United States announces January Panama friendly, to be Gregg Berhalter's first in charge

U.S. Soccer announced on Tuesday that the United States will play Panama in a Jan. 27 friendly (8 p.m. ET on ESPN2) in Glendale, Arizona. It will be the first match in charge for new head coach Gregg Berhalter.

Berhalter, 45, was introduced to the media at an event in New York City on Tuesday and said he was "honored and humbled" to be taking over the job.

The former Columbus Crew manager will oversee the U.S.'s annual winter camp beginning on Jan. 7 in Chula Vista, California -- the first time he will spend time with national team players -- before managing a pair of friendlies, the one against Panama and another against Costa Rica on Feb. 2.

Berhalter, who was chosen by U.S. national team general manager Earnie Stewart, takes over a program that has been without a full-time manager since October 2017, when Bruce Arena resigned in the aftermath of the team's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Since then, Dave Sarachan managed the U.S. men on a caretaker basis, with Arena's longtime assistant going 3-5-4 while giving international debuts to 22 players.

Although it took U.S. Soccer 13 months to hire Berhalter, the appointment drew praise from a number of former standout national team players like Landon Donovan and Claudio Reyna.

"What I remember about playing with Gregg is that he was always there to win and there to compete every day," Donovan told U.S. Soccer.

"He's as bright as they come in U.S. Soccer circles. I'm very happy for Gregg and excited for our national team program. I think he's a great hire and I think he's the right person to be moving this team forward."

Reyna added: "Gregg is an exciting choice for the national team job. He is someone who is organized and extremely detailed with his preparation for every training session, camp and game.

"I think without a doubt players will respond to him because of the intensity and energy he will bring. Players love the level of information and preparation he provides. No doubt he will give the team the right mentality to get results and play good soccer as the weeks and months progress."

Berhalter's first task will be finding the right way to mix veteran national team players in with a promising group of young players that featured during Sarachan's time in charge as the group looks ahead to this summer's Gold Cup in the United States, Costa Rica and one other Caribbean venue yet to be named.