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Philadelphia Union sporting director Earnie Stewart named USMNT general manager

Oct 23, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Union sporting director Earnie Stewart has been named the U.S. men's national team's first general manager. Here, he stands on the sidelines prior to a game against the New York Red Bulls at Talen Energy Stadium. (Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

Philadelphia Union sporting director Earnie Stewart was announced as the first general manager of the U.S. men’s national team on Wednesday. 

Stewart, who played over 100 games for the USMNT, came to the Union after the 2014 Major League Soccer season and helped establish the Union as one of the clubs at the forefront of American player development. 

In addition to his background in MLS, Stewart spent time as a technical director in the Netherlands — where he also spent most of his playing career — with VVV Venlo, NAC Breda and AZ Alkmaar. 

Stewart will start his new job with U.S. Soccer August 1, after he finishes up his time with the Union and moves to Chicago for his new position. It was no secret Stewart was a frontrunner for the position, and the Philadelphia Inquirer reported earlier Wednesday that an official announcement was imminent.

“Having played for the U.S. men’s national team, and seeing what the capabilities and possibilities were in the United States, this was something where I wanted to jump on board,” Stewart said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon by U.S. Soccer. “My ultimate goal was to be at the top of the pyramid at some point in my career to help soccer in the United States. When this came along, it was an opportunity I could not pass up. 

“After a period with VVV Venlo, NAC Breda and AZ Alkmaar as a sporting director, it was clear to me that the pathway that I wanted to go was to mean something for soccer in the United States. That first opportunity came with the Philadelphia Union, and I’m very thankful for the period of time that I was there.”

According to U.S. Soccer, Stewart’s core responsibilities as general manager will be to lead the search for a new USMNT head coach; ensure a style of play, tactical principles and key qualities are implemented; identify and evaluate talent at the youth level; and then cultivate that talent so it can move through the system to the first team.

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