Explained: What's subsequent for USMNT as report finds Reyna 'bullying,' Berhalter advised reality
The findings of the U.S. Soccer Federation’s investigation into the home violence incident involving former U.S. males’s nationwide workforce supervisor Gregg Berhalter and his spouse Rosalind — in addition to the habits of Claudio and Danielle Reyna because it associated to the World Cup taking part in time of their son, Gio Reyna — have been launched on Monday.
The investigation and report, carried out by an unbiased legislation agency, corroborated a lot of the earlier reporting finished by ESPN and elsewhere when it comes to what typically transpired between the Reynas and the Berhalters. However it additionally added further particulars demonstrating the lengths to which the Reynas went in an effort to affect how decision-makers at U.S. Soccer ought to deal with their son, together with allegations of “bullying,” and shed new gentle on the federation’s insular tradition.
Here is a deeper have a look at how this saga performed out, what the investigation discovered and what it means for these concerned.
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How did U.S. Soccer, Berhalter and the Reynas attain a degree the place an investigation was obligatory?
This Shakespearean story is about numerous issues — friendships ruined, a household’s ambitions for his or her son, an admitted incident of home violence — nevertheless it got here aside as a result of most elementary of soccer facets: taking part in time, or a scarcity thereof.
It began with U.S. nationwide workforce midfielder Gio Reyna enduring an injury-plagued 2021-22 season and Gregg Berhalter’s issues about Reyna’s health, which led the coach to scale back him to a substitute’s function for the World Cup. Reyna sulked consequently, coasting by means of practices, a lot in order that Berhalter almost despatched him house.
Whereas there was appreciable debate over Reyna’s function amongst followers and pundits, the story was almost out of oxygen till Berhalter revealed the incident throughout a talking engagement at a management convention lower than two weeks after the U.S. was knocked out of the World Cup. Berhalter did not identify names, however hypothesis instantly pointed to Reyna.
That drew the wrath of the Reyna household. Claudio and Danielle have been already incensed over their son’s lack of taking part in time, and had made sturdy hints that there was one thing in Berhalter’s previous that may stop him from being retained by U.S. Soccer because the workforce’s head coach.
After demanding a dialog with U.S. Soccer’s then-sporting director Earnie Stewart, Danielle Reyna divulged that Berhalter had dedicated an act of home violence towards his now spouse Rosalind in 1992. Throughout their freshman yr on the College of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the Berhalters bought into an argument outdoors a bar after Rosalind was seen dancing with one other student-athlete. Rosalind hit Gregg within the face, after which Gregg pushed her down and kicked her twice. At that time a bystander tackled Gregg, ending the altercation. Police weren’t notified.
Stewart, following federation coverage, advised U.S. Soccer’s attorneys concerning the allegation. The federation then employed the legislation agency Alston & Fowl to research.
In the meantime, Berhalter publicly admitted to the incident. His contract as U.S. males’s nationwide workforce supervisor expired on Dec. 31, 2022.
What new particulars did investigation discover, and what conclusions did it attain concerning the conduct of Berhalter and the Reynas?
For the Berhalters, the investigation corroborated their model of occasions, together with that the home violence incident did happen. The investigation additionally confirmed that after the incident, Gregg Berhalter sought counseling in addition to neighborhood work in a bid to make amends. He and Rosalind later reconciled, bought married and now have 4 youngsters collectively.
The investigation additionally concluded that Berhalter did not violate any legal guidelines or U.S. Soccer insurance policies in not disclosing the incident. Since there was no police report, it wasn’t one thing that may have popped up on a background test, nor would he have been requested through the interview course of about such an incident.
For these causes, Berhalter is now free to be employed once more by U.S. Soccer and stays a candidate to as soon as once more tackle the function as U.S. males’s nationwide workforce supervisor.
As for the Reynas, the report confirmed they pressured U.S. Soccer officers and coaches about taking part in time for his or her son, however the investigation discovered the Reynas had been doing this for a number of years, which included complaining to a coach on the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup about Gio Reyna’s taking part in time. The report additionally revealed how far the Reynas have been keen to go, with one staffer characterizing Claudio Reyna’s interactions as “inappropriate,” “bullying,” and “mean-spirited.”
On the final World Cup, Claudio Reyna texted Earnie Stewart about Gio’s lack of taking part in time towards Wales to say, “What a complete and utter f—ing joke. Our family is disgusted in case you are wondering. Disgusted at how a coach is allowed to never be challenged and do whatever he wants.”
The report discovered that each Claudio and Danielle Reyna made veiled threats to U.S. Soccer officers that there was one thing in Berhalter’s previous that may stop him from persevering with because the workforce’s supervisor. Danielle advised a federation staffer, “Once this tournament is over, I can make one phone call and give one interview, and his cool sneakers and bounce passes will be gone.”
Claudio Reyna advised Brian McBride, then-GM of the boys’s nationwide workforce: “You guys don’t even know what we know about Gregg.”
So, what does this imply for Gregg Berhalter and his future at U.S. Soccer?
Formally it means there isn’t a cause he cannot be employed by U.S. Soccer once more because the federation is on the lookout for a head coach after Berhalter’s contract expired on the finish of final yr. An argument can made that his file warrants it, reaching the World Cup knockout phases and successful a pair of continental titles — the Gold Cup and the Nations League, each in 2021– at Mexico’s expense.
However that’s removed from assured, and there are a number of explanation why that will not happen.
There’s a sense that 4 years is as lengthy a tenure that nationwide workforce supervisor ought to have earlier than their message will get stale they usually turn into much less efficient, although there are exceptions. One other lingering concern is how a lot harm did Berhalter do when it comes to the belief of the U.S. males’s nationwide workforce locker room following his veiled disclosure of Gio Reyna’s habits on the World Cup.
However the largest cause of all is the home violence concern. Sure, it was from 31 years in the past. Sure, the investigation concluded that it was certainly a one-off, and never one thing that Gregg Berhalter repeated. However it did occur, and given how U.S. Soccer has dealt with abuse allegations up to now — or not dealt with them — the federation might determine that it is simply simpler to maneuver on, and rent somebody new. Federation officers, nevertheless, have insisted that hiring a head coach is a call that will not be made till a brand new sporting director is employed to exchange Earnie Stewart, who left in January for a brand new job, they usually hope to announce a coach by September.
Will Berhalter work in soccer once more? On condition that he was cleared of wrongdoing right here, he will certainly have choices. However it may profit him to get a ways from the U.S. program, whether or not that is by taking a job abroad, and even in MLS. If he have been to be rehired by U.S. Soccer, the heaviness of what has occurred within the final six months would nonetheless be there. With the U.S. co-hosting the 2026 World Cup with Canada and Mexico, that’s one thing the federation might determine it may well do with out.
And what does this imply for the Reynas?
For Gio Reyna, the previous six months will weigh on him.
Granted, a few of what occurred is his fault. His perspective ought to have been manner higher, and it should not have taken an intervention to alter it. However he was a bystander when it comes to every part that occurred after the World Cup and what his mother and father did. None of that’s his fault.
That stated, given the questions that may come up at his subsequent U.S. camp, Gio might determine he is not prepared to participate within the worldwide window on the finish of the month, when the U.S. face Grenada and El Salvador within the CONCACAF Nations League. However U.S. Soccer clearly needs him within the fold. Interim U.S. males’s nationwide workforce supervisor Anthony Hudson has already taken a visit to Germany the place Gio performs for Borussia Dortmund in a bid to easy over any arduous emotions. The earlier that Gio returns, the faster he can transfer on.
As for his mother and father, the excellent news is that the investigation concluded that they did not commit blackmail or extortion. However that is about it.
This whole episode might be extraordinarily tough to dwell down for the Reynas, they usually managed to come back out trying worse because the report revealed that Claudio Reyna declined to talk to investigators whereas Danielle Reyna modified her story over the course of two interviews. (In her first interview, she denied saying she spoke to Stewart “about anything.” She later admitted she did.)
The extent of pettiness, vindictiveness, and lack of ability to see the larger image, as revealed within the investigation, rivals the worst excesses of pushy, youth soccer mother and father. The investigation paints this as a long-term sample from Claudio Reyna — again in 2018, he even took to complaining to a federation official a couple of U.S. Soccer Improvement Academy sport having feminine referees, per the report.
Maybe probably the most galling half about it’s that Gio Reyna’s expertise was apparent from an early age: the Reynas did not want to do that. His pedigree and expertise nearly actually would have gotten him to the place he’s as we speak.
Now, a lifelong friendship between the Berhalter and Reyna households has been broken, in all probability past restore, however which may not even evaluate to the hurt finished to Claudio Reyna’s skilled fame.
Is there any concern with Gio Reyna’s celebration?
Herculez Gomez and Sebastian Salazar analyze Gio Reyna’s aim celebration that could possibly be focused towards Gregg Berhalter.
Claudio Reyna’s public persona was that of the sage — one whose expertise in Europe gave him an astute, goal view of the place the U.S. stood within the broader soccer panorama, and the way finest to enhance the nation’s pedigree as a soccer nation. He was a cerebral participant on the sector, one who Stewart as soon as stated “brought peace to the game.” He projected the identical air of calmness to his government roles. However that façade has been torn off, with Claudio Reyna revealing himself to be no extra resistant to the worst soccer guardian impulses than anybody else.
It’s now tough to see how Claudio Reyna can tackle any public-facing function and have any credibility in any respect, irrespective of his successes with NYCFC and most just lately Austin FC. May he tackle a job extra within the background? He might. He is nonetheless in an advisory function at Austin, although it is unclear precisely what that entails. (ESPN has reached out to Austin FC for remark.) However that may be a big come-down from the place he as soon as stood. It’s going to take some doing, and appreciable time, to even get again to the extent which he only recently occupied. He might by no means make it again.
What’s subsequent for the U.S. Soccer Federation?
This entire saga has additionally confirmed some slightly long-held suspicions concerning the federation: that it is too insular, too chummy, an excessive amount of of a good-old-boy community.
Certain, an government is sure to rent, or at the very least find time for, their buddies. However Claudio Reyna ought to by no means have been allowed to have the form of entry to coaches and executives that he did. That the U.S. Soccer is solely now placing collectively a coverage to forestall guardian/coach interactions primarily based on the investigation speaks to how a lot Claudio Reyna abused his entry.
Now, with Earnie Stewart having vacated his sporting director function, U.S. Soccer will attempt to transfer on by hiring Stewart’s substitute, who will in flip drive the seek for a males’s nationwide workforce coach. Federation officers actually appear to be taking their time about it, a headshaking behavior that reared itself through the prolonged course of that led to Berhalter’s hiring.
Interviews for the sporting director place are underway, a U.S. Soccer spokesman has advised ESPN. With the summer time months occupying the interval on the calendar when probably the most coaches might be obtainable, the earlier that place is stuffed the higher.