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FourFourTwo's 31 Most Powerful People in U.S. soccer: 20-16

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18. Jay Berhalter

The older brother of Columbus Crew head coach Gregg, Jay Berhalter is No. 3 in U.S. Soccer's hierarchy, but he is more vital than that implies. He's the federation's chief commercial director and he is in charge of sponsorship, including serving as the point man with Nike, U.S. Soccer's most important sponsor. Berhalter also leads U.S. Soccer’s efforts in marketing and television, but his influence extends into nearly every aspect of the sport in America.

He was de facto secretary general as Dan Flynn recovered from heart-transplant surgery last year. Berhalter served as CEO of Copa America Centenario after, according to a Sports Illustrated report, assuming the day-to-day duties as technical director from Jurgen Klinsmann in 2015. He first worked with the federation as a volunteer ahead of the 1994 World Cup, and he joined U.S. Soccer full-time in 2000, taking over as chief operating officer when Flynn stepped in as general secretary.

In that post, Berhalter modernized the federation as a business and built the nearly bankrupt organization into a financial success, continuing work in that regard since returning to the USSF in 2013 after a four-year hiatus. He has virtually no public face in American soccer, but there are very few who have made comparable impact.

-- SF

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