Anthony Hudson leaves USMNT, BJ Callaghan named interim coach for Nations League and Gold Cup
U.S. men’s national team interim manager Anthony Hudson is leaving the federation for another job. Assistant B.J. Callaghan has been given the interim title for this summer’s CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup.
Callaghan has served as an assistant coach with the U.S. over the last four years and is currently the longest-serving member of the USMNT technical staff.
Hudson’s next stop will be a club in the Middle East, according to multiple sources who were granted anonymity as they are not authorized to speak publicly on Hudson’s future.
The change in interim managers comes as U.S. Soccer continues to search for a permanent head coach. Previous manager Gregg Berhalter’s contract expired at the end of 2022. U.S. Soccer hired Matt Crocker as sporting director on April 25 and recently said they hope to have a coach in place by the end of August. Crocker is leading the search along with U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone and CEO and secretary general J.T. Batson.
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The organization’s decision to wait until after the summer tournaments to hire a permanent coach will now be under more of a spotlight as they move to a second interim manager in the last six months.
“B.J. has been an integral part of the USMNT staff during the last four years as this young team has grown and developed,” Crocker said in a statement. “Working alongside Anthony Hudson these last five months, we are confident he is prepared and ready to lead this group in the summer tournaments. We are grateful to Anthony for the tremendous job he did and wish him success in the future.”
U.S. Soccer is expected to announce the Nations League roster on Thursday. Camp opens on June 5 in Los Angeles ahead of the semifinal match-up with Mexico on June 15.
Hudson departs after having served as the U-20 head coach in 2020 and then as an assistant coach for the USMNT since 2021 before taking the interim helm in January of this year. With wins against Grenada and El Salvador in March, Hudson advanced the team to the CONCACAF Nations League semifinal as well as the Gold Cup where they will defend both titles. He also helped secure the commitment of multiple dual nationals, including Alejandro Zendejas and Folarin Balogun.
“I would like to thank U.S. Soccer for the opportunity to be part of such a great team of players and staff,” Hudson said in a statement. “It’s been an honor to represent the National Team and one that I have truly valued and enjoyed. The group is in good hands with B.J., and I’m excited to watch and support the team as it continues to grow and reach the heights we all know they are capable of.”
Callaghan joined U.S. Soccer in 2019 from the Philadelphia Union and initially served as the strategy analyst before being promoted to assistant coach. He was part of the staff that won the 2021 Nations League and Gold Cup and reached the Round of 16 in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“I understand the responsibility of the job and am honored to have the opportunity to build upon the progress this group has made the last four years,” Callaghan said in a statement. “Together, we have built a strong culture and a great understanding of how we want to play, and we expect to continue to build on that progress. Our goal is clear: defend both of our Concacaf titles.”
Callaghan spent seven years with the Philadelphia Union, two years coaching in the academy and five years as a first team assistant coach to Jim Curtin. Callaghan played four seasons at Ursinus College and served as an assistant at Villanova.
“He was someone I called in right away,” Curtin told The Athletic in 2018. “A lot of people tend to go with maybe guys who you formerly played with or did a favor for someone. But I did it in a way where I chose a person I trusted and I knew had a high soccer IQ and could help facilitate the messages we wanted to get across. And he has been the most important guy in my development as a coach, to be honest.”
While he performed the normal duties of an assistant coach with the USMNT under Berhalter, Callaghan also implemented processes for how the technical staff would analyze opponents and and develop a game model for the USMNT. Callaghan managed the USMNT’s scouts and analysts, as well as scouts that were watching matches involving future USMNT opponents.
“After speaking to B.J., one main takeaway is that nothing changes for this group,” said USMNT defender Tim Ream in a statement. “The messaging, goals, and ideas stay the same, with a new voice at the top. His is a familiar voice that we are all comfortable with and have been around for years.”
It is not clear who will join Callaghan on the USMNT staff for the two tournaments. U.S. under-20 coach Mikey Varas has previously worked with the senior team, but is currently with his team at the U-20 World Cup. The U-20s face New Zealand on Tuesday in the Round of 16. U.S. under-19 coach Marko Mitrovic has also served on staff, at times. U.S. Soccer does not currently have a full-time goalkeeper coach. NYCFC’s Rob Vartughian served as goalkeeper coach for camp earlier this year.
Callaghan will now serve as the bridge for the two CONCACAF competitions before a new manager is named.
“I’ve learned a lot from navigating these competitions with the team during the previous cycle, as well as the three-game World Cup qualifying windows,” Callaghan said in a statement. “The Nations League has two high-level matches and then you immediately have to switch your approach with a mostly different roster as you’re coming in to navigate the Gold Cup during a 30-day period. I have strong experience in both competitions and understand the unique challenges both present. We will rely strongly on the well-established relationships with the players in order to help us defend both titles.”
(Photo: Mike Janosz/USSF/Getty Images)