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Gregg Berhalter's Domestic Violence Incident Was Reported By Gio Reyna's Parents: NPR

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USA men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter during a training session at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

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Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images


USA men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter during a training session at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images

Information about a decades-old incident involving Gregg Berhalter, who coached the US men’s national team during last year’s World Cup, was shared with the US Soccer Federation by Danielle Reyna, mother of US soccer player Gio Reyna.

The allegation about the 1991 incident between Berhalter and his now-wife Rosalind was made public on Tuesday when Berhalter acknowledged the incident. In a statement, US Soccer said it received a tip about the incident on Dec.

On Wednesday, ESPN reported that Danielle Reyna and her husband, Claudio, former captain of the US men’s national soccer team and current sporting director of MLS club Austin FC, were the source of the information.

Danielle Reyna later confirmed in press statements that she had shared the information with US Soccer, explaining that she was “absolutely outraged and devastated” by the comments made by Berhalter about her son Gio, who saw limited playing time at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Qatar Cup.

Additionally, ESPN cited multiple sources who said Claudio Reyna threatened to “share allegations about Berhalter’s past” in messages to football officials.

In a separate statement, Claudio Reyna acknowledged sending messages to football officials about his son’s limited playing time during the World Cup. But he denied making threats. “At no point did I threaten anyone, nor would I ever do that,” he said.

The US Soccer Federation hired a law firm to conduct an independent investigation into the Berhalter incident when it learned of the allegation in December.

As the investigation unfolded, football officials learned of “potentially inappropriate communication and behavior by third parties in relation to the American team,” a federation official said Wednesday. This is now part of the investigation.

The developments shook the football world, in part because those involved have a long personal history together.

“Obviously this is not a positive moment for football in this country and for the men’s team. And it’s a difficult time for the families involved,” said Cindy Parlow Cone, president of the association. “I am hopeful that we can quickly find a solution to this and move forward with our men’s team.”

The 1991 incident involving Berhalter

Berhalter met his wife while they were students and football players at the University of North Carolina. Danielle Reyna also played soccer there, and she and Rosalind were roommates.

The allegations shared by Reyna revolve around an incident in 1991 in which Berhalter kicked his future wife during a “heated argument”, as he described it in Tuesday’s statement, signed by Gregg and Rosalind.

“One night when we were drinking at a local bar, Rosalind and I got into a heated argument which continued outside. It turned physical and I kicked her in the legs,” he said. “Although the authorities were never involved in this matter, I voluntarily sought counseling to help learn, grow and improve – one of the most valuable decisions I have ever made. To date, this type of behavior has never been repeated.”

The two temporarily parted ways but eventually got together, he said. Since then, they have been married for 25 years.

“There are no excuses for my actions that night; it was a shameful moment and one I regret to this day,” he said.

In a statement on Tuesday, US Soccer said it “condemns violence of any kind and takes these allegations very seriously”.

In the years after the incident, the two couples grew closer. Berhalter and Reyna played together on the United States men’s national team. And Reyna was best man at the Berhalters’ wedding, according to a biography on the National Football Players Association website.


The USA men’s team pictured in 2002 when Gregg Berhalter (3) and Claudio Reyna (10) played together.

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Pascal Guyot/AFP via Getty Images


The USA men’s team pictured in 2002 when Gregg Berhalter (3) and Claudio Reyna (10) played together.

Pascal Guyot/AFP via Getty Images

The controversy over Gio’s playing time and the World Cup

The problem between the Reynas and Berhalters seemed to center on the couple’s 20-year-old son, Gio, himself a professional soccer player and member of the US men’s national team.

Expectations for young Reyna were high ahead of the World Cup. But during the tournament, he only played 52 minutes as a substitute and was ruled out of two games, sparking controversy for his lack of playing time.

On 11 December, after the United States were eliminated, The Athletic ran a story saying that Reyna struggled with “lack of effort” at the World Cup and was nearly sent home. After apologizing to his teammates, “the Reyna issues ended there”, sources tell The Athletic.

On the same day, comments emerged from Berhalter in the leadership conference, in which Berhalter described difficulties with an unnamed player who was “clearly not meeting expectations on and off the field”. He and team leaders encouraged the player to apologize, he said, and afterwards, “there were no issues with this player.” Although Berhalter did not quote him directly, the comments were widely perceived to be about Reyna.

Berhalter believed these observations would not be recorded, US Soccer later said. Instead, they were posted on a leading website, igniting drama.

On December 12, Gio Reyna publicly apologized. “I fully recognize that I let my emotions get the best of me and affected my training and behavior for a few days after learning about my limited role,” Reyna wrote on her Instagram. “I apologized to my teammates and coach for that and they told me I was forgiven.”

What the Reynas say about the incidents

In her statement to the press on Wednesday, Danielle Reyna said she had shared the information about the 1991 incident with US Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart on Dec. .

She felt “very personally betrayed by the actions of someone my family has considered a friend for decades,” she said. “I found it especially unfair that Gio, who 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 much worse at the same age,” she explained. .

Reyna also said that Berhalter’s account of the 1991 incident “significantly downplayed[s] the abuse” that night, although she did not provide details.

“At the time I called Earnie, a lot of people were bashing Gio on social media over Gregg’s comments, and I didn’t know when or if that was going to stop. I just wanted Earnie to help make sure there weren’t any more unwarranted attacks. my son,” she said.

She said she did not call for Berhalter to be fired and denied making threats. “I don’t know anything about blackmail attempts,” she said.

In his statement, Claudio Reyna said he supported his wife’s account, adding that he was “also upset” by the comments about his son.

Gio Reyna has not publicly commented.

What’s next for American football?

US Soccer says it is investigating allegations against Berhalter, whose contract as the men’s national coach expired on Dec. 31.

On Wednesday, team officials announced that they had appointed an interim head coach while the investigation continued. Anthony Hudson, 41, previously served as an assistant coach for the men’s team. He will lead the team in two international friendlies scheduled for this month.

“In the past, the usual four-year review of the entire program after a World Cup started in the summer, well before any end-of-year contract expires,” the federation said in a statement.

But the fact that the tournament was held so late in the year left them with little time “to conduct a proper assessment” before their contract expired, they explained.

Until the investigation and review are completed, Berhalter is still being considered for re-hire to the post, officials said on Wednesday. “We agree that we need to let the investigation unfold before we can make any determinations,” said JT Batson, CEO and secretary general of the organization.

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