The Interview: John Harkes
The Hall of Famer on being the Greenville Triumph's head coach and sporting director, the USMNT, being the first USMNT Premier League player, the successful Harkes children and much more
Several years had passed since my last interview with Hall of Famer John Harkes, so it was great to catch up recently with the head coach and sporting director of the Greenville Triumph. We addressed a lot of topics in this interview, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
The entirety of the written interview below is reserved for paid subscribers. As always, you can still get the entire free audio version of my podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you like to go for your pods.
Our guest now is John Harkes, the National Soccer Hall of Famer who played in two World Cups. He was the first American to play in the English Premier League and won two MLS Cup titles with D.C. United. He's now the head coach and sporting director of the Greenville Triumph. John, It's great to see you. Thanks so much for coming on the show.
My pleasure, Grant. It's great to see you as well. It's been a while, so I'm glad that we can find some time to reconnect.
Yeah, me too. I was thinking back to our first interviews in the ‘90s, I think …
Right. When you were 13. I was 12.
I want to start by getting your take on the U.S. men's national team, which has qualified for the World Cup. How are you feeling about the team these days?
“Qualifying for the '90 World Cup, playing in the World Cup, was fantastic, but going to Sheffield Wednesday on a trial basis and explaining to them that I already played in the World Cup before I was a pro. And they were looking at me like, he's crazy.” — John Harkes
I feel great, actually. I think just such a great feeling to know that we're going back to the World Cup, where there was an absence, and that's the number one thing. I think sometimes, whether it be media or fans or even other coaches, get caught up with critiquing too much instead of an understanding that it's a big challenge through the World Cup qualifying process and the rotation of players, players coming in from different countries, different styles of play.
And you're expecting them all to come together and everyone snaps your finger and it's perfect. It never works like that. So I'm really excited that they've qualified. At the end of the day, as you support them, we keep pushing forward and let's hope that they go into the World Cup with positive attitudes and a lot of confidence.
As someone who's been through World Cups. Would you have any advice for Gregg Berhalter as he manages things over the next five months to the World Cup?
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