Content warning: This article contains mentions of assault and battery.
The independent investigation into United States Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter’s domestic violence incident from 1992 has concluded. On Monday, U.S. Soccer released the Alston & Bird legal report, which concluded that there was “no basis” that employing Berhalter would be a legal risk for the organization, past or in the future. Furthermore, as a result of the persistent attempted meddling from Claudio and Danielle Reyna, parents of current USMNT star Gio Reyna, U.S. Soccer plans to implement new policies concerning contact with U.S. Soccer officials for parents and other outsiders.
The full investigation concluded that Berhalter had no wrongdoing beyond the 1992 domestic violence incident that occurred outside a bar in Chapel Hill, N.C., where Berhalter and his then-girlfriend Rosalind had an argument that led to Rosalind hitting Gregg in the face. Gregg Berhalter then pushed her to the ground, kicking her twice before being tackled by an unknown passerby.
Rosalind and Gregg Berhalter, who released a joint statement back in early January, each interviewed individually with Alston & Bird. The report finds that Gregg “acknowledged his culpability” and reported the assault to his UNC head coach after it happened. The couple reconciled seven months later, and the investigators commissioned by U.S. Soccer concluded that there was no evidence that contradicted either Rosalind Berhalter or Gregg Berhalter’s account of the 1992 domestic violence incident.
The investigators did find evidence that contradicts many of the statements made by Claudio Reyna and his wife, Danielle Reyna, that prompted the entire investigation. The Reynas were the ones who reported Berhalter’s domestic violence incident to U.S. Soccer officials back in December.
However, while Claudio Reyna declined to be interviewed by legal investigators, witnesses who were interviewed described a “pattern of periodic outreach” from Claudio Reyna to U.S. Soccer “to convey certain complaints and comments about U.S. Soccer’s treatment of his children, including primarily his son,” current USMNT player Gio Reyna. The Reynas’ complaints began as early as 2016, when Gio was involved with the U.S. youth national teams. The complaints continued during the 2022 World Cup, particularly after the Wales game, when it was determined that both Claudio and Danielle Reyna “each made a vague comment to U.S. Soccer officials suggesting they knew damaging information about Mr. Berhalter that U.S. Soccer did not know.”
After the World Cup, when Gregg Berhalter’s comments about an anonymous player from a leadership conference were attributed to being about Gio, Claudio and Danielle contacted then-U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart several times via text and then spoke with him on the phone. It was then that Danielle told Stewart about the 1992 incident, saying that Gregg Berhalter “beat the [expletive] out of” Rosalind. Earnie Stewart reported the allegation that night, and U.S. Soccer launched an independent investigation shortly after.
Legal investigators concluded that there was no evidence Gregg Berhalter withheld the incident from U.S. Soccer when he was being interviewed for the USMNT head coach position back in 2018. With no formal complaint filed or police report, U.S. Soccer would not have found out about the domestic violence incident via any background criminal check. It was also determined that none of the questions U.S. Soccer asked Berhalter during his interviews would have required Berhalter to disclose information about the 1992 domestic violence incident. The report goes on to conclude that Gregg Berhalter did not mislead the U.S. Soccer Federation about the incident.
U.S. Soccer released a statement shortly after the release of the report that indicated that with “no legal impediment” to having Gregg Berhalter as an employee, he “remains a candidate” to serve another term as USMNT head coach. The federation also stated that the investigation “identifies a need to revisit U.S. Soccer’s policies concerning appropriate parental conduct and communications with staff at the National Team level. We will be updating those policies as we continue to work to ensure safe environments for all participants in our game.”
While the investigation has concluded, this entire saga has put many people in terrible situations, most especially Rosalind Berhalter, who has had to relive an ugly incident in her life over and over because her friends wanted her husband out of a job. However, with the legal investigation closed, U.S. Soccer is free to continue their search for a new sporting director and USMNT head coach, and Gregg Berhalter officially remains a candidate for the latter.