Gregg Berhalter remains a candidate for the U.S. men’s national team’s head coaching job, the U.S. Soccer Federation said Monday upon the release of an independent report into domestic abuse allegations against the coach.
Berhalter had acknowledged his role in a violent incident with his then-girlfriend and now wife Rosalind Berhalter in 1991, an admission that came shortly after Danielle Reyna — the couple’s college friend, husband of Claudio Reyna, and mother of USMNT player Giovanni Reyna — reported it to the federation.
Berhalter and his wife were 18 and drinking at a bar when an argument spilled outside, leading to Rosalind punching Berhalter in the face and the then-UNC player pushing her to the ground and kicking her twice.
[ MORE: 10 things we learned from Premier League Week 27 ]
It also said that Berhalter reported the incident to his coach the next day and “took full responsibility for his actions,” stating that, “his description of the incident was consistent in all material ways with Mrs. Berhalter’s separate independent account of the incident as described in her interview. It was also consistent with the accounts provided by several other witnesses to whom Mr. and Mrs. Berhalter had reported the 1992 Incident in the days immediately following that incident.”
The report also revealed that Claudio Reyna had tried to interfere with USSF plans for his son since 2016, describing “a pattern of periodic outreach by Mr. Reyna to U.S. Soccer officials and staff from in or around 2016 through the end of 2022, the purpose of which was to convey certain complaints and comments about U.S. Soccer’s treatment of his children, including primarily his son, USMNT player Gio Reyna. Witnesses reported that Mr. Reyna’s past actions involved attempts to influence decisions by U.S. Soccer officials and staff concerning his children on issues ranging from travel arrangements to the impact of on–pitch refereeing decisions.”
Former USSF sporting director Earnie Stewart says in the report that he believed the Reynas reported the 1991 incident “so that U.S. Soccer would not hire Mr. Berhalter for another term.”
The report says that Claudio Reyna once tried to get one of Giovanni Reyna’s red cards overturned and once complained that a female referee was assigned to a USYNT boys game, and says Stewart said he’s never in his career been approached by a parent in such a manner.
It concludes that Claudio Reyna’s actions did not rise to the legal level of either extortion or blackmail, and that Claudio Reyna’s messages did not violate USSF policies. The report says Claudio Reyna’s actions may violate FIFA’s Code of Ethics.
Berhalter is currently away from the team after his contract’s expiration but has expressed interest in retaining his position. His assistant coach Anthony Hudson is currently the interim coach.
Read the full release from U.S. Soccer, which includes a link to the investigators’ report, after the jump.
U.S. Soccer statement regarding completion of investigation concerning Gregg Berhalter
In December 2022, upon learning of a serious allegation of past misconduct against then-U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter, U.S. Soccer immediately engaged a team at Alston & Bird LLP – led by Jenny Kramer, BJay Pak and Chris Marquardt – to conduct an independent investigation into the matter. Based on facts revealed in the course of this process, U.S. Soccer asked the Alston & Bird team to expand the scope of their investigation to include potential inappropriate behavior toward U.S. Soccer officials and staff in connection with the allegation that prompted the inquiry. The investigation has now concluded, and a report detailing its findings has been delivered to U.S. Soccer. That report is available in full, with appropriate redactions made to protect staff privacy, on the U.S. Soccer website.
U.S. Soccer takes seriously both allegations of violence and allegations of inappropriate behavior toward our officials and staff. We appreciate Alston & Bird’s thorough and diligent work and are grateful to all who participated in this investigation.
U.S. Soccer’s process for determining who will serve as Sporting Director is ongoing, and interviews are underway. The Sporting Director will lead the process of determining who will serve as head coach of the Men’s National Team. Given the investigators’ conclusion that there is no legal impediment to employing him, Gregg Berhalter remains a candidate to serve as head coach of the Men’s National Team.
The report also 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.