A day after Gregg Berhalter revealed details about a domestic altercation with his future wife 31 years ago, and cited attempts to pressure U.S. Soccer into firing him or risk the revealing of the incident, those responsible for bringing the altercation to U.S. Soccer’s attention have been identified and it is two people with long-standing ties to Berhalter.
According to multiple reports, Claudio Reyna and Danielle Reyna — parents of USMNT star Gio Reyna — informed U.S. Soccer officials of Berhalter’s three-decade-old altercation with his now-wife. After initial reports surfaced implicating the two in the attempt to pressure U.S. Soccer into dismissing Berhalter, Danielle Reyna released a statement to multiple media outlets attempting to take sole blame for notifying U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart about the Berhalter incident, while also attempting to deny accusations of attempted blackmail or demands Berhalter be fired:
I’m writing now because there is currently a lot of speculation about my family in light of U.S. soccer’s release of a statement about Gregg Berhalter yesterday. To set the record straight, I did call Earnie Stewart on December 11, just after the news broke that Gregg had made negative statements about my son Gio at a leadership conference.
I have known Earnie for years and consider him to be a close friend. 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.
As part of that conversation, I told Earnie that I thought it was especially unfair that Gio, who had apologized 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. Without going into detail, the statements from yesterday significantly minimize the abuse on the night in question. Rosalind Berhalter was my roommate, teammate and best friend, and I supported her through the trauma that followed. 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.
As anyone who knows me can attest, I’m a very emotional person, and my children and family are everything to me.
At the time I called Earnie, many people were trashing Gio on social media due to Gregg’s comments, and I didn’t know when or if this would stop. I just wanted Earnie to help make sure that there would be no further unwarranted attacks on my son. I thought our conversation would remain in confidence, and it didn’t occur to me at the time that anything I said could lead to an investigation. I’m not criticizing Earnie here. I very much commend the recent efforts by U.S. Soccer to address abuse of women players, and I understand now he had an obligation to investigate what I shared. But I want to be very clear that I did not ask for Gregg to be fired, I did not make any threats, and I don’t know anything about any blackmail attempts, nor have I ever had any discussions about anyone else on Gregg’s staff–I don’t know any of the other coaches. I did not communicate with anyone in U.S. Soccer about this matter before December 11, and no one else in my family has made any statements to U.S. Soccer regarding Gregg’s past at all.
I’m sorry that this information became public, and I regret that I played a role in something that could reopen wounds from the past.— Danielle Reyna, to Fox Soccer and The Athletic
Claudio Reyna also released a statement, supporting his wife’s admission that she revealed the Berhalter domestic altercation, while at the same time denying that there was any truth to fresh reports linking him with attempts to pressure U.S. Soccer into firing Berhalter.
I support my wife, Danielle, and her statement. I too was upset by Gregg’s comments about Gio after the U.S. was out of the World Cup, and I also appealed to Earnie Stewart on December 11 asking him to prevent any additional comments.
While in Qatar, I shared my frustrations about my son’s World Cup experience with a number of close friends, Earnie and Brian McBride among them.
However, at no time did I ever threaten anyone, nor would I ever do so.— Claudio Reyna
U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday that it had launched an investigation into Berhalter for an issue involving him and his current wife Rosalind back in 1991. Berhalter made his own statement earlier on Tuesday, saying “an individual contacted U.S. Soccer saying they had information that would “take him down”.
Berhalter drew the ire of the Reyna family after he revealed details of Gio Reyna’s behavior at the World Cup in a leadership conference just days after the USMNT was eliminated from the World Cup. Berhalter and U.S. Soccer insisted that Berhalter’s comments at the conference were never supposed to be made public, but the Reyna family has made multiple implications that Berhalter’s comments were intentionally released.
Gio Reyna was limited to 52 minutes at the World Cup, but just seven total minutes during the group stage. Berhalter later revealed that Reyna’s poor training habits and attitude led to an intervention that nearly concluded with Reyna being sent home before the young star ultimately apologized and improved his behavior.
Gio Reyna reacted to the release of Berhalter’s comments about his behavior with a statement that implied Berhalter told him he would have a limited role at the World Cup, though sources tell SBI Reyna was only informed he would not start the USMNT’s opening World Cup match against Wales, which led to an attitude shift that impacted his level of training and nearly led to his removal from the team.
Berhalter is currently out of contract and any potential return as USMNT head coach has been put on hold while U.S. Soccer further investigates the incident with his wife. Danielle Reyna’s implication that Berhalter’s altercation with wife Rosalind was worse than Berhalter implied in the statement he released on Tuesday further complicates an already-messy situation.
While Berhalter awaits his fate, the Reyna family are also facing backlash for their involvement in the scandal, raising questions about how the latest developments will impact Gio Reyna as well as Claudio Reyna, who is currently the sporting director of Austin FC.