Jan 6, 2023 - Sports

USMNT's family feud heats up

Berhalter and Reyna

Gregg Berhalter talks to Gio Reyna during the USMNT's quarterfinal loss to Netherlands in Qatar. Photo: Maurice Van Stone/AFP via Getty Images

The Berhalters and Reynas may not be exchanging holiday cards again any time soon.

Driving the news: USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter, 49, went public on Tuesday with a domestic violence incident from his past.

  • When he was 18 — four months into dating his now-wife Rosalind at UNC — they got into a drunken argument that ended with him kicking her in the legs.
  • She immediately left him, but seven months later they reconciled.
  • They've been married for 25 years, have four children, and "to this day, that type of behavior has never been repeated," he wrote.

The backdrop: It turns out the reason Berhalter shared the story is that Danielle Reyna — wife of former USMNT captain Claudio and mother of current USMNT midfielder Gio — had already told U.S. Soccer about it last month out of frustration at her son's treatment at the World Cup.

  • Berhalter singled out Reyna — not by name, but everyone knew who he was talking about — after the team's World Cup exit, saying they "had a player that was clearly not meeting expectations on and off the field." In fact, Gio was nearly sent home from Qatar.
  • It was after those comments that Danielle told U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart about Berhalter's incident, at which point U.S. Soccer hired a law firm to conduct an investigation.
  • Danielle was acting not only as an upset parent, but as a friend who witnessed the original incident's fallout firsthand. But as Berhalter said in a live interview on Thursday, "It was [my wife's] story to tell, if she chose to or not. That's what really saddens me."

What they're saying: "Rosalind Berhalter was my roommate, [UNC soccer] teammate and best friend, and I supported her through the trauma that followed," Danielle said in a statement on Wednesday.

  • "It took a long time for me to forgive and accept Gregg afterward, but I worked hard to give him grace, and ultimately made both of them and their kids a huge part of my family's life."
  • "I would have wanted and expected him to give the same grace to Gio. This is why the current situation is so very hurtful and hard."

Between the lines: Gio's father Claudio played alongside Gregg for decades at the youth, high school and national levels. These families are — or at least were — very close.

The big picture: This incident will always be a part of the USMNT's 2022 World Cup story, and could impact the team's trajectory towards 2026.

  • Berhalter's contract expired on Dec. 31, but Stewart said Wednesday that he could be re-hired pending results of the investigation.
  • In the meantime, assistant Anthony Hudson has been named interim coach for the USMNT's January friendlies.
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