The biggest question surrounding the United States men’s national team’s run at 2023 FIFA World Cup in Qatar was the extent to which Gregg Berhalter used Gio Reyna, a talented forward. Reyna was only allowed to play seven minutes during group play, despite the demand of nearly everyone. He was called on in the second period against the Netherlands with the United States leading, but he couldn’t help them overcome the 2-0 deficit. The USMNT was defeated by 3-1.
New reporting by ESPNReyna’s coach handled Reyna beyond his coaching decisions and now forms part of an investigation into U.S. soccer.
This seems to also be breaking up a family relationship that was once close.
Reporting from ESPNClaudio Reyna, the former USMNT Captain — Gio Reyna’s father and former teammate on Berhalter’s USMNT — and Danielle are accused of having contacted U.S. soccer executives about sensitive information regarding Berhalter’s history. Berhalter’s comments after the World Cup at an executive conference are what caused their frustration.
Claudio also expressed frustration at the USMNT’s treatment of his son to U.S Soccer officials during World Cup. In statements made Wednesday, both Claudio Reyna as well as Danielle Reyna acknowledged that they had spoken to officials.
Let’s start with the news from Tuesday this week. This is the report ESPN This comes after a Berhalter statement was made on Tuesday and a U.S. soccer follow-up. Berhalter, along with Rosalind, describe a domestic violence incident that occurred during Berhalter’s first year at North Carolina. According to the statement Berhalter committed an act of violence against Rosalind one night. Rosalind and I were both just 18 years old, freshmen in college. Rosalind and me had an argument outside after we went out to drink at the local bar. The argument turned physical, and she was kicked in the legs by me.
This statement also described how they reconciled and celebrated their 25th anniversary. The lessons from that night, more than three decades ago, became the basis for loving, supportive, and dedicated relationships, which were honored with this weekend’s 25th anniversary.
Berhalter’s statement, which was made before he described the college incident, also indicated that Berhalter “[d]An individual called U.S. soccer during the World Cup to inform them that they had data about me and would “take my down”. This was an apparent attempt to use something personal to end my relationship with U.S.S. Soccer.
U.S Soccer issued their statement fifteen minutes later. It reads in part:
U.S. soccer immediately engaged Alston and Bird LLP for an investigation after learning about the allegations against Gregg Berhalter, head coach of U.S. Men’s National Team.
U.S. Soccer learned of inappropriate behaviour towards several members of staff from individuals who were not part of the organization through this investigation. These allegations are serious and we have expanded our investigations to address them.
What is the significance of the date of notation? Berhalter addressed the HOW Institute for Society’s Summit on Moral Leadership, New York on December 11. Berhalter revealed that he almost sent one player from Qatar home because he wasn’t meeting his expectations.
Berhalter didn’t identify the player, however Gio Reyna posted a message to social media that day, stating that the player was in fact Berhalter. Reyna said that after being informed about his role in the World Cup’s limited organization, he let his emotions take over. [him]:”
My emotions are strong and sometimes I get carried away. I have admitted that my emotions affected my behavior and training for several days following learning of my role. My teammates and coach accepted my apology and told me I had been forgiven. After that, I was able to shake off my disappointments and give everything I had both on the field and off.
Gio Reyna also stated that he believed the matter was over and that he hoped to forget it. I believe that team events should be kept private. However, I felt the need to give a short statement because statements made have reflected on my professionalism, character and integrity.
Danielle Reyna Reyna confirmed that Reyna reached out to U.S. soccer after Berhalter’s remarks became public. Rosalind was her college roommate. A statement that she gave to Goal.comAfter Berhalter’s remarks were published, Berhalter did not hesitate to contact U.S. Soccer. She was outraged that Gio was in such an awful position.
Danielle Reyna stated in Wednesday’s statement that she called Earnie Stewart, U.S. Soccer’s sporting director. This was after Gregg made negative comments about Gio during a leadership conference. Earnie Stewart is a friend and a person I have known for many years. “I wanted to tell him that my family considered Earnie a close friend and I was outraged that Gio had been placed in such an awful situation.
Earnie said that he thought it unfair that Gio who apologized for his immature behavior about playing time was being still being pulled through the mud. Gregg asked for forgiveness and was granted that. The statements of yesterday greatly minimized the violence that occurred on the night. Rosalind Berhalter, my best friend and teammate was my roommate. I helped her navigate the subsequent trauma. Although it took me a while to accept Gregg and to forgive him, I persevered and gave grace to both them and their children. He should have shown the same kindness to Gio as I expected. It is this reason that the present situation is so difficult and hurtful.”
Danielle Reyna has denied all allegations of “blackmail”:
Earnie said that many were vilifying Gio online due to Gregg’s comments. I wasn’t sure when this would end. Earnie was just there to make sure my son wasn’t subjected to any more unwarranted criticisms. While I assumed that our conversation would be kept confidential, it occurred to me later on that any comments I made could result in an investigation. Earnie is not being criticized. U.S. Soccer’s recent initiatives to combat abuse of female players are admirable. I also understand that he was required to look into what I had shared. However, I must be clear. I didn’t ask Gregg for his firing, and I made no threats. I also don’t have any information about blackmail or discussions with Gregg’s other staff members. I do not know the coaches. “I have not spoken to anyone at U.S. Soccer concerning this matter since December 11th, and I don’t know of any other family members who made statements about Gregg’s history.”
Claudio Reyna issued a statement Wednesday afternoon confirming his frustrations with the World Cup experience of his son with some close friends including Earnie Stearn:
Claudio states that Stewart was asked by Claudio to stop any further comments, and that Stewart never threatened anybody.
Claudio currently serves as the sporting director of Austin FC. This is where Sebastian Berhalter, Berhalter’s child, once played. Claudio Berhalter and Gregg Berhalter not only were teammates in the USMNT but also played together high school.
All this is becoming clear as Berhalter’s contract to coach the USMNT ended at the end 2022. U.S. Soccer stated in their statement that they would announce the decision about who will coach the January USMNT camp within the next few days. U.S. soccer announced Wednesday that Anthony Hudson, the current assistant coach for the USMNT, would be leading the team at a camp in California. This announcement came “with the ongoing investigation by U.S.S.Soccer and U.S.Soccer’s complete review of USMNT programs following the conclusion to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”
This timeline is confusing and Alston & Bird LLP will be focusing their investigation. Berhalter claims that U.S. soccer was contacted during the World Cup. Danielle Reyna, however, points out that Berhalter’s comments did not address Berhalter’s past incident and were made after the World Cup ended.
Claudio Reyna’s statement highlights the fact that he vented his frustrations at the World Cup.
U.S. Soccer stated that it would publish the findings of its investigation after they are done.