The United States Men’s National Team’s 2023 has opened to a messy start. A day after U.S. Soccer announced that USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter was being investigated by the federation over a 1991 domestic violence incident involving his now wife Rosalind, comes the revelation that Claudio and Danielle Reyna provided the information that effectively initiated it. The Reynas — both former national team players and the parents of current USMNT star Gio Reyna — were longstanding friends of the Berhalters.
ESPN reported that Claudio Reyna sent “multiple messages” to U.S. Soccer top brass during the World Cup that threatened to expose sensitive details about Berhalter. Those messages began after Claudio’s son Gio was told by Berhalter that he would have a “limited role” before the start of the World Cup. However, in a statement sent to Fox Sports and reported by Doug McIntyre, Danielle says she was the one who reported the 1991 domestic violence incident.
“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,” Danielle Reyna said.— Doug McIntyre (@ByDougMcIntyre) January 4, 2023
The disclosure of the domestic violence incident came on Dec. 11, the same night that comments Berhalter made at a leadership conference about how a player, later confirmed to be Gio Reyna, was almost sent home from the World Cup were made public. Berhalter, whose contract expired on Dec. 31, 2022, is now under investigation for the domestic violence incident, while U.S. Soccer is also investigating “potential inappropriate behavior towards multiple members of our staff by individuals outside of our organization.” As a result, assistant Anthony Hudson was named by U.S. Soccer earlier today as the coach who will lead the USMNT for friendlies against Serbia and Colombia later this month.
“To set the record straight, I did call (U.S. 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,” Danielle Reyna said in a statement on Wednesday. “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. 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 U.S. Soccer to address abuse of women players, and I understand now he had an obligation to investigate what I shared. 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 U.S. Soccer about this matter before December 11, and no one else in my family has made any statements to U.S. 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.”
Claudio Reyna is currently the sporting director for Austin FC, where Berhalter’s son Sebastian played on loan from the Columbus Crew during the 2021 season. The option to convert his loan into a permanent transfer was declined at the end of the season by Reyna and Austin FC, and he returned to Columbus. He was later traded to the Vancouver Whitecaps. In addition to Claudio and Gregg being teammates on the USMNT, they were also high school teammates. Gregg’s wife Rosalind was college roommates and teammates with Danielle Reyna, and the two families have considered themselves extremely close for a long time. That relationship can be considered permanently broken at this point.
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