Southampton's Crocker appointed Sporting Director of US Soccer
Written by Simon Austin — April 24, 2023
MATT CROCKER has been appointed as the new Sporting Director of US Soccer after three-and-a-half years as Southampton’s Director of Football Operations.
The news will be officially announced by US Soccer tomorrow, by which time Crocker will have arrived in the country.
He succeeds Earnie Stewart, who left the role in January to return to his native Holland as Director of Football at PSV Eindhoven. Stewart had joined US Soccer as General Manager in the summer of 2018, before being promoted to Sporting Director a year later.
As Sporting Director, Crocker will be responsible for the overall direction of development, coaching, culture and playing style throughout the US Soccer pyramid. One of the Welshman's most pressing tasks will be to lead the search for the next men’s national team coach, with Anthony Hudson having held the role on an interim basis since Gregg Berhalter's departure at the end of 2022.
In December, TGG reported that Crocker was to step down as Southampton’s Director of Football Operations at the end of the season.
This followed the takeover by London-based investment firm Sport Republic, which had taken a controlling stake in the club in January 2022. Saints subsequently appointed Manchester City Academy Director Jason Wilcox to take over from Crocker as Director of Football.
Crocker joined the south coast club in January 2020 from the Football Association, where he was Head of Coaching and Development. During his time with the Saints they remained in the Premier League and he introduced a number of innovations, including a B Team, development coaches, the Southampton Playbook, specialist coaches and the Learning Lab.
In June 2021, Crocker presented at TGG’s Individual Development Webinar, with a session titled, ‘Specialist coaching the Southampton way.’
At the FA, he had worked closely with Technical Director Dan Ashworth and Head of Performance and Strategy Dave Reddin in introducing the England DNA, specialist coaches and an increased emphasis on age group teams during a period of considerable success at both senior and youth levels - for men and women.
This was Crocker's second stint with Southampton, as he was their Academy Manager for a golden seven years during which their graduates included Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, Callum Chambers, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw.
US Soccer hired Sportsology, the New York consulting firm founded by former Chelsea Director of Football Operations Mike Forde, to advise on the Sporting Director search.