Former United States World Cup defender Oguchi Onyewu is a candidate to fill U.S. Soccer’s vacant sporting director job, multiple sources told FOX Sports.
Onyewu, 40, was most recently the secretary general of Belgian second tier club Royal Excelsior Virton. He left in November after 16 months in charge. The USSF has been without a sporting director since Earnie Stewart took a similar post with Dutch power PSV Eindhoven last month. Stewart, who oversaw both the men’s and world champion women’s national teams as well as the federation’s national youth squads, had held the role since 2019.
Reached by phone on Monday, Onyewu would neither confirm nor deny that he’s in the running for the position. A U.S. Soccer spokesman told FOX Sports that the federation wouldn’t comment on any possible individual candidates while the search for Stewart’s replacement is ongoing.
Whoever becomes the country’s next sporting director will be responsible for selecting the USMNT coach who will lead the Americans through the crucially important 2026 FIFA World Cup that will be co-hosted by the U.S., Canada and Mexico. During a media conference announcing Stewart’s departure in late January, U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone said that the federation wants to have its new sporting director in place no later than the start of the Women’s World Cup in July — although an appointment could come well before that. The USSF has hired New York-based consulting firm Sportsology to lead its search.
Last month, Sportsology approached and was rebuffed by Philadelphia Union sporting director Ernst Tanner, according to a report in The Athletic. Same for Sporting Kansas City coach and sporting director Peter Vermes, a former USMNT captain. Vermes told the Kansas City Star that Sportsology asked him to interview with U.S. Soccer; Vermes instead signed five-year contract extension with SKC.
Onyewu made 69 appearances for the USMNT between 2004 and 2014 and started matches at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. His 15-year professional club career took him through the top-flight divisions of Belgium, England, France, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain and included stints with name-brand European teams like AC Milan, Sporting Lisbon and Newcastle United. In addition to English, Onyewu is fluent in French, Italian and Portuguese.
After spending a single season in Major League Soccer, he retired as a member of the Union in 2017. Onyewu then became the sporting director of Orlando City B, the MLS club’s lower division development squad. The Washington, D.C.-area native also returned to Clemson University, where he played college soccer before turning pro, earning a double bachelor’s degree in French and international business in 2020.
Onyewu currently works as a studio analyst for CBS Sports.
Doug McIntyre is a soccer writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and he has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.
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