March 31, 2023
Investigation Reveals Extent of Gregg Berhalter's 1992 Assault, Claudio Reyna's Meddling and Threats

Investigation Reveals Extent of Gregg Berhalter’s 1992 Assault, Claudio Reyna’s Meddling and Threats

Gregg Berhalter and Reyna during the USMNT World Cup 2022 Round of 16 match against the Netherlands. (Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports)

Content Warning: This article contains mentions of assault and battery.

A decades-long domestic violence investigation involving former US men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter has uncovered more details of Berhalter’s assault on his now-wife in 1992, revealing how the USMNT star’s parents , Gio Reyna, forced those details to return to the spotlight.

The investigation, which was commissioned by US Soccer and carried out by lawyers from the Alston & Bird law firm, cleared Berhalter of more crimes than the 1992 incident, which Berhalter publicly detailed in January. And US Soccer, in a statement released along with the report, said Berhalter “remains a candidate to serve as head coach” of the USMNT in the future.

But that night in January 1992, while drinking as 18-year-old college students at a bar called Players in North Carolina, Berhalter and his then-girlfriend, Rosalind, “began to argue inside the bar,” Alston & Bird investigators wrote. . in your report. “They left the bar together and continued to argue; once outside, Ms. Berhalter punched Mr. Berhalter in the face; Mr. Berhalter knocked her to the ground and kicked her twice; Mr. Berhalter was tackled by a passerby, unknown to any of the Berhalters”.

Beyond those details, the investigative report, which US Soccer released Monday, largely corroborated Gregg Berhalter’s public account of the fallout, which included a reconciliation between Gregg and Rosalind seven months later.

“Mr. Berhalter acknowledged his guilt and his need to be held accountable the day after the incident occurred in 1992,” the investigating attorneys wrote. “Witnesses further confirmed that Mr. Berhalter immediately self-reported the assault on his head coach at UNC the day after the 1992 Incident occurred and, of his own free will, took steps to prevent it from happening again.” “.

The intrusion of the Queens

The investigation, on the other hand, often contradicted public statements given by Claudio and Danielle Reyna, Gio’s parents and longtime friends of the Berhalters, who told US Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart about the 1992 incident at a December 11 phone call amid frustration over Gio’s lack of playing time at the World Cup.

But that was not an isolated call; Investigators found that Claudio, who declined their interview requests, had a “pattern of regularly reaching out” to US Soccer officials “to relay certain complaints and comments about US Soccer’s treatment of his children, including primarily his son.” .

That behavior started as far back as 2016, when Gio was an American youth player. He continued through the World Cup. After the first USMNT game against Wales, in which Gio did not play, Claudio and Danielle “each made a vague comment to US Soccer officials suggesting they knew damaging information about Mr. Berhalter that US Soccer did not.”

The World Cup drama seemed to have subsided in early December when the USMNT were knocked out in the round of 16. Then, on the way home from Qatar, Berhalter stopped in New York and attended the HOW Institute for Society Summit on Moral Leadership. During a session that he believed to be essentially off the record, he told a story about how he almost sent home a misbehaving American player during the World Cup. He did not name the player, but hours after comments about him were posted on December 11, later reports confirmed that the player was Gio.

As Berhalter’s comments and those reports circulated, the investigation found, Claudio “sent a series of text messages” to Stewart. Both Claudio and Danielle later spoke to Stewart on the phone. “Mr. Stewart explained that, near the end of an hour-long phone call with the Reynas, Ms. Reyna alleged that Mr. Berhalter had physically assaulted his then-girlfriend and now wife, Rosalind Santana Berhalter, in the decade 1990s,” the researchers wrote. . Stewart told investigators that Danielle told her that Gregg “beat the crap out of” Rosalind during her freshman year of college.

Stewart reported the allegation that night. US Soccer signed Alston & Bird to lead the investigation. A few weeks later, USA Soccer Announced that, while the investigation was ongoing, its scope had been expanded to include “potentially inappropriate behavior towards various members of our staff by persons outside our organization.”

Before the investigation, Berhalter was heavily favored to retain his job as USMNT coach for another four years, until the 2026 World Cup. But the investigation clouded his future and put post-World Cup proceedings on hold. of US Soccer. Berhalter’s contract expired on December 31.

In early January, federation officials said he was still a candidate to lead the team going forward, with Berhalter saying he “would like to continue in my position.” But then Stewart, the man who originally signed him in 2018 and now had the power to re-hire him, left his role to take a job with PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

With McBride also leaving: a decision he says he did in october — Berhalter has lost two of his greatest allies within US Soccer. It appears to be a long shot for a second stint as USMNT coach, but that decision, according to US Soccer, will be up to the new sports director.

In its statement Monday, US Soccer said interviews for the sporting director position are underway.

US Soccer also said the investigation “identifies a need to review US Soccer’s policies regarding appropriate parental conduct and communications with staff at the national team level. We will update those policies as we continue to work to ensure environments safe for all participants in our game.”

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