US Soccer tries to limit damage from Berhalter-Reyna scandal, emphasize ‘making the right choice’
‘The investigation is still ongoing’ was the repeated line from US Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone, US Soccer CEO JT Batson and sporting director Earnie Stewart on Wednesday when asked multiple times about the situation surrounding Gregg Berhalter in a frustrating press conference.
With the investigation still in progress, the three revealed little on the scope of the inquiry, the timeline, or any other details beyond what was released in a statement on Tuesday.
Stewart said the process for making a decision on the next head coach is still in progress and that it’s his responsibility to ‘make sure there’s a pool of candidates to consider.’ He later added, ‘making the right choice over a speedy choice is always going to be better in my mind.’
Berhalter, the now-out-of-contract USMNT coach, revealed Tuesday that he had physically abused his now-wife Rosalind back in 1991. He also said that someone outside the organization had threatened to ‘take him down’.
Earlier Wednesday, former USMNT midfielder Claudio Reyna and his wife Danielle – the parents of out-of-favor midfielder Gio Reyna – admitted to reporting the incident to US Soccer.
Claudio Reyna (No. 10) and Berhalter (No. 3) played for the USA between 1994 and 2006
Berhalter’s US Soccer contract officially expired at the end of last month after the World Cup
A key takeaway from the press conference is that Berhalter has not yet been eliminated from consideration for the job – in spite of not yet receiving a renewal for his contract that expired at the end of 2022.
Stewart seemed to shrug aside any concerns over the recent poor performance of head coaches of national teams in their second World Cup cycle.
‘I think it has a lot to do with the the individual that you have in front of a group,’ he said. ‘Once you step on the field every single day, and you see a coach, doing better, and taking that group there every single time and keeping the group – being able to motivate them at every aspect of the game – I mean, that’s where my attention goes to, when when I look at, when I look at coaches.
‘What I do believe is in consistency and continuity in the way that you play, in the way that you do things, and making sure that once players come into camp, that they have a recollection of what happened the last time.
‘So that consistency and continuity is really important. That doesn’t necessarily always have to happen with the same coach. But it does make that process easier.’
Cone added her thoughts, saying ‘I think looking at it as a four year coach or a two cycle trip coach is oversimplifying. It’s much of what Ernie laid out. It’s there’s a lot of characteristics that make a coach successful. And you can’t just look at how long they’ve been at the helm.
‘You have to look at all the details… and so that is one of the reasons why we’re doing a full technical review as we do after each major tournament.’
Berhalter was forced to go public about kicking his wife Rosalind during an argument in 1991
All three turned aside questions on personal feelings, including Stewart, who was a teammate of both Berhalter’s and Reyna’s on the men’s national team and who Danielle Reyna described as a ‘close friend’
FOX Soccer commentator Alexi Lalas asked the three if they would have a problem with Berhalter continuing, with Batson answering for the three, saying they weren’t comfortable answering that question.
They also sidestepped any suggestion that what took place was an attempt at extortion or blackmail, repeating that the investigation was still underway.
That investigation is ‘completely independent,’ according to Cone and doesn’t have a set timeline in place.
Ex-USA captain Claudio Reyna (back left) and his wife Danielle (right) – Giovanni Reyna’s (bottom right – aged 5) parents – admitted to reporting Gregg Berhalter’s domestic violence incident to US Soccer
Reyna, Austin FC’s sporting director, and Berhalter played soccer at youth and high school
The USSF also said that these incidents will not impact Gio’s availability to be called up – with Stewart saying, ‘Every player that has a US passport and is in our camps will 1) be selected and 2) be available for our games, because we’re here for US Soccer and performing at the best standard that there is.’
In his statement on Tuesday, Berhalter mentioned that once the incident occurred, he told his family. That led to a question asking if this extended to Jay Berhalter – Gregg’s brother – who was the Chief Commercial Officer of the US Soccer Federation at the time of Gregg’s hire.
‘I’d imagine this is something that Alston & Bird will be reviewing, but none of our current leadership was aware of this,’ Batson revealed.
Gregg Berhalter and Claudio Reyna have a close history. They grew up playing youth soccer and high school soccer in New Jersey and their wives were roommates, friends, and teammates on the women’s soccer team at the University of North Carolina.
‘This is not a positive time for soccer in this country and for our Men’s National Team. And it’s a tough time for the families involved,’ Cone said.
‘And I’m just hopeful that we can find resolution to this quickly and move forward with our men’s team, as well as for US Soccer in general to be able to move forward.’
The pair played soccer on the same team at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, New Jersey
Danielle Reyna contacted US Soccer after Gio Reyna was told by Berhalter he would play a limited role in Qatar. She admitted Wednesday she was unhappy at the treatment of her son at the World Cup.
She contacted US Soccer with the sensitive details about the US head coach on December 11 – the same day Berhalter opened up at a leadership event and claimed he almost sent an unnamed player home from the World Cup due to his ‘extreme’ poor behavior.
The manager didn’t name the player, but fans were quick to speculate about it online after Reyna’s lack of action during the USMNT’s route to the last-16. It was later confirmed by the player the following day on his Instagram profile.
Danielle Reyna released a statement on Wednesday saying she spoke to US Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart about Berhalter’s domestic violence incident involving his wife Rosalind in 1991.
Danielle Reyna (No. 14 – bottom right) and Rosalind Berhalter (No. 7 – second row, third right) were soccer teammates for four years with the University of North Carolina
Danielle was frustrated by Berhalter getting ‘forgiveness for doing something much worse’ at a similar age to Gio. Reyna played just twice at World Cup with both appearances off the bench
In addition to Gio’s limited playing time at the World Cup, there were other indications of dissatisfaction between the Reyna and Berhalter families.
Fox Sports reported on December 12 that Danielle and Rosalind had planned to travel to games together in Qatar, but those plans were scrapped due to an unspecified ‘flare-up.’
Danielle took responsibility for informing US Soccer of Berhalter’s past but denied making any threats. Danielle was frustrated by Berhalter getting ‘forgiveness for doing something much worse’ at a similar age to Gio.
Gio Reyna played just twice at the World Cup with both appearances coming from off the bench, before USA lost to Holland.
‘To set the record straight, I did call (US Soccer sporting director) Earnie Stewart on December 11, just after the news broke that Gregg had made negative statements about my son Gio at a leadership conference,’ her statement read.
‘I have known Earnie for years and consider him to be a close friend. I wanted to let him know that I was absolutely outraged and devastated that Gio had been put in such a terrible position, and that I felt very personally betrayed by the actions of someone my family had considered a friend for decades.
‘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 had asked for and received forgiveness for doing something so much worse at the same age.
Claudio and Danielle Reyna (pictured in 2018) released statements regarding Berhalter
‘Without going into detail, the statements from yesterday significantly minimize the abuse on the night in question. Rosalind Berhalter was my roommate, teammate and best friend, and I supported her through the trauma that followed.
‘It took a long time for me to forgive and accept Gregg afterward, but I worked hard to give him grace, and ultimately made both of them and their kids a huge part of my family’s life. I would have wanted and expected him to give the same grace to Gio. This is why the current situation is so very hurtful and hard.
‘At the time I called Earnie, many people were trashing Gio on social media due to Gregg’s comments, and I didn’t know when or if this would stop.
‘I just wanted Earnie to help make sure that there would be no further unwarranted attacks on my son. I thought our conversation would remain in confidence, and it didn’t occur to me at the time that anything I said could lead to an investigation.
‘I’m not criticizing Earnie here. I very much commend the recent efforts by US Soccer to address abuse of women players, and I understand now he had an obligation to investigate what I shared.
Danielle Reyna, pictured with her husband Claudio in 2002, took responsibility for informing US Soccer of Berhalter’s past but denied making any threats
‘But I want to be very clear that I did not ask for Gregg to be fired, I did not make any threats, and I don’t know anything about any blackmail attempts, nor have I ever had any discussions about anyone else on Gregg’s staff— I don’t know any of the other coaches.
‘I did not communicate with anyone in US Soccer about this matter before December 11, and no one else in my family has made any statements to US Soccer regarding Gregg’s past at all.
‘I’m sorry that this information became public, and I regret that I played a role in something that could reopen wounds from the past.’
A statement from Claudio Reyna read: ‘I support my wife, Danielle, and her statement. I too was upset by Gregg’s comments about Gio after the US was out of the World Cup, and I also appealed to Earnie Stewart on December 11 asking him to prevent any additional comments.
‘While in Qatar, I shared my frustrations about my son’s World Cup experience with a number of close friends, Earnie and Brian McBride among them.
‘However, at no time did I ever threaten anyone, nor would I ever do so.’
Berhalter, whose contract expired as USA head coach following last month’s tournament, moved to clarify some personal information on Tuesday.
‘While we obviously would have wanted to advance further in the World Cup, I am very proud of and grateful for all our players, our staff, everyone at US Soccer, and all of the USMNT fans worldwide who supported us,’ the post read.
‘Our performance relied on hard work and extraordinary energy and commitment from those on and off the pitch during the years of preparation. There are so many positive examples of how our squad came together, making so many different types of sacrifices all in pursuit of our group’s shared vision.
Berhalter’s US Soccer contract officially expired at the end of last month after the World Cup
‘I am looking forward to continuing my conversations with US Soccer about the future, but now is the time for me to publicly share some personal information which a third party has used against my family and me.’
Berhalter, who played for the US alongside Claudio Reyna between 1994 and 2006, made the information public to his 1,003 Twitter followers. His account is unverified but the statement was confirmed by the US Soccer Federation. The governing body is also conducting an investigation.
‘During the World Cup, an individual contacted US Soccer, saying that they had information about me that would ‘take me down’ – an apparent effort to leverage something very personal from long ago to bring about the end of my relationship with US Soccer,’ the post continued.
‘This is a difficult step to take, but my wife, Rosalind, and I want to clearly and directly share the truth. This is a story that belongs to us, but hopefully there are lessons from our relationship that can be valuable to others.
‘In the fall of 1991, I met my soulmate. I had just turned 18 and was a freshman in college when I met Rosalind for the first time. There was a familiar feeling when we spoke. Rosalind was and is an amazing person – determined, empathetic, fun to be around – and we connected immediately.
‘It felt like we had known each other for years. We had been dating for four months when an incident happened between us that would shape the future of our relationship. One night, while out drinking at a local bar, Rosalind and I had a heated argument that continued outside. It became physical and I kicked her in the legs.
‘There are zero excuses for my actions that night; it was a shameful moment and one that I regret to this day.
Berhalter released a statement to his Twitter profile on Tuesday afternoon to clarify some ‘personal information which a third party has used against my family and me’
‘At that time, I immediately apologized to Rosalind, but understandably, she wanted nothing to do with me. I told my parents, family, and friends what happened because I wanted to take full responsibility for my behavior.
‘Rosalind also informed her parents, family, and friends. While the authorities were never involved in this matter, I voluntarily sought out counseling to help learn, grow and improve – one of the most valuable decisions that ever made. To this day, that type of behavior has never been repeated.’
The 49-year-old coach, born in New Jersey, met Rosalind, also 49, at the University of North Carolina where they both played soccer and started dating in 1991 before getting married eight years later. The couple live in Lake View, Chicago, and have four children.
‘I feared that I lost my soulmate and then out of the blue, seven months later I received a call from Rosalind asking if we could speak in person. We met and discussed how we had grown and decided to rebuild our relationship,’ Berhalter continued in his statement.
‘Rosalind shared that her family supported this decision and by working through what had happened, we both realized that our love, trust, and respect for each other was stronger than the incident that occurred months earlier.
Gio Reyna made just two appearances at the World Cup and both of those were off the bench
‘Since then, Rosalind and I have lived together in five different countries, three different states and have met and remained friends with many wonderful people from around the world. All of these people have witnessed the strong relationship we have and the loving family we have built together.
‘The lessons learned from that night over three decades ago became the foundation for a loving, devoted, and supportive relationship, which we honored and celebrated with our 25th wedding anniversary this past weekend.
‘I am sharing this story after 31 years because it’s important to understand it was an event that shaped me, but doesn’t define me. It was a single, isolated event over three decades ago and a terrible decision made in a bad moment by an 18-year-old. Rosalind and I have been on an amazing journey together.
‘We have raised four wonderful children, who are aware of what happened. We are very proud of our marriage, our relationship, the family we have built, and the people we have become.
‘As a team we emphasize accountability, honesty, and growth. Those aren’t just principles we instill within the team; it is how I live my life. The foundation of any good team is using the past as an opportunity to learn and get better.
Berhalter (No. 3) and Reyna (No. 10) go way back as do their wives – Danielle and Rosalind
‘People can make mistakes and learn from them; people can also be forgiven for their mistakes. Thankfully, Rosalind forgave me. The intention of this statement is to provide transparency and to reinforce that a single bad decision made by a teenager does not necessarily define him for the rest of his life. We will not hide from this. We didn’t then, and we won’t now.
‘This is our story. We have fully cooperated with the US Soccer investigation into this matter, and while we would prefer not to speak about something so personal from so long ago in such a public forum, we are embracing this opportunity to share what has shaped us and how much we have grown and learned from this over the past 31 years. Thank you. Rosalind and Gregg Berhalter.’
While Berhalter’s future with Team USA remains unknown, US Soccer is still evaluating his performance in Qatar with an eye towards picking a manager to lead the men’s squad into the North American World Cup in 2026.
It was announced before the US Soccer scandal that Berhalter will not lead the US Men’s National Team January training camp after US Soccer announced assistant Anthony Hudson will serve as temporary head coach for the two upcoming friendlies. DailyMail.com has reached out to the USSF inquiring if Hudson’s name is being considered for the role of head coach permanently.
US Soccer announced assistant Anthony Hudson will serve as head coach for the friendlies
Danielle Reyna was unhappy at the treatment of her son Gio by Berhalter at the World Cup
A US Soccer statement on Tuesday afternoon read: ‘Upon learning of the allegation against US Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter on Dec. 11, 2022, US Soccer immediately hired Alston & Bird LLP to conduct an independent investigation into the matter. The investigation is being led by Jenny Kramer, BJay Pak and Chris Marquardt of Alston & Bird LLP and remains ongoing.
‘Through this process, US Soccer has learned about potential inappropriate behavior towards multiple members of our staff by individuals outside of our organization.
‘We take such behavior seriously and have expanded our investigation to include those allegations.
‘We appreciate Gregg and Rosalind coming forward to speak openly about this incident. Consistent with our commitment to transparency, we will share the results of the investigation publicly when it is complete. US Soccer condemns violence of any kind and takes such allegations very seriously.
‘Last month, US Soccer launched a full technical review of our Men’s National Team Program. With the review and investigation ongoing, US Soccer will announce who will lead the January Men’s National Team camp in the coming days. We look forward to building off the performance in Qatar and preparing for the journey towards 2026.’
Berhalter guided the USMNT to the last-16 of the World Cup but crashed out to Holland
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-11600513/US-Soccer-tries-limit-damage-Berhalter-Reyna-scandal-emphasize-making-right-choice.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 US Soccer tries to limit damage from Berhalter-Reyna scandal, emphasize ‘making the right choice’