEO Dan Flynn, among others, will address reporters on a conference call.
Stewart’s potential departure has been an open secret for some time. Word of his candidacy for the national team job got out in early April.

Exactly when Stewart will leave the Union isn’t known. Once he starts his new job, the first task will be hiring a head coach for the national team. There might be some big names on the market after the World Cup ends in mid-July. There will also be candidates from within Major League Soccer.

The Union picked Stewart to succeed dismissed CEO Nick Sakiewicz in late 2015. Stewart arrived in Philadelphia at the start of 2016. He emphasized raising standards, not just with the first team but also in the club’s youth ranks. That has paid off, as the Union’s academy has sent five players to the first team during Stewart’s tenure.

His track record with foreign signings, however, has been mixed. Midfielders Borek Dockal and Haris Medunjanin have been positives, but striker Jay Simpson and defender Anderson Conceiçao have been among the busts. How much of the blame lies with Stewart and how much lies with ownership’s limits on spending might never be known.
Stewart won’t have to worry about that with the national team. His duties will be more philosophical and analytical in nature, which plays to his strengths.

Combine those traits with his 101 national team appearances in a 15-year playing career, and it’s no surprise that Stewart was one of the top candidates for the job.
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