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Gio Reyna's parents flagged Gregg Berhalter's domestic dispute to US Soccer | USA

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The U.S. men’s soccer team was plunged into public turmoil on Wednesday when the Reyna family said it notified the U.S. Soccer Federation of a decades-old incident involving Gregg Berhalter and his wife in response to young star Gio Reyna’s belittlement of technician.

Berhalter said on Tuesday that his behavior in 1991, in which he kicked the woman who would become his wife, was “disgraceful” and that he was “looking forward to continuing my talks with US Soccer about the future”.

The US Soccer Federation commissioned an investigation by an outside law firm, along with the team’s review of the team’s performance over the four-year cycle. All this leaves the program’s leadership uncertain as preparations begin for the 2026 World Cup, which the US will co-host.

“Obviously, this is not a positive time for football in this country and for our men’s national team,” USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone said Wednesday during a news conference.

For now, Anthony Hudson, a member of Berhalter’s team, will coach the men’s national team ahead of exhibitions against Serbia on Jan. 25 and Colombia three days later.

USSF Athletic Director Earnie Stewart, a former teammate of Reyna and Berhalter, was delegated by Parlow Cone and the USSF board to make a coaching recommendation.

“Gregg Berhalter, until further investigation and review takes place, is still being considered for the head coaching position,” Stewart said.

The controversy became a complicated public dispute involving Berhalter; former American captain Claudio Reyna, best man at Berhalter’s wedding; Danielle Egan Reyna, former US women’s player; Rosalind Santana Berhalter, Coach’s wife and Egan’s college roommate; and Gio Reyna, a 20-year-old midfielder limited to 53 minutes by Berhalter at the 2022 World Cup.

It follows a $24 million USSF settlement last year from a discrimination lawsuit filed by American players and an independent investigation that revealed systemic emotional abuse and sexual misconduct in the National Women’s Soccer League.

The USSF announced on Tuesday that Berhalter was under investigation. The trainer, whose contract expired last month, simultaneously issued a statement saying that a person contacted the USSF “saying they had information on me that would ‘take me down’.”

Danielle Reyna said she told Stewart about the 1991 incident on December 11, five days after Berhalter made comments at the HOW Institute for Society’s Summit on Moral Leadership that did not name a player but were clearly critical of Gio Reyna. Excerpts were published in a Charter Works newsletter, which said the remarks were “wrongly lit for publication”.

“I wanted him to know that I was absolutely outraged and devastated that Gio had been put in such a terrible position and that I felt personally betrayed by the actions of someone my family has considered a friend for decades,” said Danielle Reyna. in a statement on Wednesday. “As part of that conversation, I told Earnie that I thought it was especially unfair that Gio, who had apologized for acting immaturely about his playing time, was still being dragged through the mud when Gregg asked for and received forgiveness for doing something so much worse. at the same age.”

Berhalter and his wife Rosalind “spoke openly” about the matter, the USSF said Tuesday, and Berhalter admitted to the kick. But Danielle Reyna criticized Berhalter’s depiction of the events of 1991.

“Yesterday’s statements significantly downplay the abuse on the night in question,” she said. “Rosalind Berhalter was my roommate, teammate and best friend, and I supported her through the ensuing trauma. It took me a long time to forgive and accept Gregg later, but I worked hard to bring him grace and ultimately make them and their children a big part of my family’s life.

“I would like and hope that he would give Gio the same grace. That is why the current situation is so painful and difficult.”

The USSF hired the law firm Alston & Bird to investigate the situation. New USSF CEO JT Batson said the company will try to determine whether Gregg’s brother Jay Berhalter, who was the USSF’s commercial director in 2018, was aware of the incident at the time his brother was hired.

“None of our current leadership were aware of this,” Batson said of the 1991 incident. “This is something that Alston & Bird, as part of the investigation, will, I’m sure, try to understand.”

The United States men’s team was eliminated from the 2022 World Cup with a 3-1 loss to the Netherlands 3-1 in the Round of 16. Berhalter was repeatedly asked by the media about Reyna’s lack of playing time.

“I was also upset by Gregg’s comments about Gio after the United States were eliminated from the World Cup, and I also appealed to Earnie Stewart on December 11 asking him to refrain from any further comments,” Claudio Reyna said in a statement. separate.

Claudio Reyna made 112 appearances for the United States from 1994 to 2006 and captained the United States to two World Cups. Gio Reyna debuted in 2020 and adds 16 games.

Danielle Reyna stated that she never threatened to blackmail Berhalter and never called for him to be fired.

“I am sorry that this information has become public and I am sorry that I played a role in something that could reopen past wounds,” said Danielle Reyna.

Hudson, meanwhile, will coach what is expected to be a mostly Major League Soccer roster next month. The 41-year-old was hired as head coach of the United States under-20 team in January 2020, and a year later he became Berhalter’s assistant coach.

“Any player who has a US passport can play for our US team,” said Stewart. “I have no problem stepping up to any player when it comes to our USA team that can contribute.”

Hudson’s squad will include Assistant United States Coach BJ Callaghan and current United States Under-20 head coach Mikey Varas. Luchi Gonzalez, the other American assistant coach, agreed last summer to become manager of MLS’s San Jose Earthquakes after the World Cup.

Hudson also coached England’s fifth tier Newport in 2011, Bahrain national team in 2013 and 2014, New Zealand national team in 2014-17 and Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids in 2017-19.

The US men’s team has not been involved in public turmoil of this magnitude since 1998, when the Americans lost three consecutive World Cup games and finished bottom of the tournament amid public criticism of coach Steve Sampson. Sampson said in 2010 that he withdrew John Harkes from the national team two months before the 1998 World Cup because the American captain was having an affair with a teammate’s wife, which Harkes denied.