The family of former US captain Claudio Reyna has said it notified the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) of a decades-old incident involving head coach Gregg Berhalter and his wife in response to the coach’s disparagement of Claudio’s son, young star Gio Reyna.
The USSF commissioned an investigation by an outside law firm following reports that Berhalter kicked the woman who would become his wife in 1991.
Berhalter said on Tuesday that his behaviour was “shameful” and that he was “looking forward to continuing my conversations with US Soccer about the future”.
He also said in a statement that a person contacted the USSF “saying that they had information about me that would ’take me down’”.
Former US women’s player Danielle Reyna – the wife of former national team captain Claudio – said she told USSF sporting director Earnie Stewart of the incident on December 11, five days after Berhalter made remarks at the HOW Institute for Society’s Summit on Moral Leadership that did not cite a player by name but clearly were criticism of Gio Reyna.
Berhalter told a conference after returning from Qatar that a player on the team was “clearly not meeting expectations on and off the field”. Gio Reyna, 20, later confirmed in an Instagram post that Berhalter was talking about him.
“I wanted to let him know that I was absolutely outraged and devastated that Gio had been put in such a terrible position, and that I felt very personally betrayed by the actions of someone my family had considered a friend for decades,” Danielle Reyna said in a statement on Wednesday.
“As part of that conversation, I told Earnie that I thought it was especially unfair that Gio, who had apologised for acting immaturely about his playing time, was still being dragged through the mud when Gregg had asked for and received forgiveness for doing something so much worse at the same age.”
The controversy has become a messy public dispute.
“Obviously this is a not a positive time for soccer in this country and for our men’s national team,” USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone said Wednesday during a news conference.
Berhalter, who played for the men’s team in the 2002 World Cup, led the squad to this year’s tournament where they were knocked out by the Netherlands in the last 16.
His contract expired on December 31 and he was considered a frontrunner to retain the position.
The federation on Wednesday announced that current assistant coach Anthony Hudson would lead the team during its January camp while a “technical review” of the men’s national team program was conducted.