In its review of the United States Men’s National Team, the U.S. Soccer Federation is apparently looking at all potential options. According to a report by French outlet L’Equipe, U.S. Soccer approached former Real Madrid head coach and playing legend Zinedine Zidane to gauge his interest in the vacant USMNT head coaching job.
The USMNT is currently without a head coach after Gregg Berhalter’s contract expired on December 31st, and while Berhalter is still a candidate to remain as head coach, it looks like U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart is starting to reach out to candidates. And there may not be a better available option than Zidane, whose only senior coaching job was for Real Madrid from 2016-2018 and 2019-2021. In his stints as Real Madrid coach, he won 3 UEFA Champions Leagues, 2 LaLiga titles, 2 Spanish Supercups, 2 UEFA Super Cups, and 2 FIFA Club World Cups.
Zidane has long been rumored to be the eventual successor to former France teammate Didier Deschamps as France’s national team coach. However, with Deschamps renewing his contract through the 2026 World Cup, other opportunities have presented itself to Zidane.
Internet reports have stated that Zidane was offered head coaching jobs by the United States, Brazil, and Portugal, with Zidane rejecting those offers. However, according to L’Equipe, it seems like the contact made by U.S. Soccer, at least, was introductory and did not include any formal offer. From L’Equipe (translated into English):
Zidane can therefore understand that his former captain of the golden generation 1998-2000 clings to the tricolor seat. DD’s new long-term contract until July 2026 in any case blocks his horizon with the Blues. But it will not be too late then to realize his dream as a coach at 54 years old. ZZ is four years younger than DD. The Ballon d’Or 98 got ahead of his time on the bench with his eleven Madrid titles. He is in no rush to bounce back.
After this World Cup, proposals, calls from the foot or intermediaries from all over the world still flocked to him or his historical adviser Alain Migliaccio. From Brazil, Portugal and even more recently from the United States. The Seleçao is a tempting challenge now that the door of the Blues has temporarily closed. Zizou is much loved and respected in this country despite his two goals in the final against Ronaldo’s partners in 1998 (3-0) or his technical festival in the quarterfinals in 2006 (1-0). But there is very little chance that it will cross the Atlantic.
The article goes on to say that Zidane does not speak English or Portuguese, and is only willing to take a job that where he could speak French or Spanish, his fluent languages. The only national team job Zidane currently desires is the France job, and he is willing to wait until that job opens. There is the possibility that he could take a club job in the meantime, but he’s in a position where he feels comfortable waiting for the job he really wants.
That job will not be the USMNT job, but U.S. Soccer’s contact with Zidane does seemingly indicate the federation’s desire to think big when it comes to the next head coach of the United States Men’s National Team. U.S. Soccer may have reached out, but any discussions they had with Zidane and his management team likely did not advance to the stage of a formal offer.
Still, with Zidane at least contacted about the USMNT job, it may mean U.S. Soccer is willing to consider some of the best coaches on the planet, and presumably break out the checkbook to hire them. That hopefully will give USMNT fans optimism that some big coaching names will be contacted and interviewed during the hiring process.