Gregg Berhalter remains eligible for consideration as the U.S. Men’s National Team head coach, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced Monday.
The conclusion stemmed following the release of findings from an independent investigation into allegations of domestic abuse against the 49-year-old manager.
The investigation, spearheaded by Atlanta-based law firm Alston & Bird, concluded that Berhalter “likely constituted the misdemeanor crime of assault on a female” but had not improperly withheld information and remains a candidate for the position.
This wraps up the investigation dating back to December 2022, when Danielle Reyna, mother of current USMNT player Gio Reyna, approached then-U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart claiming Berhalter “beat the s--- out of” his now wife, Rosalind, in 1992 while all three were student-athletes at the University of North Carolina.
Reyna’s claim came just over a week after the U.S. Men’s National Team and her son, Gio, had been eliminated from the World Cup.
In the intermediary, Berhalter spoke at a leadership summit where he referenced “a player clearly not meeting expectations on and off the field.” He went on to detail that he and his staff considered sending said player home from Qatar in the middle of the tournament, before ultimately giving him the option to apologize to his teammates and move forward.
While the comments, which Berhalter believed to be off the record, never mentioned Gio Reyna by name, his lack of playing time and body language had been noted by members of the media throughout the tournament. The 20-year-old ultimately confirmed that he was the subject of Berhalter’s speech in an Instagram post claiming Berhalter told him prior to the World Cup that he’d have a limited role in Qatar, leaving him “devastated.”
Gio Reyna continued by acknowledging that he let his emotions get the best of him and was told he’d been forgiven after apologizing. He wrapped up his statement by expressing disappointment that the issue continued to circulate post-World Cup with “some highly fictionalized versions of events.”
Danielle Reyna’s allegations reportedly came hours after Berhalter’s comments were made public.
The connection between the two families dates back even further than their college days. Berhalter played alongside Claudio Reyna, Danielle’s husband and Gio’s father, in high school at St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, N.J. The two both continued their careers in the ACC before being reunited on the national team. Reyna, a former USMNT captain, made his World Cup debut in 1998, before being joined by Berhalter for the next two World Cups.
The report by Alston & Bird commended Berhalter for his “candor and demeanor during the Investigation.” They added that they were “less impressed with the Reynas’ cooperation during the Investigation” citing Claudio’s refusal to participate and Danielle’s limited participation that resulted in the “story [evolving] over the course of the Investigation.”
The report also revealed a pattern of outreach by Claudio Reyna they described as “inappropriate,” “bullying” and “mean spirited.” Reyna served as a sporting director in the MLS from 2013 to this past January, when he announced he was transitioning to a Technical Advisor role with Austin FC in the midst of this investigation.
Some of the incidents the report cites include a 2016 attempt to intervene and overturn a red card against Gio and complaints about a female referee during a 2018 match that involved Gio.
The investigation concluded that neither of the Reyna’s actions reached the level of violating criminal law, U.S. Soccer policy or SafeSport rules. However, it did say the complaints raised a “legitimate issue” about whether or not Claudio Reyna violated the FIFA Code of Ethics rules and regulation.
Berhalter’s four-year contract ended on Dec. 31. Stewart, still at the helm at the time, appointed Anthony Hudson as interim manager, a position he still holds today.
The future for Gio Reyna and Gregg Berhalter with the U.S. Men’s National Team remains up in the air, but both are eligible for consideration for the 2024 Copa América and the 2026 World Cup, both in North America.