Content warning: This article accommodates mentions of assault and battery.
An investigation into decades-old home violence involving former U.S. males’s nationwide crew coach Gregg Berhalter unearthed extra particulars of Berhalter’s 1992 assault of his now-wife, and revealed how the mother and father of USMNT star Gio Reyna compelled these particulars again into the limelight.
The investigation, which was commissioned by U.S. Soccer and carried out by attorneys on the Alston & Bird legislation agency, cleared Berhalter of additional wrongdoing past the 1992 incident, which Berhalter publicly detailed in January. And U.S. Soccer, in a press release launched alongside the report, mentioned that Berhalter “stays a candidate to function head coach” of the USMNT going ahead.
But on that January evening in 1992, whereas ingesting as 18-year-old school college students at a nightclub referred to as Players in North Carolina, Berhalter and his then-girlfriend, Rosalind, “started to argue contained in the bar,” Alston & Bird investigators wrote of their report. “They left the bar collectively and continued to argue; as soon as exterior, [Rosalind] hit [Gregg] within the face; [Gregg] pushed her to the bottom and kicked her twice; [Gregg] was tackled by a passerby, not recognized to both of the Berhalters.”
Beyond these particulars, the investigative report, which U.S. Soccer launched Monday, largely corroborated Gregg’s public account of the aftermath, which included a reconciliation between him and Rosalind seven months later.
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“Mr. Berhalter acknowledged his culpability and his have to be accountable the day after the incident occurred in 1992,” the investigating attorneys wrote. “The witnesses additional confirmed that Mr. Berhalter instantly self-reported the assault to his head coach at UNC the day after the 1992 Incident occurred, and, of his personal accord, took steps to stop it from taking place once more.”
Claudio Reyna’s ‘sample’
The investigation, however, usually contradicted public statements given by Claudio and Danielle Reyna, the mother and father of Gio and longtime buddies of the Berhalters, who instructed U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart in regards to the 1992 incident on a Dec. 11 telephone name amid frustration over Gio’s lack of taking part in time on the World Cup.
But that was not an remoted name; investigators discovered that Claudio — who, by way of an lawyer, refused their requests for an interview — had a “sample of periodic outreach” to U.S. Soccer officers “to convey sure complaints and feedback about U.S. Soccer’s remedy of his youngsters, together with primarily his son.” That sample continued by means of the 2022 World Cup, but it surely didn’t start there.
His habits was described by one unnamed individual as “inappropriate,” “bullying,” and “mean-spirited.” It began as early as 2016, when Gio was a teen on U.S. youth teams and for New York City FC in U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy. Claudio once attempted to persuade U.S. Soccer officials to overturn a red card that Gio had received. In 2018, he wrote an email complaining about a female referee: “Can we get real and have male refs for a game like this. Its embarrassing guys. What are we trying to prove? A game like this deserves bett[e]r attention.”
In 2019, Claudio despatched messages that foreshadowed his habits in 2022. He texted Berhalter to complain about U.S. U-17 coach Raphaël Wicky throughout the U-17 World Cup. “He’s the worst coach,” Claudio wrote.
“When issues don’t go nice for Gio, [the Reynas] pivot and go into assault mode,” Gregg instructed investigators. And that is what they did this previous November.
The Reynas’ World Cup anger and obscure threats
The investigation revealed that, after the USMNT’s opener towards Wales, by which Gio didn’t play, Claudio and Danielle “every made a obscure remark to U.S. Soccer officers suggesting they knew damaging details about Mr. Berhalter that U.S. Soccer didn’t know.”
“What a complete and utter f***ing joke,” Claudio texted Stewart that night. “Our family is disgusted in case you are wondering. Disgusted at how a coach is allowed to never be challenged and do whatever he wants.”
He additionally texted USMNT normal supervisor Brian McBride: “Our entire family is disgusted, angry, and done with you guys. Don’t expect nice comments from anyone in our family about US Soccer. I’m being transparent to you not like the political clown show of the federation.”
Three days later, based on McBride, at a gathering that he’d scheduled with the Reynas to elucidate Gio’s lack of taking part in time, Claudio instructed McBride: “You guys don’t even know what we know about Gregg.”
Danielle, in the meantime, after the Wales recreation, refused to board a bus that her household had been sharing with Berhalter’s household for transportation to and from matches. Prior to that evening, Danielle and Rosalind had been shut buddies, relationship again to their days as roommates at UNC. They “had talked every single day for many years,” Gregg instructed investigators. “And it ended instantly.”
The following day, at a lunch occasion for USMNT households and buddies, based on an unnamed witness, she mentioned one thing to the impact of: “Once this tournament is over, I can make one phone call and give one interview, and [Gregg’s] cool sneakers and bounce passes will be gone.”
“The vibe was like, ‘I can take him down,’” the unnamed witness instructed investigators.
“There had been 150 individuals within the [USMNT’s] Friends and Family program at this 12 months’s World Cup,” Berhalter instructed investigators. “All had been having a good time — apart from 5 individuals who had been completely depressing. Those 5 had been cursing, appearing horribly. It was the Reynas.”
World Cup aftermath
The World Cup drama appeared to have subsided by early December, after the USMNT misplaced 3-1 to the Netherlands within the Round of 16. Then, en route again residence from Qatar, Gregg stopped in New York and attended the HOW Institute for Society’s Summit on Moral Leadership. During a session that he believed was primarily off the report, he instructed a narrative about how he’d virtually despatched a misbehaving U.S. participant residence throughout the World Cup. He didn’t title the participant, however hours after his feedback had been printed on Dec. 11, subsequent reviews confirmed that the participant was Gio.
Stewart primarily confirmed these reviews and Berhalter’s account to investigators. He mentioned that Gio “walk[ed] around, and mope[d] around the whole time” during a scrimmage days before the Wales match, and “seemed ticked off” and “did not appear to be trying at all. After a conversation between Berhalter and Gio, Gio’s insufficient effort continued, which led to conversations among officials and coaches about whether to send Gio home.”
According to Stewart, Berhalter made the decision to let Gio stay, on the condition that Gio apologize to teammates — which he ultimately did. After the apology, by all accounts, there were no more issues.
But then, a week after the USMNT’s elimination, Berhalter’s comments circulated. That day, Claudio “sent a series of text messages” to Stewart, investigators found. Both Claudio and Danielle then spoke with Stewart on the phone. According to Stewart, near the end of an hour-long call, Danielle alleged that Gregg had “beat the s*** out of” Rosalind throughout their freshman 12 months of school.
When contacted by investigators, after what they referred to as “a number of makes an attempt to schedule an interview,” Danielle initially denied having talked to Stewart that day. “She then referred to as again virtually instantly,” investigators wrote, and admitted to the decision and the allegation.
“Specifically, Mrs. Reyna mentioned she introduced up the incident to Mr. Stewart of their telephone name on December eleventh as a result of Mr. Berhalter has put her in two conditions the place he damage two individuals she ‘liked past phrases’ and he or she ‘can’t consider a person has executed that twice.’ [Danielle] mentioned she was referring to the struggle [Gregg] had with [Rosalind] and the ‘public outing [of] Gio.’ She defined additional that she instructed Mr. Stewart in regards to the 1992 Incident as a result of he’s a good friend and he or she wished him to know her emotions.”
Stewart, although, felt obligated to report the allegation that evening. He referred to as Alison Kocoras, U.S. Soccer’s senior counsel, who relayed to investigators that Danielle instructed Stewart that, though she’d by no means “go public” with the 1992 assault allegation, she’d begin speaking about it privately.
U.S. Soccer subsequently tabbed Alston & Bird to guide the investigation. Just a few weeks later, U.S. Soccer announced that, whereas the investigation was ongoing, its scope had broadened to incorporate “potential inappropriate habits in direction of a number of members of our workers by people exterior of our group.”
Technically, the investigation concluded, neither Claudio nor Danielle violated any U.S. Soccer insurance policies — however that is largely as a result of U.S. Soccer didn’t have agency insurance policies governing parent-employee interactions. The federation mentioned in its Monday assertion that it will “revisit” its “insurance policies regarding acceptable parental conduct and communications with workers on the nationwide crew stage. We shall be updating these insurance policies as we proceed to work to make sure protected environments for all members in our recreation.”
Where Berhalter, Reynas go from right here
Prior to the investigation, Berhalter was the robust favourite to retain his job as USMNT coach for an additional 4 years, by means of the 2026 World Cup. But the investigation muddied his future and put U.S. Soccer’s post-World Cup processes on maintain.
Berhalter’s contract expired on Dec. 31. In early January, federation officers mentioned he remained a candidate to guide the crew going ahead, and Berhalter mentioned he’d “prefer to proceed in my position.” But then Stewart, the person who initially employed him in 2018 and now had the facility to re-hire him, left his publish to take a job at PSV Eindhoven within the Netherlands.
With McBride additionally leaving — a choice he says he made back in October — Berhalter has misplaced two of his greatest allies inside U.S. Soccer. He seems to be an extended shot for a second cycle as USMNT coach, though U.S. Soccer’s interpretation of the investigation was that “there isn’t a authorized obstacle to using him.”
Berhalter, chatting with Yahoo Sports Monday evening by way of telephone from London, mentioned that he and Rosalind are “wanting ahead to the subsequent steps. We’re glad that [the investigation is] completed, that it’s concluded, and we look ahead to what comes subsequent.” He declined to elaborate.
A choice on the USMNT’s teaching future shall be made by the subsequent sporting director. In its Monday assertion, U.S. Soccer mentioned that interviews for the sporting director position are underway.
As for Gio, a number of U.S. Soccer figures have pressured that nothing from the investigation will impair his relationship with the USMNT going ahead. Interim head coach Anthony Hudson met with Gio in Germany final month. The 20-year-old attacking midfielder ought to stay a key a chunk for the crew this 12 months, all through the 2026 World Cup cycle, and past.
As for Claudio, he stepped down from his place as Austin FC’s sporting director amid the scandal.
In a press release Monday evening, the Reynas’ agent, Dan Segal, primarily argued that the household had been mischaracterized by the Alston & Bird report:
“Anyone who is aware of the Reynas is aware of that they’re type, beneficiant individuals who have devoted numerous hours and vitality to selling US soccer and to the welfare of so many fellow gamers, mother and father, coaches, directors and others,” Segal wrote. “They are additionally a tremendously loving household that was profoundly impacted by the horrible lack of their eldest son Jack to most cancers in 2012 on the age of 13.
“Claudio and Danielle acknowledge that they’ve mentioned and executed issues within the warmth of the second that they remorse, notably the assertion that triggered the US Soccer investigation. Gio acknowledges that, like numerous gamers earlier than, he confirmed an excessive amount of disappointment when not chosen to play on the World Cup.
“That is just a part of the story right here, however the one aspect of the story that the investigators selected to inform. It is disheartening and grossly unfair to see the household changed into one-dimensional caricatures to progress a story that advantages others. Hopefully, as a US soccer neighborhood we’re higher than that.”
In a Monday e-mail to Alston & Bird’s lead investigator, the Reynas’ lawyer, Anirudh Bansal, additionally argued that Claudio was not given a possibility to reply to “dated occasions.” The investigators, although, mentioned they tried a number of instances to interview Claudio, and Bansal declined these requests. He as a substitute provided solely a “proffer” — an alternate of data between attorneys.
Amid the back-and-forth, in January emails, Bansal questioned the relevance of the Reynas’ actions to the investigation, and questioned U.S. Soccer’s “targets.” He wrote “that any effort to defame my shoppers in a public assertion — whether or not in a report of investigation or in any other case — shall be met with acceptable motion within the courts.”